Exploiting the leaky-wave properties of transmission-line metamaterials for single-microphone direction finding
A transmission-line acoustic metamaterial is an engineered, periodic arrangement of relatively small unit-cells, the acoustic properties of which can be manipulated to achieve anomalous physical behaviours. These exotic properties open the door to practical applications, such as an acoustic leaky-wave antenna, through the implementation of radiating channels along the metamaterial. In the transmitting mode, such a leaky-wave antenna is capable of steering sound waves in frequency-dependent directions. Used in reverse, the antenna presents a well defined direction-frequency behaviour. In this paper, an acoustic leaky-wave structure is presented in the receiving mode. It is shown that it behaves as a sound source direction-finding device using only one sensor. After a general introduction of the acoustic leaky-wave antenna concept, its radiation pattern and radiation efficiency are expressed in closed form. Then, numerical simulations and experimental assessments of the proposed transmission-line based structure, implementing only one sensor at one termination, are presented. It is shown that such a structure is capable of finding the direction of an incoming sound wave, from backward to forward, based on received sound power spectra. This introduces the concept of sound source localization without resorting to beam-steering techniques based on multiple sensors.