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1D vs. 2D vs. 3D vs. 4 Dimensional Patterns

1D vs. 2D vs. 3D vs. 4 Dimensional Patterns

How To Choose Your Antenna Pattern Type

Once you have decided to get your antenna “patterned”, you are well on your way to new insights into its performance and suitability for your application. But should you get traditional 2-Dimensional polar plots or 3-Dimensional Spherical plots? The answer usually lies in your antenna type, and it’s expected performance.

Well behaved, directional, or highly symmetrical antennas can be tested with 2D polar plots. Omni-directional, unknown, or newly designed antennas should be evaluated with 3D spherical patterns. A spherical pattern does not miss flaws or unexpected disturbances in patterns that can come from feed line, enclosure, or PCB edge interaction. We always recommend 3D patterns, unless your antenna is already understood. Below is a comparative summary of 2D vs 3D patterning.

We can also do 1D testing: One dimensional testing is simply measuring an antenna’s gain over swept frequency in one direction. And if you want 4 “dimensions” we can do that too. Using custom MATLAB scripts we create animated 3D plots, where time is used in the animation to display your frequency sweep. In a 4D pattern, your 3D pattern evolves as frequency is incremented and displayed. We have awesome examples HERE.

2D Polar Plots

3D Spherical Plots

Higher angular resolution (detail), but only in the chosen “cuts” (usually Elevation/Azimuth or E&H Plane)
Lower resolution, but spread over the entire radiation sphere
Reveals sharp peaks and nulls in highly directional or microwave antennas, missing details outside of the prime measurement planes
Reveals distortions and unexpected pattern effects, nothing is missed by exploring the entire sphere
Cannot calculate radiation efficiency, since the entire sphere is not explored
Customers receive a spherical integration of their 3D patterns, which we present as a radiation efficiency vs. frequency graph
2D Is Best Suited For These Types  Of Antennas:
3D Is Best Suited For These Types Of Antennas:
Horns, Yagi’s, Log Periodics, Monopoles, Patches
Any PCB mounted/soldered device, PIFA, Loops, Zig-Zags, Coils, “Chip Antennas”, SMT/SMD
High gain (directional), Microwave
Virtually all embedded antennas, omni-directional antennas, any antenna with suspected or unknown feedline interaction (i.e. no balun)

Ultimately, the best way to decide which pattern type is best for you is to Contact Us with your antenna test goals. We will help you decide which additional measurements are crucial for your application, like efficiency, front-to-back ratio, front-to-rear ratio, peak gain, or circularly polarized parameters like LHCP/RHCP gain or axial ratio.