Integrating antennas into a load-bearing airframe structure has the potential for profound improvements in the capability of military and commercial airplanes, by allowing for substantially increased radiator and array size with reduced weight or drag penalties. Reducing the size of array elements can significantly improve the mechanical performance of the loadbearing antenna. The novel single element spiral slot cut in the broad-wall of a WR-90 rectangular waveguide proposed in this paper is smaller than a quarter of the operating wavelength (half of the size of a conventional rectangular slot). The small antenna element enables a slotted waveguide array to be realized without significantly degrading the mechanical performance in load bearing applications. The proposed spiral slot is compared with conventional rectangular slots and exhibits comparable performance in terms of total efficiency (representing coupling from waveguide mode to the slot) and peak realized gain. Total efficiency and peak realized gain of the spiral slot in travelling wave mode are significantly higher than those of a quarter wavelength rectangular slot element which has near zero radiation. The simulated results were validated by manufacturing the spiral slot placed on the broad-wall of a rectangular waveguide. Realized gain patterns of the spiral slot measured at the design frequency corroborate reasonably with the simulations.
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