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Conformal array


The ConformalArray object constructs a conformal array. A conformal array can have elements in any position pointing in any direction.

To compute the response for each element in the array for specified directions:

  1. Define and set up your conformal array. See Construction.

  2. Call step to compute the response according to the properties of phased.ConformalArray. The behavior of step is specific to each object in the toolbox.


Starting in R2016b, instead of using the step method to perform the operation defined by the System object™, you can call the object with arguments, as if it were a function. For example, y = step(obj,x) and y = obj(x) perform equivalent operations.


H = phased.ConformalArray creates a conformal array System object, H. The object models a conformal array formed with identical sensor elements.

H = phased.ConformalArray(Name,Value) creates object, H, with each specified property Name set to the specified Value. You can specify additional name-value pair arguments in any order as (Name1,Value1,...,NameN,ValueN).

H = phased.ConformalArray(POS,NV,Name,Value) creates a conformal array object, H, with the ElementPosition property set to POS, the ElementNormal property set to NV, and other specified property Names set to the specified Values. POS and NV are value-only arguments. When specifying a value-only argument, specify all preceding value-only arguments. You can specify name-value arguments in any order.



Element of array

Sensor element array, specified as a Phased Array System Toolbox™ antenna, microphone, or transducer element or an Antenna Toolbox™ antenna System object

Default: isotropic antenna element System object with default properties


Element positions

ElementPosition specifies the positions of the elements in the conformal array. ElementPosition must be a 3-by-N matrix, where N indicates the number of elements in the conformal array. Each column of ElementPosition represents the position, in the form [x; y; z] (in meters), of a single element in the local coordinate system of the array. The local coordinate system has its origin at an arbitrary point. The default value of this property represents a single element at the origin of the local coordinate system.

Default: [0; 0; 0]


Element normal directions

ElementNormal specifies the normal directions of the elements in the conformal array. Angle units are degrees. The value assigned to ElementNormal must be either a 2-by-N matrix or a 2-by-1 column vector. The variable N indicates the number of elements in the array. If the value of ElementNormal is a matrix, each column specifies the normal direction of the corresponding element in the form [azimuth;elevation] with respect to the local coordinate system. The local coordinate system aligns the positive x-axis with the direction normal to the conformal array. If the value of ElementNormal is a 2-by-1 column vector, it specifies the same pointing direction for all elements in the array.

You can use the ElementPosition and ElementNormal properties to represent any arrangement in which pairs of elements differ by certain transformations. The transformations can combine translation, azimuth rotation, and elevation rotation. However, you cannot use transformations that require rotation about the normal.

Default: [0; 0]


Element taper or weighting

Element tapering or weighting, specified as a complex-valued scalar, 1-by-N row vector, or N-by-1 column vector. Weights are applied to each element in the sensor array. N is the number of elements along in the array as determined by the size of the ElementPosition property. If the Taper parameter is a scalar, the same taper value is applied to all elements. If the value of Taper is a vector, each taper values is applied to the corresponding element.

Default: 1


Specific to phased.ConformalArray Object

Compute and display beamwidth of an array


Simulate received plane waves


Directivity of conformal array


Normal vector to array elements


Positions of array elements


Number of elements in array


Array element tapers


Polarization capability


Plot conformal array pattern


Plot conformal array directivity or pattern versus azimuth


Plot conformal array directivity or pattern versus elevation

perturbationsPerturbations defined on phased array
perturbedArrayApply perturbations to phased array
perturbedPatternCompute and plot azimuth pattern of perturbed array

Output responses of array elements


View array geometry

Common to All System Objects

Allow System object property value changes


collapse all

Using the ConformalArray System object™, construct an 8-element uniform circular array (UCA) of isotropic antenna elements. Plot a normalized azimuth power pattern at 0 degrees elevation. Assume the operating frequency is 1 GHz and the wave propagation speed is the speed of light.

N = 8;
azang = (0:N-1)*360/N-180;
sCA = phased.ConformalArray(...
fc = 1e9;
c = physconst('LightSpeed');

Construct a 31-element acoustic uniform circular sonar array (UCA) using the ConformalArray System object™. Assume the array is one meter in diameter. Using the ElevationAngles parameter, restrict the display to +/-40 degrees in 0.1 degree increments. Assume the operating frequency is 4 kHz. A typical value for the speed of sound in seawater is 1500.0 m/s.

Construct the array

N = 31;
theta = (0:N-1)*360/N-180;
Radius = 0.5;
sMic = phased.OmnidirectionalMicrophoneElement(...
sArray = phased.ConformalArray('Element',sMic,...

Plot the magnitude pattern

fc = 4000;
c = 1500.0;

Plot the directivity pattern



[1] Josefsson, L. and P. Persson. Conformal Array Antenna Theory and Design. Piscataway, NJ: IEEE Press, 2006.

[2] Van Trees, H. Optimum Array Processing. New York: Wiley-Interscience, 2002.

Extended Capabilities

Version History

Introduced in R2011a