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Precision Optical Antenna Alignment System for Tracking Antennas in 6-DOF



Joshua A. Gordon, David R. Novotny, Michael S. Allman


We present on an all-optical spatial metrology system, the PiCMM, that aids in the alignment and tracking of antennas with accuracies on the order of 25 microns and 0.01 deg. This system speeds up millimeter-wave antenna alignment, does not require contact, and links spatial measurements to a laser tracker world coordinate frame. An automated Pixel Probe and dark-field imaging are used to directly measure the aperture geometry and its pose. These measurements are absolute in the world-frame of a laser tracker and associated coordinate metrology space of the antenna scanner. Thus, aperture geometries can be linked directly to any laser tracker target (i.e. 6DOF, 3DOF) and data such as that used to calibrate positioner kinematics. For example, the links and joints defining the Denavit-Hartenberg kinematic model of a robotic arm scanner. The new automated aspect of the system reduces alignment time to under an hour. The synergy with laser tracker targets allows for a high level of repeatability. Furthermore, antennas can be exchanged or realigned in the antenna scanner autonomously because antenna geometry and kinematic models reside in the same laser tracker coordinate metrology space.
Proceedings Title
2018 Antenna Measurement Techniques Association Symposium (AMTA)
Conference Dates
November 4-9, 2018
Conference Location
Williamsburg, VA
Conference Title
40th Annual Antenna Measurement Techniques Association Symposium (AMTA)


near field, antenna, alignment, spatial metrology, laser tracker, robotics


Gordon, J. , Novotny, D. and Allman, M. (2018), Precision Optical Antenna Alignment System for Tracking Antennas in 6-DOF, 2018 Antenna Measurement Techniques Association Symposium (AMTA), Williamsburg, VA, [online], (Accessed July 25, 2024)


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Created November 4, 2018, Updated April 12, 2019