Phased array pulsed ring-down source synchronization with a GPS based timing system

Y. Chen, D. Reale, J. Dickens, S. Holt, J. Mankowski, M. Kristiansen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


A collaborative effort at Texas Tech University on high power RF transmitters has directly translated to the development of phased array pulsed ring down sources (PRDS). By operating an array of PRDS, peak radiating power on target can theoretically be increased to the squared of N sources. The primary limitation on the application of the array concept is the jitter with which the individual sources can be fired. An ideal jitter of a small fraction of the risetime is required to accurately synchronize the array to steer and preserve the amplitude of the radiated pulse. This paper describes in detail the implementation of a GPS based timing system that will synchronize the operation of each of the elements of a geospatially distributed phased array to maximize the peak power delivered to a single position. Theoretical array performance is shown through Monte Carlo simulations, accounting for switch jitter and a range of GPS timing jitter. Each module will include a control unit, low jitter pulser, low jitter spark gap, antenna element, as well as a GPS receiver. The location of each module is transmitted to a central controller, which calculates and dictates when each element is fired. Low jitter in the timing of the GPS reference signal is essential in synchronizing each element to deliver the maximum power. Testing using a preliminary setup using GPS technology is conducted with both 1 pps and 100 pps outputs. Jitter results between modules are recorded to ∼10 ns without any correction factors and 1-2 ns with simple averaging. With the timing and geospatial errors taken into account, the proposed concept will show usable gains at phased array operating frequencies up to several hundred MHz.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5976097
Pages (from-to)1071-1078
Number of pages8
JournalIEEE Transactions on Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2011


  • GPS
  • Monte Carlo simulations
  • Phased array
  • high power RF transmitter
  • low jitter
  • pulse ring-down
  • risetime


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