The minimization of elements in a non-uniform antenna array is critical in some practical engineering applications such as satellite and mobile communications. However, due to the complexity in the synthesis of an antenna array, the available techniques are not equally successful for reducing the element number of a non-uniform antenna array with as few elements as possible with respect to both solution quality and solution efficiency. In this point of view, a combined strategy based on the matrix pencil method and tabu search algorithm is proposed with the goal of integrating the advantages of the high solution efficiency of the matrix pencil method and the strong global searching ability of the tabu search algorithm when solving an antenna array design problem. In the proposed strategies, the desired radiation pattern is firstly sampled to form a discrete pattern data set. The matrix pencil method is then employed to optimize the excitations and location distributions of the antenna array elements to reduce the element number. Finally, the excitation and location distributions of antenna array elements are (repeatedly) re-optimized by using a tabu search algorithm by starting from the solution of the matrix pencil method to efficiently find the global solution of the design problem. To make the tabu search algorithm suitable for solving antenna array designs, some innovative approaches such as the elimination of the tabu list, systematic diversification as well as intensification processes for neighborhood creations are made. Numerical examples have shown the effectiveness and advantages of the proposed combined strategies.
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