(19)
(11)EP 3 204 982 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
29.08.2018 Bulletin 2018/35

(21)Application number: 15786877.9

(22)Date of filing:  09.10.2015
(51)Int. Cl.: 
H01Q 1/48  (2006.01)
H01Q 13/02  (2006.01)
H01Q 15/18  (2006.01)
H01Q 5/55  (2015.01)
H01Q 9/40  (2006.01)
H01Q 13/08  (2006.01)
H01Q 21/24  (2006.01)
(86)International application number:
PCT/EP2015/073489
(87)International publication number:
WO 2016/055657 (14.04.2016 Gazette  2016/15)

(54)

ANTENNA APPARATUS AND METHOD

ANTENNENVORRICHTUNG UND VERFAHREN

APPAREIL À ANTENNE ET PROCÉDÉ


(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR

(30)Priority: 10.10.2014 EP 14188557
17.10.2014 GB 201418497
01.05.2015 GB 201507582
12.06.2015 GB 201510361

(43)Date of publication of application:
16.08.2017 Bulletin 2017/33

(73)Proprietor: Kathrein-Werke KG
83022 Rosenheim (DE)

(72)Inventor:
  • JAMALY, Nima
    CH-3050 Berne (CH)

(74)Representative: Flach Bauer Stahl Patentanwälte Partnerschaft mbB 
Adlzreiterstraße 11
83022 Rosenheim
83022 Rosenheim (DE)


(56)References cited: : 
JP-A- S 595 705
US-A1- 2004 196 196
US-B1- 6 351 246
US-A- 5 748 153
US-A1- 2012 154 221
  
      
    Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


    Description

    Field of the invention



    [0001] The present invention relates to telecommunications antennae, and to particular arrangements of such antennae, and methods of providing them. In particular the disclosure relates to slot antennae, such as Vivaldi antennae and other kinds of slot antennae, and to the installation of such antennae.

    Background



    [0002] It has been proposed to use slot antennae for telecommunications.

    [0003] A Vivaldi antenna is one example of slot antenna. In a Vivaldi antenna a slot may be terminated at one end by a circular cut-out in a conductor, this cut-out may have a diameter which is greater than the width of the slot. The slot is generally open at its other end, and may have a curved tapered profile so that it broadens out towards this open end, the width of this slot may be an exponential function of position along the length of the slot.

    [0004] An antenna in accordance to the closest prior art is known from US 20120154221. Such an antenna comprises at least one antenna element arranged in a recess of a ground conductor, wherein a wall of the recess is arranged so that the recess tapers outward from the narrow base inside the recess to a broader mouth, and the wall is configured to provide a ground plane for the at least one antenna element, and the at least one antenna element comprises a conductive plate arranged perpendicular to the mouth of the recess and to the wall and arranged to provide a slot between the edge of the at least one antenna element and the all of the recess.

    Summary of invention



    [0005] Aspects and examples of the invention are set out in the claims.

    Brief description of drawings



    [0006] Embodiments of the disclosure will now be described, by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

    Figure 1 shows a schematic illustration of a section through an antenna;

    Figure 2 shows a schematic illustration of a plan view of the antenna of Figure 1;

    Figure 3 includes a series of schematic section views of antennae shown in

    Figure 3-A, 3-B, 3-C and 3-D;

    Figure 4 shows a schematic illustration of a plan view of an antenna;

    Figure 5 shows a schematic illustration of a plan view of an antenna;

    Figure 6 shows a schematic illustration of a section through an antenna;

    Figure 7 shows a schematic illustration of a plan view of the antenna of Figure 6;

    Figure 8 illustrates one way of coupling the antenna elements to a multi-channel telecommunications apparatus;

    Figure 9A shows a schematic illustration of a section view through an antenna;

    Figure 9B shows a schematic illustration of a section view through an antenna;

    Figure 10 shows a schematic illustration of a plan view of an antenna;

    Figure 11 shows a section view of the antenna illustrated in Figure 10;

    Figure 12 shows an antenna; and

    Figure 13 shows an illustration of a section through an antenna.



    [0007] In the drawings like reference numerals are used to indicate like elements.

    Specific description



    [0008] The drawings of Figure 1 to Figure 5 all relate to telecommunications antennas comprising a slot antenna element 12 arranged in a recess. A wall 16 of the recess provides a ground plane for the antenna element 12. The antenna element 12 comprises a flat conductor, for example a conductive sheet or plate, at least part of an edge 6 of this conductor is spaced apart from the wall 16 of the recess. The spacing between the edge 6 of the antenna element 12 and the wall 16 of the recess provides a slot 14 which can be excited by the application of an electrical signal so that the antenna element 12 and the wall 16 of the recess together behave as a slot antenna. For example, the antenna element 12 may be one half of a slot antenna, and the image effect may cause the antenna element 12 and an image antenna element on the ground plane to behave as, or to approximate the behaviour of, a complete slot antenna. The shape and size of the slot, as well as the driving frequency of the signal with which the antenna element is driven may determine the radiation pattern. These parameters may also determine the E-field configuration over the slot which in turn may determine the eventual far field radiation pattern from the antenna.

    [0009] The antenna element 12 may comprise a half-Vivaldi antenna element 12. For example, the edge 6 of the antenna element 12 and/or the wall 16 of the recess may be curved so that the spacing between the edge 6 and the wall 16 of the recess (e.g. the width of the slot 14) is an exponential function of position along the slot 14. In some examples the antenna element 12 may comprise a part-circular "cut-out" sector 18 arranged towards a closed end 22 of the slot in the interior of the recess. It will be appreciated in the context of the present disclosure that the function of the "cut-out" is to present a higher impedance path to signals in the antenna bandwidth than is presented by the conduction path towards the open end of the slot, accordingly any functionally equivalent impedance tuning structure can provide this function.

    [0010] In operation an image antenna, an electrical mirror-image of the antenna element 12, may be provided by the reflection of signal from a wall 16 of the recess. This image antenna may contribute to the radiation pattern of the antenna, for example the signal from the antenna may comprise two contributions: the waves that travel directly from the antenna element 12 to that point, and the waves that reach that point from the antenna after reflecting off the ground plane provided by the wall of the recess. Because of the reflection, these second waves appear to come from a second antenna behind the ground plane, just as a visible object in front of a flat mirror forms a virtual image that seems to lie behind the mirror. This second apparent source of radio waves may be referred to as an image antenna element. It will be appreciated in the context of the present disclosure that the tangential electric field at the (conductive) surface of the recess may generally be zero, and the reflection of electromagnetic fields from this surface may be governed by this boundary condition.

    [0011] As noted above, the antenna element 12, and the corresponding image antenna element may behave together as a slot antenna. The slot 14 is generally directed towards the mouth of the recess, for example a closed end 22 of the slot 14 may be arranged towards the interior of the recess and the open end 20 of the slot 14 may arranged towards the mouth of the recess.

    [0012] A plurality of antenna elements 12 may be arranged in the recess and may be driven independently so as to provide multiple input and/or output channels, for example the antenna may be arranged to provide one input and/or output channel per antenna element 12. The shape of the edge 6 of the antenna elements and/or the form of the wall 16 of the recess may be selected to shape the radiation pattern, for example to adjust the angle of elevation of a centre of intensity of the radiation pattern with respect to the antenna, for example a maximum of the radiation pattern. Having read the present disclosure, a person skilled in the art will recognize that the pattern may also be changed dynamically or statically by exciting the different antenna elements 12, 12' with suitable electrical signals.

    [0013] Figure 1 shows a section view of the antenna shown in plan in Figure 2. The section of Figure 1 represents the view along the line 1-1 illustrated in Figure 2.

    [0014] The telecommunications antenna illustrated in Figure 1 and Figure 2 comprises four antenna elements 12, 12' arranged in a recess. As illustrated in the plan view shown in Figure 2, the antenna elements 12, 12' may be directed away from each other. For example, the antenna elements 12, 12' may be aligned in different azimuthal directions, for example they may be directed in orientations which differ by at least 90° as illustrated in Figure 2.

    [0015] The recess may have an open mouth 19 (e.g. the perimeter of the recess), and sloping walls 16 which taper inwards from the mouth towards a closed base 17 as illustrated in Figures 1 and 2, and arranged to provide a ground plane for the antenna, for example the walls 16 and base 17 of the recess may be provide by a conductor which may be grounded. The recess may be wider at its mouth 19 than its base 17, for example the recess may be tapered outward from a narrow (closed) base 17 towards a broader, open, mouth 19. The walls of the recess may slope inwards from this open mouth. The walls of the recess however may be curved as shown in Figure 1, and may have a negative curvature.

