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Electrically tunable rectangular microstrip antenna

H.I. Kang and J.T. Song


S11, dB

0 5 10 15 20 25 30
150V

The tunable microstrip patch antenna using electrostatic force is presented. The antenna was patterned on the top side of a (poly-ethylene terephthalte) lm. When a DC bias voltage is applied between the exible patch and the xed ground plane, the exible patch bends downwards towards the xed ground plane owing to the electrostatic force of attraction. The bending of the exible patch decreases the air-gap, and consequently the effective permittivity of the antenna is increased. By increasing effective permittivity, the resonant frequency is shifted downwards. For the tunable microstrip patch antennas of 6, 8 and 10 GHz at DC bias 150 V, the measured tuning ranges were 217.04, 242.58 and 365.63 MHz, respectively.

35 40
5.0 5.2 5.4

100V 50V

no bias voltage

5.6

5.8

6.0

6.2

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a
0 5

S11, dB

Introduction: In recent years there has been considerable interest in the development of tunable antennas because of the increasing number of global wireless standards [1 3]. Multiband antennas are needed in order to achieve miniaturisation in mobile and wireless data communication systems such as PCS, Bluetooth, and wireless local-area network (LAN) applications. In [4], the resonant frequency of the microstrip patch antenna was tuned using a varactor diode at both radiating edges. In [5], tunable microstrip antennas using piezoelectric substrate such as a PZT, LiNbO3 and quartz were proposed. However, the frequency shifts in these papers are not enough for wireless LAN. In this Letter, we propose a new type of tunable microstrip patch antenna using electrostatic force. The antenna with the air-gap structure was fabricated with a exible substrate. When the air-gap thickness deforms by applying a DC bias voltage between the patch and the ground plane, the resonant frequency is shifted as well. Measurement and simulation of the frequency shifts were carried out and good agreement has been obtained. Fabrication of microstrip patch antenna: The antenna consists of three layers: a 5 mm copper bottom electrode, a 0.5 mm PET (1r 3.5) and a 1 mm aluminium top electrode, as shown in Fig. 1. The thickness of the air-gap was 0.2 mm. The ground plane of the microstrip patch was sputtered by copper. The patch of the antenna was detached upon the PET, which is suspended above the ground plane. The feed line was designed for 50 V. The tunable microstrip patch antennas were designed to operate at 6, 8 and 10 GHz. The resonant frequencies are shifted by applying a DC bias voltage between the patch and the ground plane. The cross-views of the antenna with no bias voltage and after applying a DC bias voltage are shown in Fig. 2.
L

10

S11, dB

15 20 25
150V

30
100V

35
50V

40
6.5 7.0 7.5 8.0

no bias voltage

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0 5 10 15 20 25
150V

30 35 40
8 9
100V 50V no bias voltage

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11

12

resonant frequency, GHz

Fig. 3 Measured return losses of tunable microstrip patch antenna


a 6 GHz b 8 GHz c 10 GHz

feed line patch

gold wire SMA

Electrodes are attracted by the electrostatic force presented between them. The bending of the exible patch decreases the air-gap (h1). Consequently, the effective permittivity (1eff ) of the antenna is increased. Decreasing the air-gap increases the effective permittivity of the antenna, resulting in a downward shift in resonant frequency. The effective permittivity 1eff is calculated by
PET (h2) air-gap (h2) copper substrate

1eff

1r h1 h2 1r h1 h2

Fig. 1 Schematic of tunable microstrip patch antenna


patch support layer substrate air-gap (h1) bottom electrode

PET (h2)

where 1r is the dielectric constant of the PET, h2 is the thickness of the PET dielectric layer, and h1 is the air-gap depth between the PET dielectric layer and the ground plane. The resonant frequency is calculated by the approximation [6] fr 16:3 L 0:7 h1eff 0:5381=2 2

a
PET support layer bottom electrode substrate

Fig. 2 Cross-views of tunable microstrip patch antenna


a No bias voltage b After applying bias voltage

where L (cm), h (cm) and fr (GHz) are length, thickness of substrate and resonant frequency, respectively. It can be observed from (1) that a decrease in the air-gap (h1) would increase the effective permittivity of the antenna. Further, from (2) it can be seen that an increase in the effective permittivity of the antenna would decrease the resonant frequency of the antenna. Thus, it is possible to shift the resonant frequency by changing the air-gap (h1) and it can be controlled by applying the DC bias voltage. Frequency shift (Df ) and frequency shift ratio (%f ) are

