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Low Specific Absorption Rate Wearable Antenna for WLAN Band Applications

J. H. Kim*, H. M. Lee
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Dept. Of Electronics Engineering, Kyonggi University Address including country Name * junehyong@kyonggi.ac.kr hmlee@kyonggi.ac.kr substrates. The antennas of stack structure with indirect feeding type have a relatively increased bandwidth due to increase of the overall substrate thickness of the antenna structure. Also, the increased bandwidth can be achieved with a single patch using a relatively thick low-dielectric constant substrate or by using two (or more) stacked patches [6]. The antennas of stack structure offer the potential advantage of reducing the backward wave due to bottom ground of antenna structure. In this paper, a wearable antenna for wireless local area network (WLAN: IEEE 802. 11a, n 5.725 GHz ~ 5.825 GHz) band applications using a stacked square ring patch element is proposed. It consists of a micro strip feeder line using indirect feeding method and a stacked square ring patch. It is designed using two flexible printed circuit boards (PCB) for the application of a wearable system. The effectiveness of the wearable antenna in terms of the SAR improvement is verified by its implementation. The SEMCAD X 3D field simulation tool and human model software of ITIS Foundation (Information Technologies in Society) are used for antenna design [7], [8]. II. DESIGN OF WEARABLE ANTENNA The geometry of the proposed wearable antenna is shown in Fig. 1. In the design of the proposed antenna, a textile material of felt ( r = 1.38, thickness = 1.1 mm, loss tangent = 0.02) is used as a substrate. The micro-strip feeder line is located between the square ring patch and the ground plane, which is separated by two dielectric substrates.

Abstract In this paper, a wearable antenna for wireless local area network (WLAN: IEEE 802. 11a, n 5.725 GHz ~ 5.825 GHz) band applications using a stacked square ring patch element is proposed. It consists of a micro strip line with indirect feeding method and a stacked square ring patch. It is designed on a flexible printed circuit board (PCB). The proposed antenna shows good characteristics such as a WLAN band, a backward wave reduction, a suitable gain and a SAR value below international standard, etc. Thus it can be applied to the antenna of wearable systems. Index terms Wearable antenna, Low SAR structure, WLAN band antenna

I. INTRODUCTION Many studies of wearable antenna structures for on - body or off - body communication system have been published [1][3]. Body-worn antennas may be designed using the flexible substrate or the fabric material for attaching on body or into clothing. In the design of these wearable antennas, reduction of the backward wave is needed to achieve a low SAR (Specific Absorption Rate) value. Most of the backward radiation power of an antenna is produced by the surface waves which flow through the finite ground plan. To reduce backward radiation suppression of surface wave is needed. The Electromagnetic band gap (EBG) or photonic band gap (PBG) structures are used for reducing a backward wave and achieving a good SAR value [4], [5]. One of the problems in the design of these structures by using these two technologies is that overall size of an antenna can be increased. As the patch antenna has PBG pattern in the ground plane by using the FR-4 substrate, it is not flexible body-worn structure and the size of antenna is large [4]. Also, the operation frequency band of antenna is a narrow due to use of the inset-fed patch antenna. In [5], the wearable antenna has EBG structure by using flexible substrate and it is possible to bend an antenna. But the wearable antenna shows a big backward wave level in spite of using EBG structures under the antenna. Thus the research about antenna with reduced sizes and structure using flexible substrates is required. In the design of a micro-strip direct fed antenna, an increase of the substrate thickness leads to the increase of antenna operation bandwidth. But it is caused to increase of the undesirable feed radiation. The indirect feed method can be solved to these problems. An electromagnetic coupling is well known as proximity coupling. In this case, the feed line is placed between the patch and the ground plane which is separated by two (or more) dielectric

(a) Top view of proposed antenna

(b) Top view without upper layer

Fig. 2 Simulated return loss

(c) Side view Fig. 1 Geometry of the proposed antenna

A micro-strip feeder line is located over the finite ground plane and a stacked square ring patch is designed by a flexible PCB. The flexible PCB structure is designed by inserting a thin conductor between two polyimide films ( r = 3.3, film thickness = 0.025 mm). The proximity coupled square ring patch provides enhanced bandwidth without undesirable radiation caused by the discontinuities and asymmetry of contacting feed method. Due to the bottom ground of the proposed antenna, backward wave of the antenna has reduced values than typical micro-strip patch antenna. The total size of the upper and lower layers is 60 mm 60 mm, 60 mm 70 mm, respectively. The square ring patch is more reduced to a size of patch due to inner and outer coupling effect compared to a conventional square patch. The antenna shows a wide bandwidth due to a proximity coupling effect of a ring patch. To achieve an antenna for WLAN band (5.725 GHz ~ 5.825 GHz) application the outside and inside length of the stacked square ring patch is optimized. As a result, the outside and inside length of the square ring patch was chosen as 56 mm, 32 mm, respectively. The average peripheral length of the square ring patch is about a guide-wavelength (45 mm at 5.77 GHz) and it is located on the 50 micro-strip feed line. The open stub length of the feed line is optimized for the WLAN band application.