    [0016] As shown in Figure 2, each antenna element 12 comprises a flat conductor having first and second major surfaces, which may be perpendicular to one of the walls of the recess, and may also be perpendicular to the mouth of the recess. For example the antenna elements may stand upright in the recess, and the edges of each antenna element 12 may be aligned so the antenna element 12 is directed out (e.g. radially) from the interior of the recess (e.g. near its centre) towards its periphery.

    [0017] The edge 6 of each antenna element 12 that is closest to the wall 16 of the recess is spaced apart from that wall 16 along at least a part of its length. As explained above, this spacing provides a slot 14 between this adjacent edge 6 and the wall 16. The slot 14 can be driven as an antenna for transmitting and receiving signals by exciting the antenna elements 12, 12' with an electric signal. The image effect provided by the electrical mirror image of the antenna element 12 in the ground plane may provide a radiation pattern corresponding to that associated with a slot antenna.

    [0018] In the example illustrated in Figure 1 the slot 14 of each antenna element 12 is closed at the end nearest to the centre of the recess, for example the end of the antenna edge 6 that is closer to the interior (e.g. the centre) of the recess may be DC coupled to the wall 16 of the recess, for example it may be grounded, for example by a conductive (e.g. DC conductive) coupling, for example to the base 17 of the recess. This closed end 22 of the slot 14 may also comprise an impedance tuning structure, such as the "cut-out" in the edge 6 of the antenna that is adjacent the wall 16 of the recess. As explained above this structure may be a part-circular "cut-out" 18 and may be arranged between the DC ground at the closed end 22 of the slot 14 and the open end 20 of the slot 14 and may be towards, (for example at) the closed end 22 of the slot 14.

    [0019] The radius of this part-circular sector 18 may be a function of various desired antenna characteristics. For example, the radius of the part-circular sector 18 may be selected based on a dominant or centre frequency of a communication frequency band of the antenna.

    [0020] The other end of the slot 14 may be open, for example the slot 14 may be tapered so that the edge 6 of the antenna element 12 is separated from the wall 16 of the recess by a gap that is narrower towards the interior (closed) end 22 of the slot 14 than toward the open end 20 of the slot 14 directed towards the mouth of the recess. At least part of the edge 6 of the antenna element 12 may be straight, for example as illustrated in Figure 1 the edge 6 of the antenna element 12 may be straight between the part circular sector 18 and the end of the slot 14. Although not illustrated in Figure 1, a signal cable may be coupled at or near the edge 6 of antenna element 12, for example part way between the part-circular sector and the open end 20 of the slot 14. This may provide a feed point from which the antenna element can be driven and/or from which a signal can be obtained (e.g received) from the antenna element.

    [0021] The part-circular sector 18 may be arranged to so that, for signals in a communication frequency band of the antenna, the impedance of the conduction path from the feed point towards the closed end 22 of the slot is higher, for example significantly higher, than the conduction path towards the open end 20 for those signals. The conductive material of the antenna element may provide a DC conductive path to ground, around the part circular sector 18.

    [0022] Where the wall 16 of the recess is curved as illustrated in Figure 1 and the antenna element 12 edge 6 that is adjacent to the wall 16 is straight, the curvature of the wall 16 causes the slot 14 between antenna element 12 and wall 16 to broaden towards its open end 20 (e.g. towards the mouth of the recess). This is just one example of the shape of a slot 14 between the antenna element 12 and the wall 16, other examples are contemplated.

    [0023] Figure 3, shows a series of examples of how the antenna elements and/or walls of the recess may be shaped to provide this slot 14. The illustrations of Figure 3-A, 3-B, 3-C and 3-D each represent alternative possible sections through an antenna which may be laid out, when seen in plan, as illustrated in Figure 2. The examples illustrated in Figure 3 each show antennas where the slot 14 between the antenna elements and the wall 16 of the recess broadens out towards the mouth of the recess. Depending on the intended use of the antenna one or more of these configurations may be used, for example the configuration may be selected based on the desired shape of the far field radiation pattern. For the configurations illustrated in Figure 3-A Figure 3-C, and Figure 3-D the elevation angle of the pattern may be greater (for example directed more towards the sky, away from the azimuthal plane) whereas for the arrangement illustrated in Figure 3-B it may be directed slightly towards the azimuth. This may apply to the far field radiation pattern. Each of these examples will now be explained in more detail.

    [0024] Figure 3-A shows an antenna comprising antenna elements whose edges adjacent to the recess are straight, but the slope of the edge 6 of the antenna elements differs from the slope angle of the wall 16 to which that edge 6 is adjacent. As a result the spacing between the antenna element 12 and the wall 16 tapers linearly and the open end 20 of the slot 14 is wider than its closed end 22 inside the recess. As illustrated, the antenna elements shown in Figure 3-A may also comprise a part-circular cut-out arranged towards the interior end of the gap between the edge 6 of the antenna and the wall 16 of the recess where the antenna element 12 is in conductive contact (e.g. DC coupled) with the wall 16. At least part of the slot 14 need not be tapered, for example the edge 6 of the antenna element 12 and the wall 16 of the recess may be parallel with each other along at least a part of the length of the edge 6 and/or the relative angle between the edge 6 of the antenna element 12 and the wall 16 of the recess may change at one or more points along the length of the slot 14. One such example is illustrated in Figure 3-B. Although not illustrated, it will be clear to a person skilled in the art that the antenna elements 12, 12' in Figures 3-A, 3-B, 3-C and 3-D may be DC coupled to the recess, similarly to and as discussed above for Figures 1 and 2.

    [0025] Figure 3-B shows an antenna comprising antenna elements each of which have a straight edge 6 between the open end 20 of the slot 14 and the part-circular sector 18 at the closed end 22 of the slot 14. Towards the closed end 22 of the slot 14, the wall 16 of the recess is parallel with the edge 6 of the antenna, and towards the open end 20 of the slot 14 the slope angle of the wall 16 of the recess changes (for example increases) so that the wall 16 of the recess diverges from the edge 6 of the antenna element 12. It will be appreciated that in the illustrated example, part of the wall 16 is parallel with the antenna edge 6, but this parallel part of the wall 16 may also be arranged to diverge from the edge 6 of the antenna along the slot 14, for example the divergence between the edge 6 of the antenna element 12 and the wall 16 of the recess may increase at one or more points along the length of the slot 14, for example at two points. In addition, the spacing between the edge 6 of the antenna and the wall 16 of the recess may be stepped, for example the edge 6 of the antenna element 12 and the wall 16 of the recess may be parallel along at least two parts of the edge 6 of the antenna, but the spacing between the wall 16 and the edge 6 of the antenna element 12 may be different in these two parallel parts to provide a slot 14 having a stepped profile. The variation in the spacing and/or divergence between the edge 6 of the antenna element 12 and the wall 16 of the recess may be provided by the form of the wall 16 of the recess, or the form of the edge 6 of the antenna elements, or by a combination of the two. The spacing and/or divergence between the edge 6 of the antenna element 12 and the wall 16 of the recess may be selected to approximate an exponential function of the position along the slot 14.

    [0026] It can be seen in Figure 3B that the slope angle of the wall of the recess is shallower towards the open end of the slot than towards the closed end of the slot. This causes the wall 16 of the recess to diverge from the edge of the one antenna element 12. As noted above, the divergence between the edge 6 of the antenna element 12 and the wall 16 of the recess may increase at one or more points along the length of the slot 14, for example at two points. As illustrated in cross section in Figure 3B, the wall may be planar (e.g. flat) between those points. The wall shown in Figure 3B comprises a first planar part towards the closed end of the slot, and a second planar part between the first planar part and the open end of the slot. The second planar part diverges from the edge of the antenna element more than the first planar part. As a result, in the example shown in Figure 3B, the divergence between the edge 6 of the antenna element 12 and the wall 16 of the recess increases at one point along the length of the slot. There may however be more of these points, for example two or more. In which case the wall comprises a third planar part, between the second planar part and the open end of the slot. This third planar part may diverge from the edge of the antenna element more than the second planar part.

    [0027] Figure 13 shows an example of an antenna 12, wall, 16, and slot 14 as discussed above.

