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12, 2013


A Compact Dual-Band GPS Antenna Design

Ming Chen, Student Member, IEEE, and Chi-Chih Chen, Senior Member, IEEE
AbstractThis letter discusses a small slot-loaded, proximity-fed patch antenna designed for GPS operation at L1 (1575 MHz) and L2 (1227 MHz) bands. High-dielectric substrate and meandered slots are employed to reduce the antenna size down to 25.4 mm in diameter and 11.27 mm in thickness. The thickness is important for achieving the wide bandwidth ( MHz) in support of modern GPS coding schemes. The dual-band coverage is achieved by utilizing the patch mode in L2 band and slot mode in L1 band. This design features additional slot stubs for independently tuning the L1 frequency. The right-hand circularly polarized (RHCP) eld property is achieved by connecting two proximity probes to a small surface-mount 0 90 hybrid chip. Simulated and measured antenna performance will be presented. This compact GPS antenna design is suitable for small GPS antenna arrays and portable GPS devices. Index TermsCircular polarization, dual-band, GPS, patch antenna, proximity feeding.

Fig. 1. Geometry of the new compact L1/L2 GPS antenna.


ITH the deployment of several major global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) such as GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, and Beidou [1], [2], many more frequency bands will be available for global positioning applications. In addition, the clustering of many neighboring GNSS channels requires better coding schemes for these satellite signals [3], [4]. These advanced coding schemes often need a wider bandwidth. Therefore, future GNSS and GPS antennas will need to be able to receive more GNSS channels and have wider channel bandwidths. Most existing commercial small L1/L2 GNSS/GPS antennas have relative narrow bandwidth (10 MHz), and thus are not adequate for supporting advanced GPS codes. Some GNSS/GPS antennas adopting wideband designs such as bowtie dipoles or spiral antennas have good bandwidth, but are relatively large in size [5], [6]. Dual-band GPS antennas not only can operate in two frequency bands, but can also provide more reliable and accurate positions when used with proper GPS receivers that combine information received at both frequencies [7][9]. Therefore, the dual-band GPS antenna design presented in this letter attempts to address size, bandwidth, manufacturability, and scalability, i.e., easily redesigned for other frequencies.
Manuscript received October 11, 2012; revised November 28, 2012 and January 28, 2013; accepted February 06, 2013. Date of publication February 20, 2013; date of current version March 14, 2013. This work was performed under a subcontract from Applied EM, supported by the US Air Force under SBIR Topic A073-72, Miniature GPS Antenna Arrays Using Novel Materials. Distribution is unlimited for public release (Air Force Public Release Approval Number: 88ABW-2013-0727). The authors are with the ElectroScience Laboratory, Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43212 USA (e-mail: chen.118@osu.edu). Color versions of one or more of the gures in this letter are available online at http://ieeexplore.ieee.org. Digital Object Identier 10.1109/LAWP.2013.2247972

Existing compact dual-band circularly polarized (CP) patch antennas include stacked-patch designs [10], [11], specially shaped patches [12], and slot-loaded patch [13]. However, these designs are still not small enough ( mm). In addition, the stacked-patch design is not easy to manufacture due to its internal probe and bonding issue at the metaldielectric and dielectricdielectric interfaces. Zhou et al. proposed a proximity probe design that requires only external probes conveniently located on the side of the antenna [14]. In this letter, we present a compact dual-band (L1: 1575 MHz, and L2: 1227 MHz) GPS antenna design (see Fig. 1, patent pending) that is only 25.4 mm in diameter and 11.27 mm in thickness [15]. The size of the antenna is only about in L2 band. Unlike conventional stacked-patch designs, this design does not have an internal conducting patch. The dual-band coverage is achieved by operating the patch mode in L2 band and slot mode in L1 band. The low-loss, high-dielectric substrate and the meandered-slot designs are employed to increase the antennas electrical size. This design also adopts external proximity probes [14]. The combination of the above features greatly improves its manufacturability and reliability. In addition, this design utilizes a small 0 90 hybrid chip (Mini-circuit QCN-19) to reduce the size of the feeding network and achieve good right-hand CP (RHCP) performance over a wider frequency range. Later, the application of this new GPS antenna design in a four-element array without suffering performance degradation due to mutual coupling will also be demonstrated. II. COMPACT L1/L2 GPS ANTENNA DESIGN A. Antenna Structure and Operational Principles As shown in Fig. 1, the proposed antenna is composed of a single slot-loaded conducting patch design on top of two stacked dielectric layers. The top layer includes the slot-loaded patch design that is fabricated on a Rogers TMM10i board mm, ) using standard ( printed circuit board (PCB) fabrication processes. The bottom mm, substrate is a high-dielectric ceramic puck ( ). The two substrates are bonded to together using ECCOSTOCK dielectric paste

