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RFID Antenna Design Using Zeland Tools

Zeland Software, Inc.


48834 Kato Road, 103A
Fremont, CA 94538, U.S.A.
E-mail: info@zeland.com
www.zeland.com
Introduction
IE3D and FIDELITY are powerful full-wave EM
tools good for simulation, tuning, optimization and
synthesis.
They can handle general 3D and planar structures.
IE3D can perform mixed EM and circuit co-
simulation,
Special implementation in IE3D and FIDELITY to
help RFID designers.
This presentation provides some general guide
lines for RFID antenna designs using Zeland tools.

RFID Antenna Design Using Zeland Tools


Important Definitions in IE3D and FIDELITY

Incident Wave, a: The propagating wave from the


source to the antenna with specified Zc.
Reflected Wave, b: The propagating wave from
the antenna to the source with specified Zc.
Incident Power, Pinc: The power from the incident
wave
Reflected Power, Pref: the power from the
reflected wave.
Input Power, Pin: The net power going into the
antenna or Pin = Pinc - Pref

RFID Antenna Design Using Zeland Tools


Important Definitions in IE3D and FIDELITY

Radiated Power, Prad: It is the power radiated into


the space from the antenna.
Radiation Efficiency, Effrad: It is the ratio
between Prad and Pin, or Effrad = Prad / Pin
Antenna Efficiency, Effant: It is the ratio between
the Prad and Pinc, or Effant = Prad / Pinc.
Source Impedance, Zs: The impedance of the
excitation source.
Antenna Impedance, Za: The input impedance of
the antenna.

RFID Antenna Design Using Zeland Tools


Important Definitions in IE3D and FIDELITY

Conjugate Match: When Za is conjugate of Zs or


Za = Zs*, it is called conjugate match.
Conjugate Match Factor, CMF: CMF is the ratio
between antenna input power with given Zs and
Za and the antenna input power with given Zs and
assuming Za = Zs*. CMF is not defined in
textbook but in IE3D 12.12 and FIDELITY 5.20
only.

RFID Antenna Design Using Zeland Tools


Typical RFID Structure
An RFID is a chip connected to an antenna. It may work
at different frequency ranges such as 13.56 and 900 MHz.
The design principle is about the same.

RFID Antenna Design Using Zeland Tools


Working Principles and Design Goals
Normally, the chip has an impedance with a large
capacitive impedance value. For example, a typical 13.56
MHz RFID may have an impedance of 5.8 j 250 ohms.
There are two working modes: (1) The RFID is working in
receiving mode. The RFID antenna is receiving signal from
a readers antenna and the signal is powering the chip in the
RFID; (2) The chip is serving as a source and it is sending
out signal thru the RFID antenna.
The goals are to design the antenna to receive the maximum
power at the chip from the readers antenna and to allow
the RFID antenna to send out the strongest signal.
The chip internal impedance Zs is given. We need to tune
the antenna impedance to achieve the goals.

RFID Antenna Design Using Zeland Tools


Equivalent Circuit at Receiving Mode
The readers antenna is creating the EM field at where the
RFID is located. The RFID receives the radiation from the
readers antenna and it is powering the chip.

Zs Chip Impedance
Za Za Antenna Impedance
Va The equivalent voltage
Zs source from receiving
Va radiation from the reader
Chip
RFID Antenna Design Using Zeland Tools
Equivalent Circuit at Transmitting Mode
The received energy is powering the chip. The chip is
driving the antenna to send out radiation into the space.

Chip Zs Chip or Source Impedance


Za Antenna Impedance
Vs The equivalent voltage
Vs Za source of the chip from
received power.
Zs

RFID Antenna Design Using Zeland Tools


Ultimate Goals
In receiving mode, we would
like to chip impedance Zs to Za
receive the maximum power Zs
Chip Va
from the equivalent voltage
source Va.
In transmitting mode, we Chip
would like to deliver the
Vs
maximum power from the Za
equivalent voltage source Vs Zs
to the antenna impedance Za.

RFID Antenna Design Using Zeland Tools


Ultimate Goals
The system is transposable. We can just consider
the transmitting mode. If we can achieve the best
results in transmitting mode, we can achieve the
best results in receiving mode.
In transmitting mode, we would like to deliver
the maximum power from Vs to Za. Therefore,
we need to achieve conjugate match or Za = Zs*.
Only a fraction of the power delivered to Za will
be radiated out. We need to achieve highest
radiation efficiency Effrad.