    [0028] Figure 3-C illustrates an example of an antenna in which the edge 6 of the antenna element 12 between the open end 20 of the slot 14 and the part-circular sector 18 at the closed end 22 of the slot 14 is curved. The walls of the recess may be straight, for example they may have a constant slope angle. Towards the closed end 22 of the slot 14, adjacent the part-circular sector 18, the edge 6 of the antenna element 12 may diverge from the wall 16 of the recess very little, for example it may be parallel to the wall 16 of the recess, the edge 6 of the antenna element 12 may however be curved as shown in Figure 3-C so that the edge 6 of the antenna element 12 diverges more from the wall 16 of the recess towards the open end 20 of the slot 14 (e.g. towards the mouth of the recess) than towards the closed end 22 of the slot 14. This increase in divergence may provide a spacing between the edge 6 of the antenna element 12 and the wall 16 of the recess that increases as an exponential function of the position along the slot 14, for example the edge 6 of the antenna element 12 may follow an exponential curve. Other kinds of curved and straight or partially straight edges may also be used.

    [0029] Figure 3-D illustrates an example antenna in which the wall 16 of the recess is straight, e.g. it has a constant slope angle, but the angle of the edge 6 of the antenna varies at one or more points along its length. Along a first part of the edge 6, adjacent to the part-circular sector 18, towards the closed end 22 of the slot 14, the divergence between the antenna element 12 and the wall 16 of the recess may be very small, for example they may be parallel. Further along the edge 6 of the antenna element 12, towards the open end 20 of the slot 14, the angle of the edge 6 of the antenna element 12 may be changed to increase the divergence between the edge 6 of the antenna element 12 and the wall 16 of the recess. It will therefore be seen that the antenna may comprise slots which have one or more linear tapers. The variation in the spacing between the edge 6 of the antenna element 12 and the wall 16 of the recess may be provided by a changes in slope angle of straight parts of the wall 16 of the recess (as in Figure 3-B), or by changes in slope angle of the edge 6 of the antenna element 12 as in Figure 3-D, or by a combination of both. In addition, either or both of the wall 16 of the recess (as in Figure 1) and the edge 6 of the antenna element 12 (as illustrated in Figure 3-C) may be curved. These different geometries may also be applied to different antenna elements in the same antenna.

    [0030] Other variations are also within the scope of the appended claims. For example, the example discussed above with reference to Figure 2 includes four antenna elements, but it will be appreciated that a greater or lesser number of antenna elements may be included.

    [0031] Figure 4 shows one such example in which the antenna includes three antenna elements. The recess shown in Figure 3 comprises an inverted triangular pyramid shape, for example an inverted frusto-pyramidal shape recess. The antenna elements illustrated in Figure 4 are each oriented so that they are directed away from each other by an angle of 120° when the antenna is viewed in plan. It will be appreciated that antenna elements having different relative orientations may also be used, for example the antenna elements may be directed so that the angle between them is at least 90° as illustrated in Figure 1, but the angle between them may also be less, for example as illustrated in Figure 5. It will also be appreciated that different shaped recesses may be used.

    [0032] Figure 5 illustrates an example in which the recess comprises a different open polyhedral form from those illustrated in Figure 2 and Figure 4. As shown in Figure 5, the recess may comprise any number of sloping walls, for example five sloping walls, and may be frustrum shaped, for example the base 17 of the recess may be flat or domed. As also illustrated in Figure 5, the antenna elements may be directed so that the angle between them is less than 90° when the antenna is viewed in plan.

    [0033] Other configurations may also be used. For example, in some embodiments the disclosure provides a telecommunications antenna comprising a plurality of antenna elements arranged on a common ground plane 32. As illustrated in Figure 6, the common ground plane 32 may be flat.

    [0034] As described above, the edge 6 of each antenna element 12 may be spaced from this common ground plane 32 to provide a slot 14 between the edge 6 of each antenna element 12 and the common ground plane 32. The antenna elements may each comprise conductive plates arranged as half-slot antennas (e.g. half-Vivaldi antennae). As also described above, the slot 14 between the edge 6 of an antenna element 12 and this common ground plane may be closed at one end, for example the antenna element 12 may be DC grounded to the ground plane 32 at the closed end 22 of the slot 14. An impedance tuning structure such as a part circular sector 18 may be arranged towards this closed end 22 of the slot 14 to present a high impedance path to the closed (DC grounded) end of the slot 14 from the edge 6 of the slot 14 further towards the open end 20. This part-circular sector 18 may have the features described above with reference to Figure 1, Figure 2 and Figure 3.

    [0035] The edges of the antenna elements may be shaped so that the slot 14 between the antenna element 12 and the common ground plane 32 comprises at least one of an exponential curve, a linear taper, and at least one change in the angle of the slot 14 that broadens the slot 14 out towards its open end 20.

    [0036] It will be appreciated that the slots of the antenna elements may be directed away from each other, for example by an angle of at least 90° when viewed in plan as illustrated in Figure 7.

    [0037] Each antenna element 12 may comprise a signal connection arranged to couple an RF signal to or from the antenna, for example from the slot 14. This may comprise a conductive (e.g. ohmic) connection to a signal cable, and the connection may be arranged near the edge of the antenna element 12 that is adjacent to the ground plane 32, for example the connection may be disposed on one of the major surfaces of the antenna element 12 and it may also be on the edge 6 of the antenna element 12.

    [0038] Where the antenna comprises a plurality of antenna elements, these may each be coupled to a separate transmit and/or receive channel of a telecommunications apparatus for transmitting and/or receiving signals. Figure 8 shows a schematic illustration of one possible way of connecting the antennas of the present disclosure for transmitting and receiving signals.

    [0039] Figure 8 shows a schematic view of a telecommunications apparatus comprising a multi-channel transmitter and/or receiver 28. As illustrated in Figure 8, the transmitter/receiver 28 may have at least two separate transmit/receive channels 24, 26. Each of these channels 24, 26 may be coupled to transmit and/or receive signals from separate ones of the antenna elements 12, 12' of an antenna such as any one described or claimed herein.

    [0040] As illustrated in Figure 8 the walls of the recess comprise conductive surfaces 16 which may be grounded. The antenna elements may be DC coupled to the walls of the recess and/or to ground at the closed end 22 of the slot 14. A transmit/receive coupling may be coupled to each antenna element 12 at a feed point 34, 34' and the part-circular cut out 18, 18' in the slot 14 may be arranged to provide a high impedance in the conduction path to the closed end 22 of the slot 14.

    [0041] In the context of the present disclosure it will be appreciated that, in the embodiment of Figure 6 the antenna element is not within a recess. It is also illustrated in Figure 8 that one or more of the antenna elements may protrude partially beyond the mouth of the recess. For example, an edge of the antenna element (e.g. an outer edge, opposite the slot) may extend out of the recess, for example it may extend beyond the mouth of the recess. It will therefore be understood from a consideration of the drawings that the recess is optional, and where a recess is provided, the antenna elements need not be wholly within that recess.

    [0042] In some embodiments, the distance between a signal feed-point 34, 34' on the edge of the antenna and the centre of curvature of the part-circular sector 18, 18' may also be selected based on (e.g. to fix) the centre frequency and/or the bandwidth of the communication frequency band of the antenna. For example this distance and the radius may be selected together to provide a desired centre frequency and the bandwidth. In some embodiments the distance from the centre of the circle 18, 18' to the feed point 34, 34' is selected to be one quarter wavelength of the signal at the centre frequency, the radius of the circle may then be selected to provide a desired bandwidth (e.g. the radius may be selected so as to increase the bandwidth around the desired centre frequency). For example: the distance between the feed point and the centre of the circle may be chosen to be about 30mm a quarter wavelength for a centre frequency of around 2400 MHz. In some examples the radius of the part-circular cut-out may be about 10mm.

    [0043] In some embodiments one or more of the antenna elements 12, 12' of an antenna may be configured to have different frequency characteristics. For example, each antenna element 12, 12' may be arranged to support a different part of a required frequency range. For example, the radius of the part-circular sectors 18, 18' of each antenna element may be different to provide antenna elements having different bandwidths. In some embodiments at least one antenna element may be arranged to have a different distance between its feed point 34, 34' and the centre of its part-circular sector 18, 18' than at least one other antenna element 12, 12' so the different antenna elements can accommodate a different part of the bandwidth of the antenna as a whole. The bandwidths of the different antenna elements 12, 12' may at least partially overlap, or may be distinct, for example non-overlapping.

    [0044] In some embodiments the orientation and/or the spacing between the antenna elements 12, 12' may be selected to adjust, for example to reduce, the degree of electromagnetic coupling between the antenna elements.

    [0045] Figure 9A an example of an antenna such as that illustrated in Figure 1 and as described with reference to that drawing. In Figure 1 and Figure 9A, like elements are marked with like reference numerals.

    [0046] It will be appreciated that the antenna elements 12 each comprise a conductive planar body, which may be provided by a metal plate. At least one of these antenna elements 12 may comprise an elongate conduction inhibitor, for example a gap in its conductive body.