(a) x-z plane

(b) y-z plane Fig. 3 Simulated radiation pattern (f=5.77GHz)

of watts per kilogram. Also SAR is used to measure exposure to RF fields between 100 KHz and 10 GHz. It is usually averaged values either over the whole body or over a small sample volume (typically 1 g or 10 g of tissue). The various governments have defined safety limits for exposure to RF energy produced by wireless devices that mainly exposes the head or a limb for the RF energy. It can be calculated from the electric field within the tissue. The calculation equation is as follow.

SAR =
(a) Front view (b) Back view

2 E

Where,

is the sample electrical conductivity. is the sample density.

E is the rms electric field.

(c) SAR distribution of back view on x-y plane Fig. 4 The proposed antenna on virtual family voxel model

The simulated return losses of the proposed wearable antenna with/without human body are shown in Fig. 2. The resonant frequency and bandwidth of the antenna is changed when the antenna is located 0.05 mm and 0.55 mm on human body, respectively. The simulated impedance bandwidth (VSWR 2) of the antenna with a human body is 230 MHz (5.64 GHz ~ 5.87 GHz). The simulated impedance bandwidth (VSWR 2) with a human body is 160 MHz (5.72 GHz ~ 5.88 GHz). The proposed antenna is operated within the WLAN band (IEEE 802. 11a) with a human body or not. The simulated radiation patterns of the proposed antenna at the center frequency of WLAN band (5.77 GHz) are shown in Fig. 3. These radiation pattern results are a sum of the co-pol and the cross-pol. To reduce the backward wave, the size of ground plane is optimized. In Fig. 3, the average backward wave power level is under - 18 dBi and the gain of the proposed antenna is 7.9 dBi at 5.77 GHz. In the design of an antenna for the body-centric communication systems, the SAR (Specific Absorption Rate) value is an essential factor to evaluate an effect of the electromagnetic wave around human body. SAR is the rate of the energy which is absorbed by the human body when exposed to a RF (Radio Frequency) electromagnetic field. It is defined as the power absorbed per mass of tissue and has units

To calculate the SAR value of the antenna, simulation is carried out when a human body is located under the ground of the proposed antenna. Fig. 4 shows a proposed antenna located around limb of a human body. For the human body model simulation, the virtual family software tool of Foundation for Research on Information Technologies in Society (ITIS Foundation) was used. The human model software of ITIS Foundation includes information about the relative permittivity, etc. The computed peak SAR values for the different distances from the proposed antenna to human body are summarized in Table 1. In the simulation, the input power is normalized as 0.251W (25dB). The FCC (Federal Communications Commission) of United State requires below 1.6 watts per kilogram (W/Kg) over a volume 1 gram of tissue. And European Union following IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) standards requires 2 watts per kilogram (W/Kg) over a volume 10 gram of tissue. When the proposed antenna is located 0.05 mm on human body, the peak SAR values of proposed antenna are 0.474W/Kg (1g tissue), 0.11W/Kg (10g tissue), respectively. When the antenna is located 0.55 mm on human body, the peak SAR values of proposed antenna are 0.094W/Kg (1g tissue), 0.029W/Kg (10g tissue), respectively. In simulated results of SAR measurement, the SAR values are satisfied below the international standard of SAR.
TABLE I COMPARISON OF SIMULATED SAR VALUES
The peak SAR values (W/Kg) of proposed antenna (5.77GHz) Distance from proposed 1g tissue antenna to body (U.S. standard) 0.474 0.05mm 0.55mm

