Jet Propulsion Laboratory Tour, 2003

May 23, 2003

Professor Arakaki and four electrical engineering students (Jake Schaffner, Chris Brito, Aloysius Lubiano, and Newlyn Hui) traveled to Pasadena last March to visit the Jet Propulsion Laboratory to learn how the company configures and utilizes anechoic chambers for antenna development. JPL engineers Bill Pickett and Bob Beckon hosted the tour, which went to three indoor ranges and five outdoor ranges at the site. The students then were able to take what they learned at the JPL and apply it to developing the EE departments own antenna anechoic chamber currently under construction.

More about Anechoic chambers, from Professor Arakaki:

"The word anechoic means absence of echoes (an- echo). An antenna anechoic chamber simulates an infinite free space environment. If an antenna radiates energy in the vacuum of infinite space, the radiation travels away from the antenna. No material exists for the radiation to bounce off and reflect back to the antenna. This allows the measurement of the antenna's characteristics without the effects of nearby objects. An anechoic chamber uses radiation absorbing foam on the walls to absorb nearly all radiation emitted by the antenna to simulate the infinite free space environment.

We will use the anechoic chamber to measure radiation patterns on the Polysat satellite project (Cal Poly) and microstrip antennas used in cell phones and wireless internet connections. Radiation patterns indicate how much energy an antenna radiates in particular directions. Our chamber includes a positioner and controller (pictures on my website) that detects radiation at specific angles to construct a radiation pattern for the antenna under test. I will also develop a set of experiments to complement the EE 533 antennas course.

We will also use the chamber to measure electromagnetic noise, known as EMI (electromagnetic interference) emanating from various electronic equipment such as computers and test instruments. Anechoic chambers are needed to prevent the reflection of radiation from adjacent objects and obtain accurate measurements."

More Information

Jet Propulsion Laboratory Home: Professor Arakakis Homepage (Including more pictures of the tour):