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IET Microwaves, Antennas & Propagation

Research Article

ISSN 1751-8725
Frequency reconfigurable antenna for hand- Received on 20th March 2015
Revised on 1st May 2015
held wireless devices Accepted on 14th May 2015
doi: 10.1049/iet-map.2015.0199

Benazeer Bhellar , Farooq A. Tahir

School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (SEECS), National University of Sciences and Technology, Islamabad, Pakistan

Abstract: In this communication, a balanced frequency-reconfigurable antenna for nine-band operation covering GSM
850/900/1800/1900/UMTS2100/LTE700/2300/2500 /WLAN2400 bands for multiradio mobile platforms is presented. The
antenna consists of simple planar geometry with size of 60 15 mm 2 that is quite practical for implementation on
current consumer-type multiradio mobile platforms. The design comprises of a feeding strip and an
electromagnetically coupled parasitic shorted strip whose effective length is electronically controlled through a single
PIN diode. By combining both ON and OFF states of the PIN diode, four resonance modes are achieved covering nine
bands of LTE/WWAN/WLAN operation. The proposed antenna is successfully simulated, fabricated and measured. It
has excellent radiation efficiency and positive gains over all nine bands of operation.

1 Introduction developed and demonstrated [914]. The sizes and the covered
LTE bands of these antennas are summarised in Table 1.
Current research is extensively being focused on developing such Most of these antennas have complex three-dimensional (3D)
mobile and internet devices that can address several wireless geometries making them not much attractive for modern smart
services scattered over a wide frequency range. These services phones. Moreover, most of the proposed designs do not cover the
operate at different frequency bands such as GSM, UMTS, LTE, most useful nine-band operation of existing wireless
WLAN, WiMax, Bluetooth, GPS and many other wireless communication systems (ve WWAN bands: GSM850/900/1800/
standards. Antenna being the most critical part of wireless 1900/UMTS, three LTE bands: LTE700/2300/2500 and one
communication systems must be designed and deployed efciently WLAN band 24002484 MHz).
so that it could effectively utilise the available frequency resources A compact hepta band loop antenna with volume of 60 5
ensuring uninterrupted concurrent multiple services to the users. In 5 mm3 is proposed in [9]. This loop antenna is recongured using
this perspective, we have three antenna methodologies: individual two PIN diodes. The antenna described in [10] has volume of
antennas, multiband antennas and frequency recongurable 45 11 6 mm3; by employing two PIN diodes it covers only
antennas. Application of these three antenna approaches on a quad-band operation. Both of these antennas have complex 3D
wireless platform have their own merits and demerits [1, 2]. structure; however, the main complexity comes from their
One-on-one single-band antenna implementation for each wireless increased number of PIN diodes and associated biasing networks.
service provides better performance but at the cost of increased More number of PIN diodes will increase the insertion loss,
complexity and large space requirement to accommodate multiple complicate the biasing circuitry and degrade the overall
wireless services at a time. Coupling is also a major issue due to performance of the systems. The loop inverted F antenna
little spacing between individual antennas. Multiband antennas [3 described in [11] has volume of 60 5 5 mm3, it operates in
8], on the other hand, are excellent to address these challenges while hepta-band including GSM850/900/1800/1900, GPS/UMTS and
providing multiple services with a single antenna simultaneously. WLAN. Having 3D structure, the obtained bandwidth by this loop
However, they possess comparatively wide bands causing difculty inverted F antenna cannot cover very critical LTE bands of
to achieve the desired antenna miniaturisation. They also exhibit LTE700/LTE2500.
poor isolation between different operating bands due to which the A tunable inverted-L antenna with split ring resonator containing
chances of jamming or unavailability of a wireless service are planar geometry of size 50 10 mm2 is proposed in [12]. It is a
increased [1, 2]. Moreover, due to comparatively more space quad-band antenna thus cannot cover mostly used GSM1800/
requirements both single and multiband antennas are severely GSM1900/UMTS2100 cellular frequency bands. A recongurable
handicapped when implementing them for space diversity or MIMO narrow frame antenna with compact volume of 35 5 5 mm3 is
applications [1, 2]. In recent literature, different congurations of presented in [13]. To achieve hepta-band operation, this antenna
multiband antennas are proposed with reduced size however most of makes a coupling bridge between two 3D multiband antennas
them have volumetric complex geometry with limited band presented in [5, 6]. The structure of this antenna is relatively
coverage [38]. Frequency-recongurable antennas, in contrast, complex, consisting of many strips and branch lines including
have great potential to address most of the challenges coming in SMT components to achieve the desired impedance matching to
single and multiband antennas. They need comparatively less space cover seven bands. Moreover, the obtained bandwidth by this
to operate on multiple wireless standards with high out-of-band narrow-frame antenna cannot cover an important LTE700 band of
rejection. They are also more effective for space diversity and LTE operation. Another recently published recongurable antenna
MIMO implementation. To avoid additional insertion losses is presented in [14]. This antenna is compact in size and planar in
introduced by RF-switches in recongurable antennas, the number geometry (35.5 13.5 mm2), and it covers eight bands of WWAN
of the required switches is generally kept minimised. and LTE. The major limitation of this design is the application of
During last few years, frequency recongurable antennas have large number of SMT components to achieve the resonances at the
become a hot topic of research in wireless communication. A desired bands. The use of SMT components increases structure
variety of frequency recongurable antennas has been successfully complexity and overall antenna fabrication cost. Moreover, they