10g tissue (EU standard) 0.11

0.094

0.029

III. EXPERIMENTAL VERIFICATION The photographs of fabricated wearable antenna are shown in Fig. 5. The size of the ground plane is 60 mm 70 mm and the size of the micro-strip feed line is 2 mm 50 mm. The square ring patch of flexible material is located in middle of upper layer. The lower and upper layers are fabricated using flexible PCB and felt. The flexible PCB consists of a polyimide film ( r = 3.3, film thickness = 0.025 mm) and thin conductor. So the thin conductor is protected by polyimide film. A textile material of a felt ( r = 1.38, thickness = 1.1 mm, loss tangent = 0.02) is used as a substrate. A micro-strip feeder line with a ground plane and a stacked square ring patch are designed by a flexible PCB. So the fabricated wearable antenna has a low profile structure and it is possible to bend the antenna due to use the flexible substrate materials. A coaxial SMA (SubMiniature version A) connector was connected to the microstrip antenna feed line. The measured return loss is shown in Fig. 6. The impedance bandwidth (VSWR 2) of fabricated wearable WLAN band antenna is 240 MHz (5.68 GHz ~ 5.92 GHz). It shows a wider bandwidth compared to the simulated result due to the additional losses caused by the electro-textile. But the operating frequency band is similar to simulated ones. The measured radiation pattern of proposed wearable antenna is shown in Fig. 7. The average backward wave power level is under - 16 dBi and the gain of the proposed antenna is 7.34 dBi at 5.77 GHz. The measured radiation pattern results are similar to the simulated radiation pattern. So the effect of backward wave on human body is expected to similar like the simulated SAR value.

(b) Top view Fig. 5 The fabricated antenna

Fig. 6 The measurement result

(a) Lower layers with feed line

(a) x-z plane

SAR values as shown in simulated results. The proposed antenna shows good characteristics such as a reduced backward wave, a suitable gain and a SAR value below international standard, etc. Thus it can be applied to the antenna of the wearable systems. ACKNOWLEDGMENT This work was supported by the Korea Research Foundation Grant funded by the Korea Government (KRF2008-521-D00303). REFERENCES
[1] P. Salonen, Y. Rahmat-Samii, M. Schaffrath, and M. Kivikoski, Effect of textile materials on wearable antenna performance: a case study of GPS antennas, IEEE Antennas and Propagation Society International Symposium.,, vol. 1, pp. 459462, June. 2004. B. Sanz-Izquierdo, F. Huang, J. C. Batchelor and M. Sobhy, Compact antenna for WLAN on body applications, Proceedings of the 36th European Microwave Conference, Manchester, pp. 815-818, September. 2006. B. Sanz-Izquierdo, F. Huang and J. C. Batchelor, Small size wearable button antenna, Conference on Antennas and Propagation EUCAP 2006, Nice, pp.1-4, November. 2006. P. Salonen, M. Keskialammi and L. Sydanheimo, A low-cost 2.45GHz photonic band-gap patch antenna for wearable systems, IEE 11th International Conference on Antennas and Propagation, Manchester, vol. 2, pp. 719-723, April. 2001. Z.Shaozhen, and R. Langley, Dual-band wearable textile antenna on an EBG substrate, IEEE Trans on Antennas and Propagation ., vol. 57, pp. 926935, April. 2009. S. T. Wayne and B. Rod, Investigation into the performance of proximity coupled stacked patches, IEEE Trans. Antennas Propagat., vol. 54, no. 6, pp. 214220, June. 2006. SEMCAD X version 14 Aletsch Manual (Schmid & Partner Engineering AG, Zurich Swizerland) A. Christ, W. Kainz, E.g. Hahn, K. Honegger, M. Zefferer, E. Neufeld, R. Janka, W. Bautz, J. Chen, B. Kiefer, P. Schmitt, H. P. Hollenbach, J. Shen, M. Oberle, D. Szczerba, A. Kam, J. W. Guag and N. Kuster. The virtual Family development of anatomical CAD models of two adults and two children for dosimetric simulations. Physics in Medicine and Biology, 2009.

[2] (b) y-z plane Fig. 7 Measured radiation pattern (f=5.75GHz) [3] [4]

IV. CONCLUSIONS In this paper, a wearable antenna for wireless local area network band applications using a stacked square ring patch element is proposed. The proposed antenna has a simple stack geometry using a textile material such as felt substrate. In the simulated results, the impedance band width (VSWR 2) and maximum gain of the proposed wearable antenna are 230 MHz (5.64 GHz ~ 5.87 GHz) and 7.9 dBi (f = 5.77 GHz), respectively. The average backward wave power level is under - 18 dBi and the gain of the proposed antenna is 7.9 dBi at 5.77GHz. The measured results shows, the impedance band width (VSWR 2) and gain of the proposed wearable antenna are 240 MHz (5.68 GHz ~ 5.92 GHz) and 7.34 dBi (f = 5.75 GHz), respectively. The average backward wave power level is under - 16 dBi and the gain of the proposed antenna is 7.34 dBi at 5.75GHz. The proposed wearable antenna has a low

[5] [6] [7] [8]