In this paper, a highly directive small-cell waveguide antenna array for point to point wireless communication in E-band radio frequency systems is presented. The antenna array is designed and dedicated for the paired bandwidths 71-76 and 81-86 GHz. It is composed of 32 x 32 horn elements with a total surface of ~100 x 100 mm2 to achieve a directivity ≥38 dBi, narrow beam (~2°) and low-level sidelobe ≤-26 dB. A compact stepped horn antenna element (SHE) (6.6 mm) is designed. It is 25% smaller than a standard horn element (in the same band) keeping the same aperture surface (3.4 x 3.4 mm2). Layer-by-layer micromachining process is employed for the fabrication. A compact feeding network (25 mm) is realized using ridged waveguide technique with a cut-off frequency of 55 GHz, much lower than standard WG one in the same band. A bow-tie multi-section waveguide polarizer rotator (±90°) is optimized and associated with the WG transitions to re-phase the fields applied to SHE elements. Electric discharge machining (EDM) process was used to manufacture a 4×4 sub-array prototype including the entire WG power-feed network. The antenna is characterized in an anechoic chamber, and experimental results are compared to 3-D electromagnetic simulations with good agreements over the two bands.
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