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Fig. 2. Equivalent current magnitude on slotted patch at L1 (1575 MHz) and L2 (1227 MHz) bands. Fig. 3. Input impedance curves for the antenna in Fig. 1 as the meandering slot length varied from 9 to 10 mm.

avoid air gaps and low-dielectric bonding layer formed by common glues, both causing detuning of resonant frequencies. This new design is also mechanically superior to conventional stacked-patch designs where the presence of the middle conducting patch weakens the bonding between the top and bottom layers when the patch size is relative compared to the diameter of the dielectric layers. Two conducting strips (width mm, height mm) on the side serve as proximity feeds for the new design. The bottom ends of these strips are connected to the outputs of a 0 90 hybrid to obtain RHCP property. These two feeding strips are located in the middle of two adjacent longer meandered slots at 90 azimuth angle from each other. Fig. 2 shows the computed magnitude of equivalent currents on the patch at 1227 MHz (left) and 1575 MHz (right). It shows that resonant current distribution occupies the entire patch in L2 mode and is mostly concentrated around the meandered slots in L1 mode. The meandered slots, the center circular hole, and the high-dielectric substrate help to establish L2 mode resonance within the physically small antenna volume. The concentration of elds only around slots in L1 band also makes it possible to tune the L1 frequency independently by adjusting the length of the inner tuning stubs, as will be discussed shortly. B. Design Procedures The design procedure of the proposed compact dual-band patch antenna begins with selecting the diameter based on physical constraints and the two desired resonant frequencies of a specic application such as GPS. The three-step design procedure is discussed as follows. Step 1: The rst step is to determine the dielectric constant and thickness of the two stacked dielectric materials according to the desired lower resonant frequency. The effective dielectric constant of two stacked dielectric layers can be estimated using a double-layer parallel-plate capacitor model that gives (1) where are the dielectric constant and thickness of top and bottom dielectric layers, respectively. The resonant frequency of the lowest mode can then be estimated from [16] (2) Note that, in practice, and materials. By properly choosing are limited by available PCB , and , one can rst

Fig. 4. Input impedance curves for the antenna in Fig. 1 as the meandering slot width varied from 0.5 to 0.7 mm.

Fig. 5. Input impedance curves for the antenna in Fig. 1 as the tuning stub length varied from 0.2 to 1.5 mm.

produce the patch-mode resonance close to the desired lower frequency band. The total thickness can be determined according to the bandwidth requirement of the specic application. Step 2: The second step is to design the length and width of the meandering slots (see Fig. 1) to tune the resonant frequency of the lower mode. Figs. 3 and 4 plot simulated input impedance as a function of slot length and width , respectively. Fig. 3 shows that increasing the slot length from 9 to 10 mm effectively lowers the resonant frequency of both lowand high-frequency modes. As is shown in Fig. 4, changing the slot width from 0.51 to 0.76 mm shifts the higher resonant frequency from 1.48 to 1.6 GHz, but only shifts the lower resonant frequency slightly. Therefore, the low-frequency mode can



Fig. 6. (a) Feeding circuit and (b) the GPS antenna element. Fig. 8. (a) Single-element GPS antenna conguration. (b) Four-element GPS antenna array conguration.

Fig. 9. Comparison between the measured and simulated broadside RHCP and LHCP gain.


Fig. 7. (a) Measured return loss ( ) and insertion loss ( (b) phase difference of the testing board.