RFID Antenna Design Using Zeland Tools


Ultimate Goals
We need to implement some good RFID antenna
configurations with high radiation efficiency.
With a given antenna configuration, we need to
tune the dimensions of the antenna to achieve Za
= Zs* at frequency range of interests.
When the antenna basic configuration is given,
the radiation efficiency normally may not be
very sensitive to different dimensions. We
should focus on tuning the dimensions for
conjugate match or Za = Zs*.

RFID Antenna Design Using Zeland Tools


Incorrect Concepts and Goals
There have been many incorrect concepts in the
design of RFID.
Is it the best design of the RFID antenna if we
can achieve maximum gain and maximum
efficiency?
Is it the best design of the RFID antenna if we
achieve minimum S(1,1) normalized to the
complex impedance of Zs (or Zs*)?
Neither achieving maximum gain and maximum
efficiency nor achieving minimum S(1,1)
normalized to complex Zs (or Zs*) is the correct
goal.
RFID Antenna Design Using Zeland Tools
Maximum Efficiency
To achieve maximum efficiency with given
voltage source Vs and source impedance Zs, we
can increase the antenna resistance Ra and the
reactance Xa, where Ra and Xa are defined as Za
= Ra + j Xa.
Larger Ra will increase the efficiency but reduce
the maximum received power and radiated
power.
Maximum efficiency (or maximum gain) of the
antenna is not the best design.

RFID Antenna Design Using Zeland Tools


Complex Normalization Impedance Zs
It is incorrect to use complex normalization impedance Zc.
It is proven in the Appendix of IE3D Users Manual that
complex Zc is an incorrect concept. RF designers are
suggested to avoid using complex Zc.
Multiple definitions of reflection coefficient:
= ( Za Zs ) / ( Za + Zs )
= ( Za Zs* ) / ( Za + Zs )
No definition is precisely correct. The 1st definition may
yield || > 1 for a passive system. The 2nd definition will
not predict || > 1 for a passive system. However, it also
loses meaning. The fundamental reason for invalid is
from the fact that incident and reflected waves are no
longer precisely valid with complex Zc.
RFID Antenna Design Using Zeland Tools
IE3D Modeling of RFID Antenna
There are many good RFID antenna designs. We will not
try to develop some new configuration here. We will
demonstrate how to use IE3D to optimize the 900 MHz
RFID design published by K. V. Seshagiri Rao, et al. on
IEEE AP-T Dec. 2007. The IE3D example file is privided
in .\zeland\ie3d\samples\LoadedMeanderTag.geo.

RFID Antenna Design Using Zeland Tools


IE3D Matching Measured Results

IE3D results compare very


well with the measure
results from literature.
Assume the chip
impedance for the RFID is
Zs = 17.5 j 350 ohms at
875 MHz. Our goal is
optimize the antenna to
achieve Za = 17.5 + j 350
ohms.

RFID Antenna Design Using Zeland Tools


IE3D Simulation Setup for RFID
To check how good the pattern and the conjugate
matching is, please make sure you setup the simulation
properly.

Check f = 875
MHz to make
sure it runs at
the frequency
even with AIF
enabled.
Select Voltage Source excitation
and define source impedance Zs
Enable pattern calculation as 17.5 j350. You can choose Zc
= 50. It is not critical.

(Note: frequency dependent Zs can be defined for pattern calculation in post-processing)


RFID Antenna Design Using Zeland Tools
Check Radiation Patterns
After simulation, PATTERNVIEW is invoked to display the
radiation pattern. You can display the 3D pattern to see the
radiation distribution. Please select Edit->Pattern Properties
dialog to check the radiation parameters.

RFID Antenna Design Using Zeland Tools


Important Parameters for RFID
For most microwave antennas, we should check the
Radiation Efficiency, Antenna Efficiency and Gain. They
are important for wave sources. For voltage and current
sources, we should try to check the conjugate matching and
Input Power with given voltage source.

RFID Antenna Design Using Zeland Tools


Important Parameters for RFID
An important parameter introduced in PATTERNVIEW 12.12
or later for RFID antenna is the Conjugate Match Factor
(CMF). Its definition can be found from the Definitions button
of Pattern Properties of PATTERNVIEW.
CMF ranges from 0 to 1. When CMF = 1, it means the Za is
conjugate-matching the Zs perfectly and the RFID will be
working in the best condition in both modes.