    [0047] These conduction inhibitors may be arranged to inhibit the flow of longitudinal surface current on the conductive body, for example along the outer edge of the antenna element that is furthest from (e.g. on the opposite side of the antenna element, away from) the base 17 of the recess. One example of such a current inhibitor is illustrated in Figure 9A.

    [0048] In the example illustrated in Figure 9A, the conduction inhibitor 121 is shown as a gap, for example an air gap. Such gaps may be elongate, for example they may be longer than they are wide, for example in the form of a slot. In Figure 9A the elongate gap is shown extending to the outer edge of the antenna element. Slots like this one can be arranged transverse to this outer edge, for example the length of the slot may be aligned with the edge 6 of the antenna element which is closest to the wall 16 of the recess 14. For example the slot can be approximately parallel to that edge 6.

    [0049] Figure 9B illustrates another example of an antenna. It can be seen from Figure 9B that the antenna of Figure 9B is another example of the kinds of antennae illustrated in the other drawings, and Figure 9A in particular.

    [0050] In the example of Figure 9B at least one of the antennae elements comprises a current inhibitor that is arranged to inhibit the flow of longitudinal surface currents from flowing in the direction of the back edge of that antenna element (e.g. the edge of the antenna that is inside the recess, opposite to the edge 6 that is closest to the wall of the recess). It can be seen in Figure 9B that, as in Figure 9A, this current inhibitor can also be provided by a gap, such as a slot, in the conductive body of an antenna element 12.

    [0051] This current inhibiting slot may be transverse to the inner edge of the antenna element. As a result, in the arrangement illustrated in Figure 9B, the slot is also aligned with the outer edge of the antenna element 12. It can be seen in the illustration in Figure 9B that the end of this slot may not be perpendicular to its sides. For example, the end may be angled. In other words, the long side walls of the slot may transverse to the inner edge while its (shorter) end wall can be aligned with the edge 6 of the slot that is closest to the edge of the recess.

    [0052] In one example of such an arrangement, an antenna element 12 is modified by an elongated recess or slot 121'. This slot 121' may be an essentially horizontal cut approximately parallel to the upper edge 6 through the vertical edge juxtaposed to the edge 6 of the antenna element 12.

    [0053] Pursuant to the present disclosure it has been found that, whilst longitudinal surface currents along the edge 6 of the antenna element 12 could be regarded as being part of the desired emission characteristics or emission pattern of the antenna, longitudinal surface currents along other edges do not contribute to the desired emission. Current inhibitors, such as recesses or cuts in these edges may control (e.g. confine, e.g. reduce) such unwanted longitudinal surface currents. The impact on the confinement of the longitudinal surface current of a horizontal slot 121' such as that illustrated in Figure 9B is typically larger than that of a vertical slot 121 illustrated in Figure 9A.

    [0054] In some examples the width of the slot 121, 121' of the current inhibitor may be selected so as to inhibit (e.g. confine) unwanted longitudinal surface current whilst maintaining the bandwidth of the antenna, for example the slot may be narrow so that they do not unduly reduce the conductive surface area of the antenna element. Pursuant to the present disclosure it has been appreciated that reducing the area of the antenna element (which is used for accumulation of charges), may have an undesirable effect on bandwidth. The antenna element may be referred to as a "wing".

    [0055] In other examples, a current inhibitor, or a slot, 121, 121' may be present in more than one of the antenna elements 12, and may, for example, be disposed upon the antenna elements symmetrically. In one example, the antenna elements 12 may each have a slot 121 therein, similar to that shown in Figure 9A, but with both elements having complementary slots 121. In another example, the antenna elements 12 may each have a slot 121' therein, similar to that shown in Figure 9B, but with both elements having complementary slots 121'.

    [0056] In a further example, each antenna element 12 may have a slot 121, 121' in, with each antenna element having a different shape and/or orientation of slot 121, 121' therein. In a yet further example, each antenna element 12 may have a slot 121, 121' therein such that the slots are symmetrical in nature.

    [0057] It has also been appreciated that the exact orientation, length and/or the width of the current inhibitors have an impact on the input impedance of the antenna. Embodiments of the disclosure therefore provide a method of designing an antenna.

    [0058] This method comprises selecting an arrangement of planar, conductive, antenna elements such as those described above, and selecting the arrangement of the wall of the recess, for example selecting the orientation, length and/or the width of a slot in at least one of those antenna elements so as to achieve a desired input impedance of the antenna. This selection may be done empirically, for example by testing a physical antenna, and/or for example by a numerical modelling of the antenna, for example using a finite element model. This method may comprise providing data describing the orientation of such slots for use by a manufacturing apparatus to produce the antennae.

    [0059] Figure 10 is an example of an antenna such as that illustrated in Figure 1 and as described with reference to that drawing. In Figure 1 and Figure 10, like elements are marked with like reference numerals.

    [0060] Figure 10 shows an example of an antenna which includes four scatterers 161. It has been appreciated pursuant to the present disclosure that such scatterers can be arranged on the interior surface of the wall 16 of the recess, e.g. the surface facing towards the antenna elements. In this position they can inhibit, for example reduce, the transmission of horizontally polarised signal from the antenna.

    [0061] Horizontally polarised signals are, in general, generated by the longitudinal surface currents described above. The scatterers 161 may be configured to reflect and scatter a substantial portion of such radiation caused by these longitudinal surface currents. For example the scatterers 161 may be arranged so that they, in general, reflect and scatter horizontally polarised signal.

    [0062] In the example illustrated in Figure 10, each of the four scatterers 161 is placed between different neighbouring antenna elements 12. For example, the scatterers and antenna elements are arranged at different, interleaved, angular positions around the wall of the recess 16. The scatterers 161 shown in Figure 10 stand proud of the wall of the recess and take a generally dome-shaped, for example part-spherical shape, and are spaced at 90° intervals, equidistant between each of the antenna elements 12 which are also spaced at 90° intervals.

    [0063] It is to be understood that the scatterers 161 may take any suitable shape, which may be, for example, an ellipsoid shape, for example a part-spherical shape, for example a hemisphere. In other examples, the scatterers 161 may take an ovoid shape, for example a part-ovoid shape, for example a part-egg shape. Yet further examples of the scatterers 161 may take for example a geometric shape, for example a part polyhedron such as a dodecahedron. Additional examples of the scatterers 161 may take the form of a more general protuberance, for example a cylinder shape, for example a rounded cylinder.

    [0064] However, it has been found that a generally part spherical shape hemispherical shape is particularly effective in reflecting and scattering a substantial portion of horizontally polarised radiation caused by the flow of longitudinal surface current on the or each antenna 12. Of course, it is to be appreciated that the shape of the scatterers 161 is selected based upon the intended frequency range, bandwidth, and size of the antenna.

    [0065] In addition, it has been found that in placing scatterers 161 on the wall 16 of the recess, undesirable horizontally polarised signals emanating from the antenna may be reduced and, for example, converted into vertical polarisation. It has been found that in the case of antennas of this type, vertical polarisation is more advantageous than horizontal polarisation.

    [0066] Figure 11 shows a section along line 11-11 in Figure 10, and shows the profile of two of the scatterers 161. As can be seen in Figure 11, and discussed above, the scatterers 161 are grounded, and in this example, are formed as part of the base 16 of the antenna. In other examples, the scatterers 161 may be affixed to the base 16, for example by a method of attachment, for example by welding.

    [0067] Further, in the example shown in Figure 11, it can be seen that the scatterers 161 are arranged on the base 16 such that they are located outside the circular cut-out 18 of the or each antenna element 12. For example they may be further from the base of the recess, and nearer to its mouth, e.g. at a greater radial distance from the base than the cut-out 18 of the or each antenna element 12.

    [0068] Pursuant to the present disclosure it has been found that, whilst longitudinal surface currents along the edge 6 of the antenna element 12 could be regarded as being part of the desired emission characteristics or emission pattern of the antenna, longitudinal surface currents along other edges do not contribute to the desired emission. Scatterers 161, such as the hemispherical scatterers 161 discussed above may serve to mitigate (e.g. confine, e.g. reduce) such unwanted longitudinal surface currents.

    [0069] In some examples, particularly where the size of the antenna is limited, the scatterers 161 may be placed within the reactive area around the antenna elements 12. In such cases, the scatterers 161 may have an effect upon the coupling between adjacent antenna elements 12. Pursuant to the present disclosure, it has been found that placing the scatterers 161 within the reactive area around the antenna elements may have an undesirable effect on the bandwidth and/or the range of the antenna.

