Lens Antenna

In this article, we are going to learn about the lens antenna, its working principle, and its advantages and disadvantages of lens antenna. In the end, we will discuss the application of the lens antenna in detail. So let’s start with the basic knowledge of Lens antenna.

You can also learn about the other types of antennas in detail. The list of other microwave types of the antenna is as per below.

Introduction of Lens antenna

  • Lens antenna is yet another type of microwave antenna based on the optical principle. Lens antenna may be used in higher frequency applications in excess of 3 GHz.
  • It works in the same way as a glass lens used in optics.
  • At lower frequencies, the lens antenna becomes bulky and heavy.
  • Lens antennas are a type of wireless communication technology that uses lenses made of materials such as plastic, glass, or quartz to focus radio waves. This results in a more powerful, directional signal that can travel further and with less interference than traditional antennas.
  • Lens antennas are becoming increasingly popular in various applications, including mobile phones, wireless routers, and even satellites. Their ability to provide faster and more reliable connections makes them a promising technology for the future of wireless communication.

Working Principle of Lens Antenna

  • The working principle of a lens antenna is based on the concept of wavefront shaping. When radio waves are transmitted or received by an antenna, they propagate outward in a spherical pattern, similar to the way ripples spread out from a pebble thrown into a pond. However, this omnidirectional pattern means that the signal strength weakens as the distance from the antenna increases.
  • Lens antennas use a lens made of a dielectric material, such as plastic or glass, to focus the radio waves into a narrow, directional beam. The lens has a curved surface that changes the phase and amplitude of the incoming waves, causing them to converge at a specific point in space. This is similar to how a magnifying glass focuses light.
  • By focusing the radio waves into a narrow beam, lens antennas can achieve higher gain, longer range, and greater resistance to interference than traditional antennas. The direction of the beam can be adjusted by changing the shape or position of the lens.
  • In summary, the working principle of a lens antenna involves using a dielectric lens to manipulate the phase and amplitude of radio waves, resulting in a more directional, higher gain signal. This technology has numerous applications in wireless communication, including satellite communications, 5G networks, and wireless power transfer.
  • The Lens antenna is based on the principle that when a source is at a focal point ( at a distance of focal length along the lens axis), then after refraction parallel rays ( or plane wavefront) are obtained on the other side of the lens. This is shown in the figure below.
  • In a similar way, a lens made of dielectric material operated for RF, i.e., EM sources. Instead f using a glass lens, in the case of EM waves, we use a dielectric lens which is made of polystyrene.
  • Using an electromagnetic wave approach, we see that a spherical wavefront is present on the source side of the lens. We know that a plane wavefront is required to ensure a correct phase relationship.
  • The function of the lens is to straighten out this spherical wavefront. This can be achieved through the lens by slowing down the portion of the wave in the center. The parts of the wavefront near the edges of the lens are slowed slightly since the thickness of the dielectric lens at the edge is less.
Lens antenna

Types of Lens Antenna

  • There are mainly two types of lens antenna:
  1. Dielectric lens or H-Plane metal plate lens antenna
  2. E-Plane metal plate lens antenna
  • Dielectric lens antenna or H-plane metal plate are those in which the traveling wavefront is delayed by the lens medium whereas E-plane metal plate lens antenna is those in which the traveling wavefronts are speeded up by the lens medium as shown in the figure below.
types of lens antenna
  • The below figure shows the stepped or zoned dielectric lenses which are often used at frequencies around 10,000MHz to eliminate the problem of recessive thickness. The thickness of the dielectric lens can be reduced by means of stepping.
  • The thickness of the lens is a function of wavelength which is given by,


where \lambda is the refractive index of the dielectric material.

dielectric lens antenna
  • Unstepped dielectric lens antennas are wideband and their bandwidth is around 12% whereas that of a stepped dielectric lens antenna is about 5%.

Advantages of Lens Antenna

  • Lens antennas offer several advantages over traditional antennas:
  1. Improved beam focusing
  2. Reduced size
  3. Reduced sidelobes
  4. Broadband performance
  5. Reduced electromagnetic interference
  6. Increased efficiency.

Disadvantages of Lens Antenna

  • Despite their advantages, lens antennas also have some disadvantages that should be considered when choosing an antenna for a particular application:
  1. Complexity
  2. Limited bandwidth
  3. Fragility
  4. Cost
  5. Sensitivity to environmental conditions
  6. Limited radiation pattern

Application of Lens Antenna

  • Lens antennas have a wide range of applications in various fields, including:
  1. Satellite communication
  2. Radar systems
  3. Wireless communication
  4. Medical imaging
  5. Astronomy
  6. Automotive radar

Summary of Lens Antenna

TypeLens Antenna
Frequency RangeDepends on the design, but typically from a few GHz to THz
Antenna GainHigh (up to 50 dBi or more)
BeamwidthNarrow (a few degrees to a few tens of degrees)
PolarizationLinear or Circular
EfficiencyHigh (up to 90% or more)
DirectivityHigh (up to 20,000 or more)
BandwidthModerate (typically a few percent of center frequency)
Radiation PatternSharp and focused
ApplicationsHigh-speed wireless communication, radar, remote sensing, etc.
  • Note that these specifications may vary depending on the specific design and implementation of the lens antenna.

Frequently Asked Questions on Lens Antenna

What are the advantages of lens antennae?

The major advantages of lens antennas are narrow beamwidth, high gain, low sidelobes, and low noise temperature. Their structures can be more compact and weigh less than horn antenna and parabolic reflector antennas.

What is the range of the lens antenna?

The lens antenna frequency range ranges from 1000 MHz to 3000 MHz

What is the difference between a reflector and a lens antenna?

The reflector is known for shaping a beam in a particular direction (based on the location of a feed antenna) by using a reflecting aperture, a lens achieves a shaped beam by diffracting the signal from the source antenna.

What is the disadvantage of a lens antenna?

The disadvantage of lens antennas is that they are costlier for the same gain/bandwidth in comparison to reflector antennae.

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Hello friends, my name is Trupal Bhavsar, I am the Writer and Founder of this blog. I am Electronics Engineer(2014 pass out), Currently working as Junior Telecom Officer(B.S.N.L.) also I do Project Development, PCB designing and Teaching of Electronics Subjects.

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