IET Microw. Antennas Propag., 2015, Vol. 9, Iss. 13, pp. 14121417
1412 & The Institution of Engineering and Technology 2015
Table 1 Comparison table of reference antennas of 60 15 mm2. The antenna operates almost at the same principle as
that of [3]; however the proposed design is extended and modied to
Ref. Size Bands, MHz Reconfigurability cost
no a recongurable design. Consequently, this design has much better
out-of-band rejection, radiation efciency, reection efciency and
[9] 60 5 5 mm3 824960/15202560 two PIN diodes gain. The planar geometry of the antenna makes it nd applications in
[10] 45 11 6 mm3 880960/17102170 two PIN diodes thin-prole smart phones for its zero thickness above the system
[11] 60 5 5 mm3 824960/15002560 PIN diode circuit board. The antenna bandwidth combining both ON and OFF
[12] 50 10 mm2 698960/25002690 Varactor diode and
a capacitor
states covers overall nine bands including GSM 850/900/1800/1900/
[13] 35 5 5 mm3 824960/17102690 PIN diode and UMTS2100/LTE700/2300/2500 and one WLAN 2400 band.
inductor Furthermore, nine-band coverage is achieved with a relatively
[14] 13.5 13.5 mm 698960/17102690 PIN diode, capacitor compact and simple planar geometry applying a single PIN diode
and inductor
control placed near the system ground to avoid further complexity in
the biasing circuitry; no external matching networks, tuning pads,
matching bridges, embedded chip inductors or additional SMT
introduce some undesired loss in the input power of the antenna. components are used.
Though the use of RF chokes match the antenna input impedance The rest of this paper is organised as follows. In Section 2, antenna
over a wide frequency range yet they are too bulky to be design and conguration is described. Section 3 presents the
integrated into compact antenna structures. operating principle. Section 4 explains the parametric analysis of
The conclusion of the above discussion is that there is usually a the proposed antenna. In Section 5, simulated and measured
critical trade-off between the antenna bandwidth/antenna efciency results are discussed. Section 6 concludes the paper.
and reduction in the antenna size. In both passive and
recongurable antennas [114], either we have to keep our
antenna geometry simple with relatively increased size or we have 2 Antenna design
to make it relatively complex with reduced size to achieve the
maximum bandwidth coverage. Fig. 1 shows the geometry of the proposed antenna. It has a
In this communication, the authors present a frequency- simple uniplanar structure with dimensions of 60 15 mm2. The
recongurable antenna consisting of simple planar geometry with size design comprises of a feeding strip and a coupled parasitic shorted