ELECTRONICS LETTERS 7th January 2010 Vol. 46

No. 1

dened by Df f0 fr ; %f Df 100 f0 3

where f0 is the resonant frequency with no bias, fr is the resonant frequency with a DC bias voltage. Results and discussion: The S11 parameter of the microstrip patch antenna was measured using an HP 8227 vector network analyser (VNA). For biasing the antenna, a bias tee was connected between the antenna and the VNA. The DC bias voltage was applied to the patch from 0 to 150 V by a voltage source (Fluke 5100 B). The measured return losses for the various applied voltages are shown in Fig. 3. It was observed that the resonant frequency of the antenna shifted downwards with increasing bias voltage. Df of the 6 GHz antenna at 150 V was 212 MHz and %f was 3.53%. Df of the 8 and the 10 GHz antennas were 286 and 361 MHz and %f were 3.57 and 3.61%, respectively. As seen from the Figure, as the operating frequency increased, frequency shift increased and frequency shift ratios are similar, as the bias voltage was increased, the band width of the antenna was wider. Frequency shifts of the various tunable microstrip antennas are shown in Table 1. Df of the antenna using the electrostatic force were over 12 times larger than Df of the antenna using the piezoelectric effect [5, 7]. These results show that the antenna using electrostatic force can be used for wide frequecy range applications such as HiperLAN (5150 5350 MHz), IEEE 802.11a (5.5 GHz), and ISM (5725 5875 MHz), whereas the antennas using the piezoelectric effect are used for the application that needs to control frequency precisely.

Conclusion: The tunable microstrip patch antenna using electrostatic force is proposed. The antennas were fabricated to operate at 6, 8 and 10 GHz. The frequency characteristics of the antennas were measured and simulated. The measured Df of the 6, 8 and 10 GHz antennas at 150 V were 212, 286 and 361 MHz, respectively. They have more Df than the antenna using the piezoelectric effect reported in the literature. The air-gap thickness-mode resonant frequency was used to precisely measure air-gap thickness in the simulation. The simulated Dfs of the 6, 8 and 10 GHz antennas at 150 V were 151, 161 and 256 MHz, respectively. Comparison of measured and simulated results shows good agreement. The proposed antennas could be good candidates for multiband antennas owing to their wide frequency range characteristics. # The Institution of Engineering and Technology 2010 18 September 2009 doi: 10.1049/el.2010.2642 H.I. Kang and J.T. Song (School of Information and Communication Engineering, Sungkyunkwan University, 300 Cheoncheon-dong, Jangan-gu, Suwon, Geonggi-do, 440-746, Republic of Korea ) E-mail: joontsong@ece.skku.ac.kr References
1 Aberle, J.T., Ohn, S.H., Auckland, D.T., and Rogers, S.D.: Recongurable antennas for portable wireless devices, IEEE Antennas Propag. Mag., 2003, 45, (6), p. 148 2 Bhartia, P., and Bahl, I.J.: A frequency agile microstrip antennas. IEEE Antennas Propagation Symp. Dig., May 1982, Vol. 20, pp. 304 307 3 Haskins, P.M., and Dahele, J.S.: Varactor-diode loaded passive polarisation agile patch antenna, Electron. Lett., 1994, 30, (13), p. 1074 4 Dauguet, S., Gillard, R., Citerne, J., and Piton, G.: Global electromagnetic analysis of microstrip agile antenna, Electron. Lett., 1997, 33, (13), p. 1111 5 Song, J.T., Jo, I.H., and Kim, Y.H.: Frequency agile microstrip antenna using piezoelectric substrates, Jpn. J. Appl. Phys., 2003, 40, p. L515 6 Yazdandoost, K.Y., and Gharpure, D.C.: Simple formula for calculation of the resonant frequency of a rectangular microstrip antenna. Proc. IEEE 5th Int. Symp. Spread Spectrum Techniques and Applications, Sun City, South Africa, September 1998, Vol. 2, pp. 604605 7 Song, J.T., Kang, H.I., and Ha, Y.M.: Frequency agile microstrip antenna using quartz substrates, Jpn. J. Appl. Phys., 2004, 43, (2A), p. L142

Table 1: Frequency shifts of various tunable microstrip antennas


Tuning Applied eld Frequency Frequency 1r shift (MHz) ratio (%) method (V/mm) Air-gap 200.0 2.0 319.2 3.61 Quartz 7 200.0 3.8 27.1 0.30 LiNbO3 5 200.0 29.0 9.7 0.10

Simulation was demonstrated using Ansofts Ensemble 7.0 package. The air-gap thickness was calculated by measuring the air-gap thickness-mode resonant frequency. The air-gap thickness of the 6, 8 and 10 GHz antennas at bias voltage 150 V for example, were 0.12, 0.09 and 0.13 mm, respectively. Using (1) and (2), the resonant frequency was calculated. Measurement and simulation results of the tunable antenna using electrostatic force are shown in Fig. 4. When the dielectric constant of the 6, 8 and 10 GHz antennas was increased about 6.7%, Dfs were 151, 161 and 256 MHz, respectively. The average error between measured and simulated data was within 3%. In particular, the average error of the 10 GHz antenna was smallest at 1.1%. This simulation will also be helpful when the microstrip patch antenna is designed before being fabricated.
400 350 300

frequency shift, MHz

250 200 150 100 50 0 0

6GHz simulation 6GHz measurement 8GHz simulation 8GHz measurement 10GHz simulation 10GHz measurement

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100

150

bias voltage, V

Fig. 4 Measurement and simulation results of tunable microstrip patch antenna

ELECTRONICS LETTERS 7th January 2010 Vol. 46 No. 1