The electronics involved however are only half the story – one also needs a good way to house and protect the radar electronics and antenna. So, what should one look for when designing or selecting a housing for a compact radar, especially at the very popular 24 GHz ISM frequency band?
The first thing to consider is how the housing will affect radar performance, primarily in relation to the antenna. Any material, even if transparent to RF energy, placed in front of the antenna has the potential to affect the radiation pattern emitted due to variation in attenuation over the pattern. Thus, the material properties, and the shape that they take, must be considered during selection of the housing. The majority of electronics enclosures on the market, whether off-the-shelf or designed for a specific product are made of some type of polymer (plastic). These have the potential to affect the RF transparency of the housing. Ensuring compatibility between the radar frequency used and the material properties of the housing is an important part of designing a complete sensor.
The next most important factor to consider when selecting or designing a housing for a radar is the physical configuration and mechanical performance of the housing. It may need to perform several functions simultaneously, often leading to the need to make technical trade-offs. Protection of the electronics and antenna from the environment is generally the primary consideration. The effects of moisture, shock, vibration, light exposure, dust, temperature and aggressive chemicals need to be accounted for. In extreme temperatures, the housing must either cool or heat the electronics to keep them in their optimum operating temperature range. Finally, the physical design of the housing must allow for easy mounting or servicing of the system, without interfering with the radar performance, but should also prevent theft or tampering.
In many cases, those working in an industry will have the most experience regarding these issues. Sivers IMA offers expertise in integrating this deep customer knowledge of housing requirements with its own know-how in designing and building radar systems. By combining these backgrounds, high performance custom tailored radar sensing solutions can be easily created.
Product Manager – Radar