Fig. 1 Geometry of the proposed antenna

a 3D view
b Detailed dimensions in planar view (units: mm)

Fig. 2 Comprehensive comparison of reection coefcient

a Comparison of the simulated reection coefcient for reference and proposed antenna in OFF and ON state
b Reference antenna

IET Microw. Antennas Propag., 2015, Vol. 9, Iss. 13, pp. 14121417
& The Institution of Engineering and Technology 2015 1413
Fig. 3 Comparison of input impedance for
a Reference and proposed antennas in OFF state
b Reference and proposed antennas in ON state

strip connected to an electronically tunable T-shaped strip. LTE2300/ LTE2500/WLAN with reection coefcient of 8 dB
Recongurability is achieved by varying the length of the parasitic (PIN diode OFF-case, see Section 3 for detail). Furthermore, the
shorted strip using only one PIN diode with simple bias circuitry. parasitic shorted strip is connected to an electronically tunable
The main board is made up of FR4 substrate (r = 4.4, tan = 0.02), T-shaped strip through a single PIN diode increasing the resonant
with thickness of 0.8 mm. On the back side of the main board, a length of the shorted strip. Consequently, the lower band is shifted
ground plane of 105 60 mm2 is printed to serve as system ground to 690800 MHz and upper band is shifted to 17002300 MHz to
of the mobile phone. Both elements of the proposed antenna are cover LTE700/DCS/PCS/UMTS frequency bands with reection
fabricated near the substrate boundary to achieve a compact structure. coefcient of 6 dB (PIN diode ON-case, see Section 3 for
The feeding strip is connected to a 50 microstrip line arranged detail). With the help of T shaped strip, additional four bands are
on the front side of main board. The shorted strip is connected to the covered maintaining the same antenna size.
system ground plane through a via-hole in the main board. There is a
coupling gap of 0.5 mm between the feeding strip and the shorted
strip. The position of the PIN diode is illustrated in Fig. 1b. The 3 Operating principle
shorted strip with extended length than the feeding strip acts as a
second radiator and generates its own resonance modes [3, 6, 7]. To understand the operating principle of the antenna, Figs. 2 and 3
The feeding strip has a length of about 83 mm (close to a present a comprehensive comparison of reection coefcient and
quarter-wavelength at 950 MHz), thus generating the lowest input impedance respectively. A comparative analysis is given for
resonant mode at about 950 MHz and two higher-order resonant three congurations: the proposed antenna in OFF-state (PIN
modes at about 2300 and 2615 MHz. However, the bandwidth of diode is OFF), the proposed antenna in ON-state (PIN diode is
these modes cannot cover the desired frequency bands. By adding ON) and the case with only feeding strip named as Reference.
a closely coupled shorted strip of length comparable with the The reference antenna is depicted in Fig. 2b for ready reference.
length of the feeding strip, the three resonant modes at about 850, As it is clear from S11 results depicted in Fig. 2 that for the
2200 and 2950 MHz are capacitively excited. As a result, a wide Reference case, the lowest resonant mode is centred at about
lower band (810990 MHz) and a wide upper band (21002710 1000 MHz and two higher-order resonant modes at about 2300
MHz) are formed to cover frequency bands of GSM850/GSM900/ and 3160 MHz. By adding a simple shorted strip to the feeding

Fig. 4 Surface current distribution of the proposed antenna at resonant frequencies