    [0070] While in the examples above, the conduction inhibitor 121 is shown as being a gap, in other examples the conduction inhibitor 121 may comprise an insert of material, for example a non-conductive material, for example a foam dielectric material. In further examples, the conduction inhibitor may comprise a thinning of the material of the antenna element 12, for example by removing material from the antenna element 12, for example by machining away a portion of the antenna element 12 or otherwise creating an indentation. More than one conduction inhibitor may be provided in each antenna element. Not all of the antenna elements need necessarily comprise conduction inhibitors.

    [0071] A further example of an antenna is shown in Figure 12. The antenna of Figure 12 includes four antenna elements 12, which in the example shown in Figure 12, are antenna elements 12. The antenna of Figure 12 also includes four scatterers 161, which in the example shown in Figure 12 are part-spherical scatterers 161. The antenna shown in Figure 12 also includes a base 16, which comprises an edge portion 1600, a lip portion 1610, a sloped portion 1611, and a central portion 1614. The sloped portion 1611 shown in Figure 12 takes an open frustum shape, and more specifically, takes a two-part frustum shape having an upper section 1612 which is shallower with respect to the central portion 1614 than the lower section 1613.

    [0072] The four antenna elements 12 are attached to the central portion 1614, spaced evenly at 90o with respect to each other, and the base 16 provides a ground plane for the antenna elements 12. The four part-spherical scatterers 161 shown in Figure 12 are generally located within the upper part 1612 of the sloped portion 1611 of the base 16, spaced evenly at 90° and interleaved between the antenna elements 12, with each scatterer 161 placed generally mid-way between two antenna elements 12.

    [0073] In the example shown in Figure 12, the edge portion of the base 1600 includes evenly-spaced mounting points 1620, which in the example shown in Figure 12 are semicircular cutouts.

    [0074] It will be appreciated that Figure 9A may also be considered as follows - the antenna element 12 is modified by an elongated recess or slot 121. In the example of Figure 9A, the slot 121 might be considered an essentially vertical cut approximately parallel to the edge 6 through the upper edge of the antenna element 12.

    [0075] It will also be appreciated that Figure 9B may also be considered as follows: the antenna element 12 is modified by an elongated recess or slot 121'. In the example of Figure 9B, the slot 121' might be considered an essentially horizontal cut approximately parallel to the upper edge 6 through the vertical edge juxtaposed to the edge 6 of the antenna element 12.

    [0076] Whilst longitudinal surface currents along the edge 6 of the antenna element 12 could be regarded as being part of the desired emission characteristics or emission pattern of the antenna, longitudinal surface currents along other edges do not contribute to the desired emission. Recesses or cuts in these edges may be used to control the longitudinal surface currents. The impact of a horizontal slot 121' on the confinement of the longitudinal surface current is typically larger than that of a vertical slot 121. The width of the slot 121,121' should not be too large as they reduce the area of the wing which is used for accumulation of the charges, which has direct effect on bandwidth. The exact orientation, length and/or the width of the slots on an antenna element have an impact on the input impedance of the antenna and are typically optimised numerically to achieve or retain the desired input impedance.

    [0077] Another embodiment is shown in Figures 10 and 11. In this embodiment, the wall 16 of the recess has frustro-conical shape. Within the recess and located on each side of an antenna element 12 are scatterers 161. The scatterers 161 of the example shown in Figures 10 and 11 are dome-shaped protrusions of the wall 16 of the recess. With the exception of these dome-shaped protrusions the wall 16 of the recess consists essentially of three frustro-conical sections with three different slope angles. As shown in Figure 11 the slope angle of the sections increases towards the centre of the antenna.

    [0078] The presence of scatterer may be used to reflect and scatter a part of the radiation pattern caused by longitudinal surface current inside the antenna elements. Particularly at higher frequencies the scatterers 161 may be used to maintains the shapes of the emission pattern of the antenna at a shape similar to the case where there is negligible impact of these currents, e.g. at lower frequencies.

    [0079] Furthermore, choosing a smooth, preferably approximately hemisphere shape for the scatterers 161 can help to partly convert the polarization of the sideways radiated field into a more useful polarization.

    [0080] To achieve a more compact design of the antenna the scatterers 161 may be located within the space between the antenna elements 12 with each scatterer 161 being shared between two adjacent (in direction of the circumference) antenna elements. However when located close to the centre of the antenna the scatterers may impact the input impedance particularly at lower frequencies and in particular the coupling between the two adjacent antenna elements. Thus, the exact shape, size and/or the location of the scatterers may typically be optimized using numerical methods and simulations. The center of each scatterer in an antenna of frustro-conical shape is best located in the vicinity of the circumference connecting the feedpoints of each antenna element.

    [0081] In some embodiments antenna elements which are directed away from each other may be coupled to a common transmit/or receive signal.

    [0082] The communication frequency band of the antenna, and/or of individual antenna elements may comprise one or more frequency bands associated with a telecommunications standard, for example a frequency band associated with the LTE or 3GPP telecommunications standards or with one or more other telecommunications standards and/or protocols.

    [0083] The above embodiments are to be understood as illustrative examples. Some embodiments have been described an illustrated with a particular number of antenna elements and a particular number of antenna elements, but it will be appreciated that a greater or lesser number of such elements may be used. Further embodiments are envisaged. It is to be understood that any feature described in relation to any one embodiment may be used alone, or in combination with other features described, and may also be used in combination with one or more features of any other of the embodiments, or any combination of any other of the embodiments. Furthermore, equivalents and modifications not described above may also be employed without departing from the scope of the invention, which is defined in the accompanying claims.

    [0084] With reference to the drawings in general, it will be appreciated that schematic functional block diagrams are used to indicate functionality of systems and apparatus described herein. It will be appreciated however that the functionality need not be divided in this way, and should not be taken to imply any particular structure of hardware other than that described and claimed below. The function of one or more of the elements shown in the drawings may be further subdivided, and/or distributed throughout apparatus of the disclosure. In some embodiments the function of one or more elements shown in the drawings may be integrated into a single functional unit.

    [0085] In some embodiments the antenna comprises a dielectric cover, for example a radome. For example, the cover may comprise a material such as fibreglass, the cover may be configured to support sufficient load to enable the antenna to be installed in a load carrying surface such as a roadway or a pavement. For example, the cover may be of sufficient tensile and/or compressive strength to support loads of at least 100kg, for example at least 200kg. In some embodiments the cover has a strength and/or thickness selected based at least partially on the width of the recess to enable the cover to support the load associated with a human body or a vehicle such as a car. For example this may be a vehicle weighing at least 10 tonnes, or at least 40 tonnes. In some embodiments the manhole cover may comprise metal instead of dielectric.

    [0086] The cover may be a manhole cover configured to withstand the application of a load of at least 100 kN, and the cover may be configured to withstand the testing procedures envisaged by standard, EN 124 - D400, to its upper face, with the manhole cover laid and may comprise a border (measuring a minimum of 5 mm) around the edge of its lower face when resting in position. Examples of suitable materials may be obtained from Industrie Polieco - M.P.B. S.r.l. - Via E. Mattei 49 - 25046 Cazzago S.Martino (BS) - Italy. The material of the cover may have a thickness of around 40mm and can withstand a very high pressure.

    [0087] It will be understood that antennae described herein provide an antenna comprising at least one antenna element arranged in a recess of a ground conductor, wherein a wall of the recess is arranged so that the recess tapers outward from a narrow base inside the recess to a broader mouth, and the wall is configured to provide a ground plane for the at least one antenna element, and the at least one antenna element comprises a conductive plate arranged perpendicular to the mouth of the recess and to the wall and arranged to provide a slot between the edge of the at least one antenna element and the wall of the recess.

    [0088] The antenna may be manufactured by assembling pre-manufactured components such as metal plates which may be soldered or welded together. Other methods of manufacture may also be used. For example, the antenna may be manufactured by way of '3D printing' whereby a three-dimensional model of the antenna is supplied, in machine readable form, to a '3D printer' adapted to manufacture the antenna. This may be by additive means such as extrusion deposition, Electron Beam Freeform Fabrication (EBF), granular materials binding, lamination, photopolymerization, or stereolithography or a combination thereof. The machine readable model comprises a spatial map of the object to be printed, typically in the form of a Cartesian coordinate system defining the object's surfaces. This spatial map may comprise a computer file which may be provided in any one of a number of file conventions. One example of a file convention is a STL (STereoLithography) file which may be in the form of ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange) or binary and specifies areas by way of triangulated surfaces with defined normals and vertices. An alternative file format is AMF (Additive Manufacturing File) which provides the facility to specify the material and texture of each surface as well as allowing for curved triangulated surfaces. The mapping of the antenna may then be converted into instructions to be executed by 3D printer according to the printing method being used. This may comprise splitting the model into slices (for example, each slice corresponding to an x-y plane, with successive layers building the z dimension) and encoding each slice into a series of instructions. The instructions sent to the 3D printer may comprise Numerical Control (NC) or Computer NC (CNC) instructions, preferably in the form of G-code (also called RS-274), which comprises a series of instructions regarding how the 3D printer should act. The instructions vary depending on the type of 3D printer being used, but in the example of a moving printhead the instructions include: how the printhead should move, when / where to deposit material, the type of material to be deposited, and the flow rate of the deposited material.