) and

be rst tuned to the desire frequency by changing slot length and width. Step 3: The last step is to tune the resonant frequency of the higher mode independently by adjusting the length of the inner tuning stubs. Fig. 5 shows that changing the length of the inner stub from 0.2 to 1.5 mm shifts the higher resonant frequency from 1.57 to 1.51 GHz without affecting the lower resonant mode. C. Compact RHCP Feeding Network The feeding circuitry for the new miniature GPS antenna element is shown in Fig. 6(a) on a 1.27-mm-thick FR4 board . Fig. 6(b) shows that the antenna is inserted into a tightlyt circular hole that is cut out of the FR4 board. The bottom of the antenna and feeding circuitry shares the same ground. Two equal-length microstrip lines with characteristic impedance of 50 connect the outputs of a commercial broadband 0 90 chip hybrid to the bottom of the two antenna probes. The hybrid performance was veried using a separate test board as shown in

Fig. 7(a). The measured reection coefcient shows less than 20 dB from 1.1 to 1.7 GHz, and the transmission coefcients ( ) are approximately 3.2 dB, very close to the desired 3 dB from a half-power divider, within the frequency range of interest. The measured phase difference between the two output ports varies monotonically from 88 at 1.227 GHz to 90 at 1.575 GHz [Fig. 7(b)], which is very acceptable for CP operation. III. MEASUREMENT RESULTS Table I summarizes the optimized design parameters of the nal L1/L2 GPS antenna element design. Fig. 8(a) shows a fabricated antenna element was then mounted on a 117.2 117.2 mm FR4 board containing the feeding circuitry. The simulated and measured broadside gain for the Fig. 8(a) conguration are plotted in Fig. 9, which shows an excellent agreement. The RHCP antenna gain is around 3.2 dBi at 1.227 GHz and 3.5 dBi at 1.575 GHz. The RHCP-to-left-hand-CP (LHCP) isolation is 20 dB at L2