a ON state
b OFF state

IET Microw. Antennas Propag., 2015, Vol. 9, Iss. 13, pp. 14121417
1414 & The Institution of Engineering and Technology 2015
(Reference case) are shifted down by adding the shorted strip.
Note that the mode at about 2620 MHz in OFF-state case is
related to the one at about 3160 MHz of the Reference case with
no shorted strip. Now let us come again towards the Fig. 2
reection coefcient results for the proposed antenna in ON-state
The PIN diode in ON state adds a T-shaped strip to the shorted
strip extending the resonant length of the shorted strip. As a result,
the three resonant modes of the shorted strip at about 740, 1710
and 2720 MHz and only one resonant mode of the feeding strip at
about 2200 MHz are excited with good impedance matching. A
lower band is formed by only one resonant mode of the shorted
strip at 740 MHz for 698787 MHz operation. A wide upper band
of 17102170 MHz is formed together by the resonant mode of
the feeding strip at 2200 MHz and the resonant mode of the
Fig. 5 Simulated reection coefcient of the proposed antenna with shorted strip at about 1740 MHz. The reection coefcient for
different lengths of L1 these two bands is 6 dB. The effects of the T-shaped strip can be
further understood from the simulated impedance curves shown in
Fig. 3b. For the proposed antenna in ON state, the zero input
reactance and 50 resistance occurs at 740, 1710 and 2200 MHz
(also at 2720 MHz but with very narrow band). The rst and third
resonance modes of the feeding strip are also shifted to lower
frequencies at 850 and 2570 MHz, however, large reactance and
resistance values can be seen in Fig. 3b at these frequencies.
Surface current distribution at resonant frequencies is shown in
Fig. 4. From the surface current distribution in OFF-state, it can
be observed that the resonant modes at about 925 and 2250 MHz
are mainly contributed by both strips. At 2620 MHz band, strong
surface currents are excited mainly on the feeding strip which
conrms that only feeding strip radiates at this band. However,
due to strong coupling at higher frequencies, relatively small
surface currents are also observed on the shorted strip at this
band. Moreover, the surface currents show no current null on both
strips at 925 MHz, at 2250 MHz there is one current null on both
strips and at 2620 MHz there are two current nulls on the feeding
strip, this proves that 925 MHz is rst resonant mode, 2250 MHz
Fig. 6 Simulated reection coefcient of the proposed antenna at different
is second resonant mode of both strips and 2620 MHz is third
positions P of L2
resonant mode of the feeding strip. Similarly, in ON-state case,
strong surface currents are observed on the shorted strip at about
740 and 1710 MHz and on the feeding strip at about 2140 MHz,
strip (the proposed antenna in OFF-state), additional resonant modes which prove that the resonant modes at 740 and 1710 MHz are
at about 850, 2200 and 2950 MHz are excited. The resonant modes contributed by only shorted strip and 2140 MHz is contributed by
of both strips together form a wide lower band and a wide upper band only feeding strip. Note that the surface current at 740 MHz
for 824960 MHz and 23002690 MHz operation respectively with shows no current null on the shorted strip, at 1710 MHz it shows
reection coefcient of 8 dB. If we see input impedance results in one current null on the shorted strip and at 2140 MHz it
Fig. 3a, it is more clear that there are three resonances in OFF-state shows one current null on the feeding strip, which conrms that
case at about 925, 2250 and 2620 MHz with nearly zero reactance 740 and 1710 MHz are rst and second resonant modes of the
making input resistance close to 50 . The results also show that shorted strip and 2140 MHz is the second resonant mode of the
the resonant modes generated by only the feeding strip feeding strip.

Fig. 7 Fabricated prototype with single PIN diode and the simulated and measured reection coefcients
a Snapshot of the fabricated prototype of proposed antenna
b Measured and simulated reection coefcient

IET Microw. Antennas Propag., 2015, Vol. 9, Iss. 13, pp. 14121417
& The Institution of Engineering and Technology 2015 1415
Table 2 Proposed antenna: measured S11 for all nine frequency bands increased length L1 leads to degraded impedance matching for
the rst and third resonant modes (at 850 and 2570 MHz) of the
No Bands BW, MHz Measured S11, dB
feeding strip. This reects that length of the T-shaped strip not
1 LTE700 698787 6.00
only controls the resonances of the shorted strip but also controls
2 GSM850 824894 9.50 the impedance matching of the feeding strips resonant modes.
3 GSM900 880960 10.5 The best optimised value of the parameter L1 that is used in the
4 DCS 17101880 6.00 proposed design is 12.5 mm.
5 PCS 18501990 9.60
6 UMTS 19202170 10.5
Fig. 6 shows the effects of the parameter P (the position of L2,
7 WLAN 24002480 13.0 shown in Fig. 1) of the T-shaped strip. Simulated S11 results for P
8 LTE2300 23052400 18.0 varied from 1.7 to 9.7 mm are shown. The decreased length P shifts
9 LTE2500 25002690 8.00 the resonant modes of the shorted strip (at 740 and 2720 MHz)
towards higher frequencies while increased length severely
degrades the impedance matching at all bands. The optimum value
of the parameter P that is used in the proposed design is 5.7 mm.