    [0089] The antenna as described herein may be embodied in one such machine readable model, for example a machine readable map or instructions, for example to enable a physical representation of said antenna to be produced by 3D printing. This may be in the form of a software code mapping of the antenna and/or instructions to be supplied to a 3D printer (for example numerical code).

    [0090] Other examples and variations are contemplated within the scope of the appended claims.

    [0091] It is further mentioned that the following features may be of importance of its own or in connection with other features mentioned below and/or in the specification and/or in the pending claims. These features are mentioned in the following sections:

    a) A telecommunications antenna comprising a common ground plane, and a plurality of antenna elements, each comprising a conductive plate arranged perpendicular to the common ground plane wherein the edge of each antenna element is spaced from the ground plane to provide a slot between the antenna element and the common ground plane.

    b) The telecommunications antenna of section a) wherein the slot comprises at least one of an exponential curve, a linear taper, and at least one change in the angle of the slot that broadens the slot out towards an open end of the slot, for example wherein the slots of the antenna elements are directed away from each other, for example wherein being directed away from each other comprises being directed in orientations which differ by at least 90 degrees.

    c) The telecommunications antenna of any preceding section comprising at least two antenna elements, wherein the telecommunications antenna comprises at least two signal couplings each arranged to couple to a corresponding one of the at least two antenna elements to drive said antenna element with respect to the ground plane, for example comprising at least three of the antenna elements, wherein at least two of the antenna elements are arranged to at least one of transmit and receive a common signal for example wherein the at least two antenna elements are arranged to be driven together.

    d) The telecommunications antenna of any preceding section comprising at least two antenna elements wherein a characteristic of a first one of the antenna elements is different from the characteristic of a second one of the antenna elements, for example wherein the characteristic is selected from the list consisting of: at least one of the input impedance, the bandwidth and the transmit/receive band of the antenna element.

    e) The telecommunications antenna of section d) wherein at least one of the tapering of the slot, the thickness of the plate, and the inductance of the conductive return path to ground through the antenna element is selected to provide the characteristic.

    f) The telecommunication antenna of section e) wherein at least one antenna element comprises a part-circular sector shaped to select the impedance of the conductive return path to ground through the antenna element.

    g) The telecommunications antenna of section f) wherein the radius of the part-circular sector is selected to be one quarter of a design wavelength of the antenna.

    h) The telecommunications antenna of any of sections a) to g), wherein the characteristic of the first one of the antenna elements is selected based on a characteristic of another antenna element of the telecommunications antenna.

    i) The telecommunications antenna of any preceding section comprising a plurality of antenna elements, for example wherein at least two of the antenna elements are arranged to provide different bandwidth and/or a different centre frequency.

    j) The telecommunications antenna of section i) wherein the plurality of antenna elements each comprise a part-circular sector, wherein the radius of the part-circular sector of a particular antenna element is chosen to select the bandwidth of the particular antenna element.

    k). The telecommunications antenna of section i) or j) wherein the plurality of antenna elements each comprise a feed-point for coupling the antenna element to a signal cable, and a part-circular sector, wherein the positioning of the feed-point with respect to the part circular sector is chosen to select the centre frequency of each antenna element.

    I). The telecommunications antenna of section i), j) or k) wherein the centre frequencies of at least two of the antenna elements are different.

    m) The telecommunications antenna of section j), k), or I) wherein the bandwidths of at least two of the antenna elements at least partially overlap.

    n) The telecommunications antenna of any of section j) to m) wherein the bandwidths of at least two of the antenna elements are at least partially different.

    o) The telecommunications antenna of any preceding section arranged to provide a plurality of I/O channels.

    p) The telecommunications antenna of any preceding section, configured to provide one transmit channel per antenna element.

    q) The telecommunications antenna of any preceding section adapted to transmit and/or receive at least four independent signals for instance to provide a 4x4 MIMO antenna.

    r) The telecommunications antenna of any preceding section comprising a cover adapted to enable the antenna to be installed in a roadway.

    s) A machine readable map, or machine readable instructions, configured to enable a 3D printer to manufacture the telecommunications antenna of any preceding section.

    t) The telecommunications antenna of any preceding section, configured to provide one receive channel per antenna element.

    u) The antenna of any of claims 1 to 16, or any preceding section as dependent thereon wherein the at least one antenna element protrudes from the recess.

    v) The antenna of section u) wherein protruding from the recess comprises an edge of the antenna element, opposite from the slot, extending out of the mouth of the recess.

    w) The antenna of any preceding section as dependent thereon wherein the wall of the recess is arranged to diverge from the edge of the at least one antenna element along the length of the slot.

    x) The antenna of section v) or w) wherein, towards the open end of the slot the slope angle of the wall of the recess is shallower than towards the closed end of the slot so that the wall of the recess diverges from the edge of the at least one antenna element.

    y) The antenna of section x) wherein the wall comprises a first planar part towards the closed end of the slot, and a second planar part between the first planar part and the open end of the slot, wherein the second planar part diverges from the edge of the antenna element more than the first planar part.

    z) The antenna of section y) wherein the wall comprises a third planar part, between the second planar part and the open end of the slot, wherein the third planar part diverges from the edge of the antenna element more than the second planar part.

    aa) The antenna of section x), y) or z), wherein the edge of the antenna element is straight, for example the edge closest to the wall of the recess is straight.

    ab) The antenna of any preceding sections as dependent thereon wherein the antenna element comprises a conductive body and at least one conduction inhibitor arranged to inhibit the flow of surface current on the conductive body.

    ac) The antenna section ab) wherein the conduction inhibitor is arranged to inhibit flow of surface current along an outer edge of the antenna element furthest from a base (17) of the recess (14).

    ad) The antenna of section ab) wherein the conduction inhibitor is arranged to inhibit flow of surface current along an inner edge of the antenna element opposite to the edge (6) of the antenna element that is closest to the wall of the recess (14).

    ae) The antenna of section ab) comprising a first conduction inhibitor arranged to inhibit flow of surface current along an inner edge of the antenna element opposite to the edge (6) of the antenna element that is closest to the wall of the recess (14), and a second conduction inhibitor arranged to inhibit flow of surface current along an outer edge of the antenna element furthest from a base (17) of the recess (14).

    af) The antenna of any preceding section wherein surface of the ground plane comprises a scatterer that stands proud of the surface.

    ag) The antenna of any section in which the scatterer is arranged on an interior surface of the recess provided by the ground plane conductor.

    ah) The antenna of section af) or ag) wherein the scatterers comprise rounded protruberances, for example part spherical, ovoid, or part spherical protruberances, for example hemispherical protruberances.

    ai) A method for use in manufacturing an antenna, the method comprising:

    selecting an arrangement of a planar, conductive, antenna element in a recess provided by a grounded conductor

    selecting an arrangement of a wall of the recess;

    wherein the arrangements of the wall and antenna element are selected so that the recess tapers outward from a narrow base inside the recess to a broader mouth, and the at least one antenna element comprises a conductive plate arranged perpendicular to the mouth of the recess and to the wall and arranged to provide a slot between the edge of the at least one antenna element and the wall of the recess;

    wherein the selection is based on at least one of a bandwidth and an input impedance of the antenna.

    ai) The method of section ai) comprising selecting at least one of the orientation, length and width of at least one current inhibiting structure in the antenna element, wherein the selection is based on at least one of a bandwidth and an input impedance of the antenna.

    ak) The method of section ai) or aj) comprising selecting an arrangement of scatterers on an interior surface of the wall of the recess, wherein the arrangement of scatterers is selected to suppress horizontally polarised signal from the antenna.

    al) The method of any of section ai), aj), or ak) wherein the method is computer implemented and comprises a numerical modelling of the antenna to select said arrangements based on the modelled input impedance, bandwidth or radiation pattern of the antenna.

    am) The method of any of section ai) to al) further comprising at least partially manufacturing the antenna.