IV. CONCLUSION A novel compact GPS antenna design was presented for operating at 1.227 GHz with 45-MHz 3-dB bandwidth and 1.575 GHz with 50-MHz 3-dB bandwidth at zenith. High-dielectric substrate and meandering slots were shown to be able to miniaturize the antenna size down to 25.4 mm in diameter without the feeding network. The footprint of a single element with the feeding network is about 25.4 40.6 mm . Simulation results indicated that 90% radiation efciency is achieved by using the low-loss dielectric materials in this design. A three-step design procedure of this new antenna design was discussed and can be used to design for different operating frequencies. The RHCP feeding circuitry was implemented using a small 0 90 hybrid chip that provides desired power splitting and stable quadrature phase difference at its two outputs. The measured gain and pattern data validated simulated performance and showed wide RHCP sky coverage and more than 15 dB of RHCP-to-LHCP isolation at both L1 and L2 bands. We also demonstrated an application of this antenna design in a compact four-element array conguration. REFERENCES
Fig. 10. Radiation pattern comparison between four-element array and single element at L2 and L1 band: (a) four-element pattern at L2 band; (b) four-element pattern at L1 band; (c) single-element pattern at L2 band; (d) single-element pattern at L1 band. [1] P. Misra and P. Enge, Global Positioning System: Signals, Measurements, and Performance. Lincoln, MA, USA: Ganga-Jamuna Press, 2010. [2] N. Samama, Global Positioning: Technologies and Performance. New York, NY, USA: Wiley, 2008. [3] B. C. Barker, J. W. Betz, J. E. Clark, J. T. Correia, J. T. Gillis, S. Lazar, K. A. Rehborn, and J. R. Stration, Overview of the GPS M code signal, in Proc. ION Nat. Tech. Meeting, 2000, pp. 542549. [4] J. W. Betz, Binary offset carrier modulation for radio navigation, ION J. Navig., vol. 48, pp. 227246, 2001. [5] F. Scire-Scappuzzo and S. N. Makarov, A low-multipath wideband GPS antenna with cutoff or non-cutoff corrugated ground plane, IEEE Trans. Antennas Propag., vol. 57, no. 1, pp. 3346, Jan. 2009. [6] J. J. Kasemodel, C.-C. Chen, I. J. Gupta, and J. L. Volakis, Miniature continuous coverage antenna array for GNSS receivers, IEEE Antennas Wireless Propag. Lett., vol. 7, pp. 592595, 2008. [7] L. I. Basilio, R. L. Chen, J. T. Williams, and D. R. Jackson, A new planar dual-band GPS antenna designed for reduced susceptibility to low-angle multipath, IEEE Trans. Antennas Propag., vol. 55, no. 8, pp. 23582366, Aug. 2007. [8] X. F. Peng, S. S. Zhong, S. Q. Xu, and Q. Wu, Compact dual-band GPS microstrip antenna, Microw. Opt. Technol. Lett., vol. 44, pp. 5861, 2005. [9] X. L. Bao and M. J. Ammann, Dual-frequency circularly-polarized patch antenna with compact size and small frequency ratio, IEEE Trans. Antennas Propag., vol. 55, no. 7, pp. 21042107, Jul. 2007. [10] Z. Wang, S. Fang, S. Fu, and S. L, Dual-band probe-fed stacked patch antenna for GNSS applications, IEEE Antennas Wireless Propag. Lett., vol. 8, pp. 100103, 2009. [11] X. Sun, Z. Zhang, and Z. Feng, Dual-band circularly polarized stacked annular-ring patch antenna for GPS application, IEEE Antennas Wireless Propag. Lett., vol. 10, pp. 4952, 2011. [12] L. Boccia, G. Amendola, and G. Di Massa, A dual frequency microstrip patch antenna for high-precision GPS applications, IEEE Antennas Wireless Propag. Lett., vol. 3, pp. 157160, 2004. [13] Nasimuddin, Z. N. Chen, and X. Qing, Dual-band circularly polarized S-shpaed slotted patch antenna with a small frequency ratio, IEEE Trans. Antennas Propag., vol. 58, no. 6, pp. 21122115, Jun. 2007. [14] Y. Zhou, C.-C. Chen, and J. L. Volakis, Dual band proximity-fed stacked patch antenna for tri-band GPS applications, IEEE Trans. Antennas Propag., vol. 55, no. 1, pp. 220223, Jan. 2007. [15] M. Chen and C.-C. Chen, A compact dual-band (L1/L2) GPS antenna design, in Proc. IEEE Antennas Propag. Int. Symp., Jul. 2012, pp. 12. [16] C. A. Balanis, Antenna Theory: Analysis and Design. New York, NY, USA: Wiley, 2005, pp. 844846.

band and 15 dB at L1 band. The axial ratio is found to be 1.3 dB at 1.227 GHz and 1.9 dB at 1.575 GHz. The 3-dB bandwidth of lower mode is 45 MHz from 1200 to 1245 MHz, and high mode is 50 MHz from 1545 to 1595 MHz at zenith. Such bandwidths are sufcient to support modern coding schemes such as P/Y and M code [3], [4]. It is well known that mutual coupling between closely spaced antenna array elements often affects impedance matching condition, resonant frequency, and radiation pattern of the element. To examine these effects, a four-element GPS array was assembled as shown in Fig. 8(b). The distance between adjacent elements is 62.5 mm. The measured elevation patterns at center frequencies of L1 and L2 bands are shown in Fig. 10(a) and (b) by operating the Element 1 only with other three elements terminated with 50- loads. For comparison, the measured patterns for the previous single-element conguration shown in Fig. 8(a) are also included in Fig. 10 (c) and (d). These comparisons show that the sky coverage and broadside gain level between the single-element and four-element congurations are quite similar. The maximum gain for the four-element array is 3.3 dBi at L2 and 3.9 dBi at L1, which is fairly close to the single-element gain performance. Notice that these patterns are slightly tilted and not completely symmetric due to the nite ground-plane scattering effect. Reasonable RHCP-to-LHCP isolation is also preserved in the four-element array. Therefore, we concluded that the mutual coupling impact on antenna performance is not signicant compared to a single element for this antenna design. Also, the measurement data are in good agreement with the simulation data.