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5/7/2014 em: talk - HFSS Tutorial 1: Microstrip Patch Antenna

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The microstrip patch antenna is a popular printed resonant antenna for narrow-band microwave wireless links
that require semi-hemispherical coverage. Due to its planar configuration and ease of integration with microstrip
technology, the microstrip patch antenna has been heavily studied and is often used as elements for an array.
In this tutorial, a 2.4 GHz microstrip patch antenna fed by a microstrip line on a 2.2 permittivity substrate is
studied. The following topics are covered:
Model Setup
Waveport Feed
Airbox and Boundary Conditions
Meshing
Analysis/Sweep Setup
Plotting Results
*Experimental Results and Photos of the Fabricated Antenna are here.
Model Setup
First the model of the microstrip patch antenna has to be drawn in HFSS. It consists of rectangular substrate
and the metal trace layer as shown in Fig. 1. Note that a quarter-wave length transformer was used to match
the patch to a 50 Ohm feed line. The dimensions of antenna can be found in the HFSS simulation file.

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HFSS Tut or i al 1
Mi c r os t r i p P a t c h An t en n a
HFSSv10 (download simulation file)
Antenna Tutorial Em Simulation HFSS Patch Antenna
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Figure 1. Patch antenna layout showing substrate and patch trace.
Waveport Setup
In order to excite the structure an excitation source has to be chosen. For this simulation a waveport will be
used. The waveport will excite the first mode of the microstrip line (quasi-TEM) and then HFSS will use this field
to excite the entire structure. In order to get an accurate result, the waveport has to be defined properly; if it is
too small the field will be truncated (characteristic impedance will be incorrectly calculated) and if it is too large a
waveguide mode may appear. Please refer to the tutorial on defining a waveport for further information. Since the
substrate height is 1.57 mm and the feed line width is 4.84 mm, the waveport size chosen is 5 mm high by 50 mm
wide. After the waveport rectangle is drawn, the WAVEPORT excitation was assigned to it. In the Analysis
section of this tutorial, it will be shown that this waveport size accurately models the desired microstrip mode.
Airbox and Boundary
Conditions
An airbox has to be defined in to model open space so that the radiation from the structure is absorbed and not
reflected back. The airbox should be a quarter-wavelength long of the frequency of interest in the direction of
the radiated field. In the directions where the radiation is minimal, this quarter-wavelength condition does not
have to be met and an air space may not even have to be defined. Since the radiation of a patch antenna is
concentrated at broadside, a rectangular box enclosing the structure is only needed; the height of the airbox is
31.25 mm (quarter-wave at 2.4 GHz). The antenna with airbox and waveport setup is shown in Fig. 2.


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Figure 2. Patch antenna layout showing airbox and waveport.
Next, the 4 side faces and the top face of the airbox were selected (Press F to select faces and O to select
objects) and RADIATION boundary was applied. Then the bottom face and the patch antenna trace were
selected and a FINITE CONDUCTIVITY boundary using Copper was assigned.
Meshing
Manually meshing should be performed on the airbox to get accurate results for the antenna properties such as
efficiency, directivity, and radiation pattern. One should seed the airbox lambda/10. For this structure the initial
mesh length for the airbox was set to 12.5 mm (lambda/10 at 2.4 GHz). Fig. 3 shows the mesh property window.

Figure 3. Mesh setup window.
Analysis/Sweep Setup
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Analysis/Sweep Setup
A Solution Setup is added to the analysis of the simulation with the following:
Solution Frequency: 2.4 GHz
Maximum # of Passes: 15
Maximum Delta S: 0.02
In addition, in the Options tab of the Solution Setup, the Minimum Converged Passes was changed to 3. Since a
Fast Sweep from 1 GHz to 5 GHz (401 points) will be chosen, the solution frequency should line within the
frequency sweep range and around the passband (i.e, around 2.4 GHz). In addition, the field data is saved for
each frequency point in the sweep; field data needs to be saved in order to do any field post-processing.
Before running the simulation, an additional Solution Setup was added with Solve Ports Only to verify the
waveport setup. This Port Only Setup was run and the resulting port mode is shown in Fig. 4; a characteristic
impedance of 50.7 Ohms was obtained.

Figure 4. Port mode showing electric-field.
Plotting Results
The resulting return loss of the structure is shown in Fig. 5.

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Figure 5. Return loss of antenna from 1 GHz to 5 GHz.
From Fig. 5, the fundamental resonance of the antenna occurs at 2.36 GHz with a return loss of -29.43 dB. Next,
the top face of the substrate was selected and the Electric Field Vector was plotted for 2.36 GHz. The field plot
is shown in Fig. 6 and shows the expected half-wavelength field distribution.

Figure 6. E-field distribution on antenna at 2.36 GHz.
To plot the far-field patterns of the antenna, a far-field setup has to be created. Two will created; one for the
E- and H-Plane two-dimensional patterns and another for the three-dimensional pattern. To create each far-field
setup go to HFSS>Radiation>Insert Far-Field Setup>Infinite Sphere. For the two-dimensional pattern, the default
values have to be changed; Phi should start at 0 deg and stop at 90 deg with a 90 deg step size. For the three-
dimensional pattern, the default values can be used. Fig. 7 shows the two-dimensional patterns and Fig. 8 shows
the three-dimensional patterns. To obtain the radiation efficiency, peak gain, etc. go to
HFSS>Radiation>Compute Antenna/Max Param and choose 2.36 GHz as the frequency of interest.

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Figure 7. E-plane (blue) and H-plane (red) far-field patterns.

Figure 8. Three-dimensional far-field patterns.

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