    an) An antenna comprising:

    four antenna elements;

    four part-spherical scatterers;

    a base comprising an upper edge portion, a lip portion, a sloped portion, and a central portion, wherein:

    the four antenna elements are attached to and DC grounded to the central portion of the base, and spaced evenly at 90° with respect to each other;

    the four part-spherical scatterers are carried by the sloped portion of the base, spaced evenly at 90° with respect to each other;

    each of the four part-spherical scatterers is located between and equidistant from a respective two of the of the antenna elements;

    the base is arranged to provide a ground plane for each antenna element, and a signal coupling is provided therebetween for driving the each antenna element;

    the sloped portion of the base is an open frustum and is formed of an upper sloped portion and a lower sloped portion, the upper sloped portion being of a shallower incline with respect to the central portion than the lower sloped portion; and

    each of the antenna elements includes, near a base portion of the antenna, a semicircular cutout.

    ao) The antenna of section an) having the features of the antenna of any preceding claim.

    ap) The antenna of any preceding section as dependent on any claim 1 to 15 wherein the at least one antenna element (12) includes one or more recesses located along its upper horizontal edge oriented parallel to the mouth of the Vivaldi antenna and/or along the vertical edge juxtaposed the edge (6) of the Vivaldi antenna.

    aq) The antenna of any of claims 1 to 16, or any section a) to ah) or any preceding section as dependent thereon further comprising scatterers (161) extending from the wall of the recess at both sides of the at least one antenna element (12).




    Claims

    1. An antenna comprising at least two antenna elements (12) arranged in a recess of a ground conductor, wherein a wall (16) of the recess is arranged so that the recess tapers outward from a narrow base inside the recess to a broader mouth (19) to provide an open inverted frustum, and the wall is configured to provide a ground plane for the at least two antenna elements, and each of the at least two antenna elements comprises a conductive plate arranged perpendicular to the mouth of the recess and to the wall to provide a slot (14) between the wall of the recess and an edge (6) of the conductive plate.
     
    2. The antenna of claim 1 wherein the antenna comprises at least two signal couplings each arranged to couple to a corresponding one of the at least two antenna elements to drive said corresponding one of the at least two antenna elements with respect to the ground conductor.
     
    3. The antenna of claim 2 wherein that antenna

    a) is arranged to provide one receive channel per antenna element, and/or

    b) is arranged to provide one transmit channel per antenna element, and/or

    c) is adapted to transmit and/or receive a plurality of independent signals, and/or

    d) comprises at least four antenna elements to provide a 4x4 MIMO antenna.


     
    4. The antenna of claims 3 wherein the at least two antenna elements are each arranged to provide different bandwidths and/or a different centre frequency.
     
    5. The antenna of claim 4 wherein the antenna elements each comprise a part-circular sector, wherein the radius of the part-circular sector of a particular antenna element is chosen to select the bandwidth of the particular antenna element.
     
    6. The antenna of claim 4 or 5 wherein the antenna elements each comprise a feed-point for coupling the antenna element to a signal cable, and a part-circular sector, (18) wherein the positioning of the feed-point with respect to the part circular sector is chosen to select the centre frequency of each antenna element.
     
    7. The antenna of claim 5 or 6 wherein

    a) the centre frequencies of at least two of the antenna elements are different, and/or

    b) the bandwidths of at least two of the antenna elements are at least partially overlap, and/or

    c) the bandwidths of at least two of the antenna elements are at least partially different.


     
    8. The antenna of any of claims 1 to 7 comprising at least one half-Vivaldi antenna element arranged in the recess, wherein the recess is configured to provide a ground plane for the at least one half-Vivaldi antenna element.
     
    9. The antenna of claim 8 wherein the at least one half-Vivaldi antenna element is arranged to provide the slot between the edge of the at least one half-Vivaldi antenna element and a wall of the recess, for example wherein the at least one half-Vivaldi antenna element comprises a conductive plate arranged perpendicular to a mouth of the recess, for example wherein the slot is directed towards the mouth of the recess.
     
    10. The antenna of claim 8 comprising at least one antenna element arranged in a recess, wherein the recess is configured to provide a ground plane for the at least one antenna element and the antenna element comprises a conductive plate arranged perpendicular to the mouth of the recess and being spaced from a wall of the recess to provide a slot between an edge of the conductive plate and the wall of the recess.
     
    11. The antenna of any preceding claim wherein the slot broadens out towards the mouth of the recess so that the shape of the slot comprises at least one of an exponential curve, a linear taper, a stepped profile, and at least one change in the angle of the slot.
     
    12. The antenna of any preceding claim comprising at least two of the antenna elements in the recess, for example wherein the slots of the at least two antenna elements are directed away from each other, for example wherein the slots are directed in different azimuthal directions, for example wherein being directed away from each other comprises being directed in orientations which differ by at least 90 degrees.
     
    13. The antenna of any preceding claim wherein the wall of the recess comprises a planar face and the at least one antenna element is arranged perpendicular to the planar face, for example wherein the planar face is tapered from a narrow apex within the recess to a broader base at the mouth of the recess, for example so that the wall of the recess provides an open polyhedral form.
     
    14. The antenna of any preceding claim wherein the wall of the recess comprises a curved face and the at least one antenna element is arranged perpendicular to the curved face.
     
    15. The antenna of claim 14 wherein the curved face has a negative curvature so the sloping of the face is less towards the perimeter of the recess.
     
    16. The antenna of any preceding claim wherein the recess is one of: (i) open; and (ii) enclosed by a non-conductive material such as a dielectric radome.
     


    Ansprüche

    1. Antenne, umfassend mindestens zwei Antennenelemente (12), die in einer Vertiefung eines Erdleiters angeordnet sind, wobei eine Wand (16) der Vertiefung derart angeordnet ist, dass sich die Vertiefung von einer schmalen Basis innerhalb der Vertiefung zu einer breiteren Öffnung (19) konisch nach außen verändert, um einen offenen, umgekehrten Kegelstumpf bereitzustellen, und wobei die Wand zum Bereitstellen einer Grundplatte für die mindestens zwei Antennenelemente ausgelegt ist und wobei jedes der mindestens zwei Antennenelemente eine leitfähige Platte umfasst, die senkrecht zur Öffnung der Vertiefung und der Wand angeordnet ist, um einen Schlitz (14) zwischen der Wand der Vertiefung und einer Kante (6) der leitfähigen Platte bereitzustellen.
     
    2. Antenne nach Anspruch 1, wobei die Antenne mindestens zwei Signalkopplungen umfasst, die jeweils zum Koppeln an ein Entsprechendes der mindestens zwei Antennenelemente zum Antreiben des Entsprechenden der mindestens zwei Antennenelemente in Bezug auf den Erdleiter angeordnet sind.
     
    3. Antenne nach Anspruch 2, wobei die Antenne a) zum Bereitstellen eines Empfangskanals pro Antennenelemente angeordnet ist und/oder b) zum Bereitstellen eines Übertragungskanals pro Antennenelemente angeordnet ist und/oder c) zum Übertragen und/oder Empfangen einer Vielzahl unabhängiger Signale beschaffen ist und/oder d) mindestens vier Antennenelemente zum Bereitstellen einer 4x4-MIMO-Antenne umfasst.
     
    4. Antenne nach Anspruch 3, wobei die mindestens zwei Antennenelemente jeweils zum Bereitstellen unterschiedlicher Bandbreiten und/oder einer unterschiedlichen Mittenfrequenz angeordnet sind.
     
    5. Antenne nach Anspruch 4, wobei die Antennenelemente jeweils einen Teilkreissektor umfassen, wobei der Radius des Teilkreissektors eines bestimmten Antennenelements zum Auswählen der Bandbreite des bestimmten Antennenelements gewählt ist.
     
    6. Antenne nach Anspruch 4 oder 5, wobei die Antennenelemente jeweils einen Speisepunkt zum Koppeln des Antennenelements an ein Signalkabel umfassen sowie einen Teilkreissektor (18), wobei die Positionierung des Speisepunkts in Bezug auf den Teilkreissektor zum Auswählen der Mittenfrequenz jedes Antennenelements gewählt ist.
     
    7. Antenne nach Anspruch 5 oder 6, wobei:

    a) die Mittenfrequenz von mindestens zwei der Antennenelemente unterschiedlich ist und/oder

    b) die Bandbreite von mindestens zwei der Antennenelemente mindestens unterschiedlich ist und/oder

    c) die Bandbreite von mindestens zwei der Antennenelemente mindestens teilweise unterschiedlich ist.


     
    8. Antenne nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 7, umfassend mindestens ein Halb-Vivaldi-Antennenelement, das in einer Vertiefung angeordnet ist, wobei die Vertiefung zum Bereitstellen einer Grundplatte für das mindestens eine Halb-Vivaldi-Antennenelement ausgelegt ist.
     
