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Smart Antennas (Electrical Engineering & Applied Signal Processing Series)

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Smart antennas involve processing of signals induced on an array of sensors such as
antennas, microphones, and hydrophones. They have applications in the areas of radar,
sonar, medical imaging, and communications.

Smart antennas have the property of spatial filtering, which makes it possible to receive
energy from a particular direction while simultaneously blocking it from another direction.
This property makes smart antennas a very effective tool in detecting and locating an
underwater source of sound such as a submarine without using active sonar. The capacity
of smart antennas to direct transmitting energy toward a desired direction makes them
useful for medical diagnostic purposes. This characteristic also makes them very useful
in canceling an unwanted jamming signal. In a communications system, an unwanted
jamming signal is produced by a transmitter in a direction other than the direction of the
desired signal. For a medical doctor trying to listen to the sound of a pregnant mother’s
heart, the jamming signal is the sound of the baby’s heart.

Processing signals from different sensors involves amplifying each signal before combining
them. The amount of gain of each amplifier dictates the properties of the antenna
array. To obtain the best possible cancellation of unwanted interferences, the gains of these
amplifiers must be adjusted. How to go about doing this depends on many conditions
including signal type and overall objectives. For optimal processing, the typical objective
is maximizing the output signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). For an array with a specified
response in the direction of the desired signal, this is achieved by minimizing the mean
output power of the processor subject to specified constraints. In the absence of errors,
the beam pattern of the optimized array has the desired response in the signal direction
and reduced response in the directions of unwanted interference.
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