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February 26th, 2014
New Antenna Design Integrates Multi-Frequency GNSS Signals

The most prominent satellite navigation system is the United States Global Positioning System (GPS), which, like the Internet, is becoming a Global Information Asset. First generation GPS receivers have an accuracy of a few meters when solely relying on the navigation satellites. Advance in technology and new demands on the existing GPS have led to efforts to modernize and develop other systems such as Russia’s GLONASS, Europe’s GALILEO and China’s BeiDou. So called next generation Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS), when combined, aims for higher availability, accuracy and integrity.

Imec and Septentrio co-developed a compact antenna integrating imec’s innovative GNSS antenna and Septentrio’s GNSS RF front-end. Imec’s antenna design satisfies the requirements for the high-accuracy GNSS market while remaining small enough to fit in a handheld surveyor device. The antenna simultaneously receives all GPS, GLONASS and GALILEO bands. It has desired uniform gain and phase coverage over the complete upper hemisphere with strong suppression of unwanted reflected signals below or in the vicinity of the GNSS receiver.

The GNSS RF front-end, based on established market leading front-end technology developed by Septentrio, is characterized by a superb out-of-band interference rejection to avoid notably device self-interference with other radiation sources such as Bluetooth and WLAN radios, as well as other ambient intentional and non-intentional interference. The compact multi-frequency antenna is a perfect companion of Septentrio’s compact and low power AsteRx-m receiver, a credit card-sized dual frequency GNSS receiver that provides centimeter accuracy at less than 500mW power consumption, by far the lowest power consumption in the professional GNSS market.

The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Union Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under grant agreement n°287183.