    9. Antenne nach Anspruch 8, wobei das mindestens eine Halb-Vivaldi-Antennenelement zum Bereitstellen des Schlitzes zwischen der Kante des mindestens einen Halb-Vivaldi-Antennenelements und einer Wand der Vertiefung angeordnet ist, beispielsweise wobei das mindestens eine Halb-Vivaldi-Antennenelement eine leitfähige Platte umfasst, die senkrecht zu einer Öffnung der Vertiefung angeordnet ist, beispielsweise wobei der Schlitz zur Öffnung der Vertiefung gerichtet ist.
     
    10. Antenne nach Anspruch 8, umfassend mindestens ein Antennenelement, das in einer Vertiefung angeordnet ist, wobei die Vertiefung zum Bereitstellen einer Grundplatte für das mindestens eine Antennenelement ausgelegt ist und das Antennenelement eine leitfähige Platte umfasst, die senkrecht zu der Öffnung der Vertiefung und beabstandet von einer Wand der Vertiefung angeordnet ist, um einen Schlitz zwischen einer Kante der leitfähigen Platte und der Wand der Vertiefung bereitzustellen.
     
    11. Antenne nach einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, wobei sich der Schlitz in Richtung der Öffnung der Vertiefung verbreitert, sodass die Form des Schlitzes mindestens eine einer exponentiellen Kurve, einer linearen Verjüngung, eines Stufenprofils und mindestens eine Änderung des Winkels des Schlitzes umfasst.
     
    12. Antenne nach einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, umfassend mindestens zwei der Antennenelemente in der Vertiefung, beispielsweise wobei die Schlitze der mindestens zwei Antennenelemente in entgegengesetzte Richtung gerichtet sind, beispielsweise wobei die Schlitze in unterschiedliche Azimut-Richtungen gerichtet sind, beispielsweise wobei das Richten in entgegengesetzte Richtungen das Richten in Ausrichtungen umfasst, die sich um mindestens 90 Grad unterscheiden.
     
    13. Antenne nach einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, wobei die Wand der Vertiefung eine planare Fläche umfasst und das mindestens eine Antennenelement senkrecht zu der planaren Fläche angeordnet ist, beispielsweise wobei die planare Fläche von einer schmalen Spitze innerhalb der Vertiefung zu einer breiteren Basis an der Öffnung der Vertiefung konisch verläuft, beispielsweise so, dass die Wand der Vertiefung eine offene Polyeder-Form bereitstellt.
     
    14. Antenne nach einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, wobei die Wand der Vertiefung eine gekrümmte Fläche umfasst und das mindestens eine Antennenelement senkrecht zu der gekrümmten Fläche angeordnet ist.
     
    15. Antenne nach Anspruch 14, wobei die gekrümmte Fläche eine negative Krümmung aufweist, sodass die Neigung der Fläche weniger in Richtung des Vertiefungsumfangs verläuft.
     
    16. Antenne nach einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, wobei die Vertiefung eine ist von: (i) offen; und (ii) von einem nicht leitenden Material, wie einem dielektrischen Radom, umschlossen.
     


    Revendications

    1. Antenne comprenant au moins deux éléments d'antenne (12) disposés dans un évidement d'un conducteur de masse, une paroi (16) de l'évidement étant agencée de manière que l'évidement se rétrécit vers l'extérieur depuis une base étroite à l'intérieur de l'évidement vers une embouchure plus large (19) pour créer un tronc inversé ouvert, et la paroi étant conçue pour créer un plan de masse pour les au moins deux éléments d'antenne, et chacun des au moins deux éléments d'antenne comprenant une plaque conductrice agencée de manière perpendiculaire à l'embouchure de l'évidement et à la paroi pour créer un intervalle (14) entre la paroi de l'évidement et un bord (6) de la plaque conductrice.
     
    2. Antenne selon la revendication 1, l'antenne comprenant au moins deux couplages de signaux, chacun étant conçu pour se coupler à un élément correspondant des au moins deux éléments d'antenne pour entraîner ledit élément correspondant des au moins deux éléments d'antenne par rapport au conducteur de masse.
     
    3. Antenne selon la revendication 2, cette antenne

    a) étant conçue pour fournir un canal de réception par élément d'antenne, et/ou

    b) étant conçue pour fournir un canal d'émission par élément d'antenne, et/ou

    c) étant conçue pour émettre et/ou recevoir une pluralité de signaux indépendants, et/ou

    d) comprenant au moins quatre éléments d'antenne pour créer une antenne MIMO 4x4.


     
    4. Antenne selon la revendication 3, les au moins deux éléments d'antenne étant chacun conçus pour fournir différentes largeurs de bande et/ou une fréquence centrale différente.
     
    5. Antenne selon la revendication 4, les éléments d'antenne comprenant chacun un secteur partiellement circulaire, le rayon du secteur partiellement circulaire d'un élément d'antenne particulier étant choisi pour sélectionner la largeur de bande de l'élément d'antenne particulier.
     
    6. Antenne selon la revendication 4 ou 5, les éléments d'antenne comprenant chacun un point d'alimentation destiné à coupler l'élément d'antenne à un câble de signal et un secteur partiellement circulaire (18)
    le positionnement du point d'alimentation par rapport au secteur partiellement circulaire étant choisi pour sélectionner la fréquence centrale de chaque élément d'antenne.
     
    7. Antenne selon la revendication 5 ou 6

    a) les fréquences centrales d'au moins deux des éléments d'antenne étant différentes, et/ou

    b) les largeurs de bande d'au moins deux des éléments d'antenne se chevauchent au moins partiellement, et/ou

    c) les largeurs de bande d'au moins deux des éléments d'antenne étant au moins partiellement différentes.


     
    8. Antenne selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 7 comprenant au moins un élément de moitié d'antenne Vivaldi disposé dans l'évidement, l'évidement étant conçu pour créer un plan de masse pour l'au moins un élément de moitié d'antenne Vivaldi.
     
    9. Antenne selon la revendication 8, l'au moins un élément de moitié d'antenne Vivaldi est conçu pour créer l'intervalle entre le bord de l'au moins un élément de moitié d'antenne Vivaldi et une paroi de l'évidement, par exemple l'au moins un élément de moitié d'antenne Vivaldi comprenant une plaque conductrice disposée de manière perpendiculaire à une embouchure de l'évidement, par exemple l'intervalle étant dirigé vers l'embouchure de l'évidement.
     
    10. Antenne selon la revendication 8 comprenant au moins un élément d'antenne disposé dans l'évidement, l'évidement étant conçu pour créer un plan de masse pour l'au moins un élément d'antenne et l'élément d'antenne comprenant une plaque conductrice disposée de manière perpendiculaire à l'embouchure de l'évidement et étant espacée d'une paroi de l'évidement pour créer un intervalle entre un bord de la plaque conductrice et la paroi de l'évidement.
     
    11. Antenne selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, l'intervalle s'élargissant vers l'embouchure de l'évidement de manière que la forme de l'intervalle comprend une courbe exponentielle, un bord aminci linéaire, un profil étagé et/ou au moins un changement d'angle de l'intervalle.
     
    12. Antenne selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes comprenant au moins deux des éléments d'antenne dans l'évidement, par exemple les intervalles des au moins deux éléments d'antenne étant écartés l'un de l'autre, par exemple les intervalles étant dirigés dans différentes directions d'azimut, par exemple le fait d'être écarté l'un de l'autre comprenant le fait d'être dirigé dans des orientations qui diffèrent d'au moins 90 degrés.
     
    13. Antenne selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes
    la paroi de l'évidement comprenant une face plane et l'au moins un élément d'antenne étant disposé de manière perpendiculaire à la face plane, par exemple la face plane étant effilée depuis un sommet étroit à l'intérieur de l'évidement vers une base plus large au niveau de l'embouchure de l'évidement, par exemple de manière que la paroi de l'évidement crée une forme polyédrique ouverte.
     
    14. Antenne selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes
    la paroi de l'évidement comprenant une face incurvée et l'au moins un élément d'antenne étant disposé de manière perpendiculaire à la face incurvée.
     
    15. Antenne selon la revendication 14, la face incurvée présentant une courbe négative de manière que l'inclinaison de la face est moindre vers la périphérie de l'évidement.
     
    16. Antenne selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, l'évidement étant : (i) ouvert ; ou (ii) entouré par un matériau non conducteur tel qu'un radôme diélectrique.
     




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    REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



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    Patent documents cited in the description