5 Experimental results
The proposed antenna is successfully fabricated and tested. Fig. 7a
shows the fabricated prototype with single PIN diode. The
simulated and measured reection coefcients are presented in
Fig. 7b. The simulated results are obtained using CST Microwave
Studio ver. 2010 and the measured results are tested by using
Agilent E8362B vector network analyser. The simulation and
Fig. 8 Diagram of the biasing circuit of PIN diode measurement results are with good agreement for both OFF and
ON states.
For OFF-state, the obtained measured bands are 810990 MHz
4 Parametric analysis and 21002710 MHz with reection coefcient of 8 dB,
covering the GSM850, GSM900, LTE2300, LTE2500 and
Fig. 5 shows the effects of varying L1 parameter in the T-shaped WLAN.A very important point to be noted here is that except
strip in ON-state case. Results of the simulated reection LET2500 band, all other bands have much better impedance
coefcient for L1 varied from 8.5 to 12.5 mm are shown. With the matching than 8 dB criteria as depicted in Table 2. For ON-state,
increased length L1, the resonant modes (at 740 and 2720 MHz) the achieved bands are 690800 MHz and 17002300 MHz with
of the shorted strip are slightly shifted towards the lower reection coefcient of 6 dB, covering the LTE700, DCS, PCS
frequencies and the impedance matching of the second resonant and UMTS. The same point comes here, except LTE700 and DCS
mode (at 1710 MHz) is relatively improved. However, the bands, all other bands have much better impedance matching (see

Fig. 9 Simulated and measured two-dimensional radiation patterns at

a 740 MHz of ON state
b 900 MHz of OFF state
c 1710 MHz of ON state
d 2100 MHz of ON state
e 2300 of OFF state
f 2670 of OFF state for the proposed antenna
( Simulated Ej, Simulated E, Measured Ej, Measured E; unit: dB)

IET Microw. Antennas Propag., 2015, Vol. 9, Iss. 13, pp. 14121417
1416 & The Institution of Engineering and Technology 2015
Fig. 10 Measured antenna gain ( ), Simulated antenna gain ( ), measured radiation efciency ( ) and simulated radiation efciency
( )
a ON state
b OFF state

Table 2). It is always a good practice to allow the bandwidth of the achieved. The measured results show that reection coefcient,
antenna to operate below the 10 dB return-loss threshold. In the antenna gain, and radiation efciency of the proposed antenna are
proposed design, most of the bands are covered with 10 dB better than the previous designs. In the proposed design, most of
reection coefcient as shown in Table 2. By combining two the bands are covered with 10 dB reection coefcient or less
working states of the PIN diode, the proposed antenna is than that. This is quite desirable specically in adverse impedance
successfully tuned over nine frequency bands. changing environments. Moreover it makes the receiver specs
The selected PIN diode is Skyworks SMP1345-079LF, with low more relaxed as compared with 6 dB reection coefcient criteria
capacitance and good performance up to 6 GHz [15]. When the
PIN diode is forward-biased, it works as a series resistor with 1.5
, while in reverse-biased it is equivalent to a series capacitor of
approximately 0.15 pF. The detailed diagram of the bias circuit of
PIN diode is given in Fig. 8. Note that the feeding path of the 7 References
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IET Microw. Antennas Propag., 2015, Vol. 9, Iss. 13, pp. 14121417
& The Institution of Engineering and Technology 2015 1417