RFID Antenna Design Using Zeland Tools


CMF Vs. Frequency
Display CMF Vs. Frequency on PATTERNVIEW and
check the trends. For this particular antenna with original
dimensions, the CMF is about -4.2 dB at 875 MHz. There is
still much room to improve.

Smooth curve obtained without AIF but longer time.

Selected points simulated with AIF for fast speed

RFID Antenna Design Using Zeland Tools


CMF Vs. Frequency
CMF Vs. Frequency can also be created from s-parameters
on MODUA (Process->General Lumped Equivalent Circuit)
and MGRID (Process->S-Parameters and Lumped
Equivalent Circuit).

Linear Scale dB Scale

RFID Antenna Design Using Zeland Tools


Defining Optimization Variables
The reason for CMF obvious below 0 dB at 875 MHz is that
Zs = 17.5 j 350 and Za = 50.4 + j 418.1. They do not
differ much while we can optimize the antenna for better
result. There are many dimensions we can optimize the
antenna. We will demonstrate the concept with two
variables shown below. FastEM data is prepared on
.\zeland\ie3d\samples\LoadedMeanderTag_for_optim.geo.
We can perform real-time EM tuning and optimization on it.
Change the Y of this group of vertices to adjust the coupling gap

Change the Y of this group of vertices to adjust the length of the traces of the antenna
RFID Antenna Design Using Zeland Tools
FastEM Real-Time Tuning and Optimization
Open the file and select Process->Full Wave EM Design

Define display
graph

Automatic
Optimization

Manual tuning
on the bars

Define goals
for tuning and
optimization

Tuned geometry
Tuned Z(1,1)

RFID Antenna Design Using Zeland Tools


Goals for Tuning and Optimization
We define the goals as Re[Z(1,1)] = 17.5 ohms and
Im[Z(1,1)] = 350 ohms at 875 MHz

(Finding CMF vs. Frequency will be available based upon s-parameters on MODUA)
RFID Antenna Design Using Zeland Tools
Full-Wave EM Optimization
Two ways of EM optimizations on IE3D
Full-blown IE3D optimization: Highest accuracy;
Possibly lower efficiency; Intermediate results
discarded for each individual optimization.
Real-Time Full-Wave Optimization on FastEM: Needs
preparation (possibly long time); Reasonable
accuracy; Real-time tuning and optimization allowing
you to see the change in geometry and results
interactively; Re-usable results; Extremely efficient
for tuning and optimization of batch designs with
similar structure but slightly different goals; Allowing
you to create a big design library.

RFID Antenna Design Using Zeland Tools


FastEM Real-Time Optimization
We can achieve the best conjugate matching with the given
dimensions in seconds on FastEM Design Kit (saved in
.\zeland\ie3d\samples\LoadedTag_for_optim_fastem.geo).
Save the optimized geometry for full-blown IE3D simulation to check results.

Slide bars for manual tuning Select Optimize for Automatic Optimization
RFID Antenna Design Using Zeland Tools
Check Optimized Z-Impedance
As it is shown, Xa is tuned from 418.1 to 348 ohms
while Ra is tuned from 50.4 to 41. Xa is perfectly
optimized while Ra still differs from 17.5 ohms.

RFID Antenna Design Using Zeland Tools


Check Conjugate Match Factor
The CMF is improved from -4.2 dB to -0.8 dB. If we can
tune Ra close to 17.5 ohms, we should be able to bring
CMF closer to 0 dB. It has to be done by tuning other
dimensions.

(Note: On MODUA, we can compare CMF of different files and we can define frequency dependent Zs)
RFID Antenna Design Using Zeland Tools
Check Radiation Parameters
The following table compares the original and optimized
radiation properties on PATTENRVIEW with Vs = 1 (v) &
Zs = 17.5 j 350 ohms at 875 MHz. As you can see, the
Effrad is almost unchanged while the Prad is more than
doubled after the optimization.
Parameter Original Optimized
Input Power 2.72 mW 5.99 mW
Radiated Power 2.43 mW 5.32 mW
Radiation Efficiency 89.0% 88.8%
Conj. Match Factor 0.381 0.838

RFID Antenna Design Using Zeland Tools


Summary

IE3D and FIDELITY yield high accuracy results on


RFID antennas.
Conjugate Match Factor (CMF) is introduced in
IE3D 12.12 and FIDELITY 5.20 for the designs of
RFID antennas. CMF is the most important factor
needs to consider in RFID antenna designs.
IE3D FastEM Design Kit allows designers to tune
and optimize RFID antenna efficiently.

RFID Antenna Design Using Zeland Tools