# Excitation coefficient of a linear phased array

it's well known that in a linear and equispaced antenna array, the array factor is equal to:  The array is then called uniform if $$|I_n| = I$$ is the same for all elements. The phase terms $$\angle I_n$$ is chosen to decide the peak direction of the beam.

My question is: which current is $$I_n$$? I'm supposing that each cell is connected to a (physical or equivalent) current source. So, is $$I_n$$ the incident current (let's call it $$a$$) on the elements ports or the sum of incident and reflected current ($$a-b$$, where $$b$$ is the reflected current)?

$$I_n$$ is the current on the element, the current which gives rise the to the fields. It has a magnitude and phase. From that you can derive the array patterns.

This is a big simplification from a real-world array, but is useful to allow you to derive some array details in a clean environment. For example:

• it's a two dimensional design
• it doesn't consider the element patterns (they produce the same fields in all directions)
• element length is 1 (they're just unit length elements of current out of the page)
• there must be some feed that produces the current, but that's not what's being investigated
• if all $$I_n$$ are the same, then there's no coupling (or it's taken care of by the feed somehow)
• The elements are short enough that they can be approximated by a simple short element of current. No current distribution or self-impedance etc.
• The only things you need to know to describe an element and calculate its contribution are:
• Current magnitude, $$|I_n|$$
• Current phase, $$\angle I_n$$
• X-position in terms of wavelength, $$knd$$