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A Novel Wearable Antenna Array for 2.

45 GHz
WLAN Application

Md. Rashidul Islam Mohammod Ali*


Department of Electrical Engineering Department of Electrical Engineering
University of South Carolina University of South Carolina
Columbia, South Carolina, USA Columbia, South Carolina, USA
islammr@email.sc.edu alimo@cec.sc.edu

AbstractA three-element wearable antenna array is introduced body-worn applications are considered. Only a single port is
for operation at 2.45 GHz. Using varactor controlled parasitic required in a parasitic array as opposed to multiple ports used
elements near a driven folded dipole a scanning angular range of in a phased array. A parasitic array precludes the requirement
95 can be achieved in the azimuth plane. Simulation results of complex and costly phase shifter networks [12]. Moreover
confirm that the peak gain of the array is 6.9 dBi when it is the integration of a parasitic array in textile garments would
placed at 20 mm above the chest of a heterogeneous anatomical create less implementation issues than that of a phased array.
human body model. Almost 30% improvement in radiation
efficiency is obtained with the parasitic array compared to a We propose a 2.45 GHz parasitic array composed of a
single resonant antenna. Also the new antenna array results in driven folded dipole and two parasitic V-shaped dipoles. Most
much lower specific absorption rate (SAR) compared to a previous researchers used microsrtip patch antennas mainly
conventional resonant /2 dipole antenna. because of its high gain, low back radiation and nearly un-
altered radiation efficiency in the presence of a human
Keywords-Body-worn antenna; parasitic array; anatomical phantom. These performance parameters were achievable due
body model ; specific absorption rate (SAR) to a large ground plane present beneath the patch. In this paper
we show that a parasitic antenna array with its smaller footprint
I. INTRODUCTION is capable of providing controlled antenna gain, significantly
Antennas for body-centric communication systems have lower back radiation and higher efficiency compared to a single
recently been studied extensively because of their applications resonant dipole antenna. We use a real anatomical human body
in bio-telemetry, body area networks (BAN) and personal area model to compare the performance of the antenna in the
networks (PAN) [1]-[4]. Of interest are wearable antennas presence of a user/wearer.
designed for various communication systems for patients,
rescue workers such as paramedics and fire-fighters, sports and This paper is organized as follows. First, the antenna
entertainment, astronauts and military personnel [1], [5], [6]. geometry and design are explained. Second, HFSS [13]
simulated free space radiation patterns and VSWR performance
The development of conductive textile materials has made are described. Finally, the performance and exposure issues are
it possible to integrate antennas into clothing and thus creating studied in the presence of an anatomical body model using a
the new terminology of textile antennas. Different finite difference time domain (FDTD) simulation software
textile/wearable antennas, namely dual-polarized and circular named XFDTD [14].
polarized patches, dual band patch antenna and the same on
EBG structures have been reported recently [5], [7]-[9]. II. ANTENNA GEOMETRY
Wearable patch antennas in conventional phased and MIMO The proposed parasitic antenna array is shown in Fig. 1.
arrays have also been studied for higher antenna gain and The array consists of a driven folded dipole and two parasitic V
improved link robustness in [6] and [10] respectively. In this dipoles. The array was designed and studied for operation in
paper we propose a novel three-element parasitic antenna array free space as well as next to an anatomical body phantom. The
at 2.45 GHz for integration into textile garments. folded dipole was constructed using fat and narrow strips with
A parasitic antenna array has several distinct advantages widths 3 mm and 1 mm respectively which were chosen to
over any single antenna system and phased arrays. A single attain good impedance match at 2.45 GHz. There was a 1 mm
antenna system provides fixed gain pattern which is not feed gap that was used to excite the driven dipole.
suitable for emergency/rescue personnel who work in rich The parasitic V dipoles were made from 28 mm long and 2
fading and scattering indoor environments. A parasitic antenna mm wide strips. Each V dipole contained a 1 mm feed gap
array can provide controllable gain patterns to combat where they were tuned using variable capacitors representing
multipath fading and low signal to noise ratio (SNR). Moreover varactor diodes. Variable reactances will allow the induced
it can direct the radiation away from the user to reduce currents in the parasitic V dipoles to vary which will in turn
electromagnetic exposure [11]. The benefits of using a parasitic alter the array factor [11]. This will ensure that the array is
array over a conventional phased array are multifarious when capable of scanning the beam in space. The parasitic dipoles

978-1-4244-9561-0/11/$26.00 2011 IEEE 2754 AP-S/URSI 2011


3 mm
Driven Parasitic 7 mm
28 mm dipole#1
dipole Parasitic
dipole#2 Parasitic
45 dipole#2
59 mm Varactor Varactor 10
Feed gap Z
Diode#2 (C2) Diode#1 (C1) mm
Z Parasitic
Z Y
1 mm 10 dipole#1 X
Driven
Y mm 2 mm dipole
Y
3 mm 1 mm Human body underneath
(not shown here)
(a) (b) (c)
Figure 1: The proposed V-shaped parasitic array; (a) the driven dipole, (b) the parasitic dipoles and (c) the array in a 3D view.

are placed at a distance of 10 mm from the driven dipole as directors much like the directors of a Yagi-Uda array. For
shown in Fig. 1(c). This distance is selected to ensure higher example, when C1 is 20 pF, the two arms of parasitic dipole #1
directivity and good impedance match. are shorted while the two arms of parasitic dipole #2 are open
due to the high impedance introduced by C2= 0.1 pF. In this
No substrate material was used. However, the introduction configuration the radiation beam of the driven dipole is
of a substrate like fleece will have little effect in the overall directed towards parasitic dipole #1. As a result a beam
design since its relative permittivity, r is 1.25 and loss tangent maximum at =135is obtained. Similarly, when C1=0.1 pF
is 0 [2].
and C2= 20 pF the beam maximum moves to =-130
However, the beam maximum is at =-175when C1=C2=20
pF. Note that, the back radiation (i.e. towards =0) is
III. SIMULATION IN FREE SPACE significantly lower at this configuration.
The proposed V-shaped parasitic array was simulated in Radiation beam maximum for other capacitance
HFSS. All dipoles were modeled using perfect electrical combinations scan between -130 and 135. This scanning
conductors. Lossless varactor diodes were assumed. Free space range can be extended by creating larger separation between
radiation patterns and VSWR performances for different the driven and the parasitic dipoles along the Y-axis.
capacitive combinations of the varactor diodes are explained
below.
A. Radiation Patterns B. VSWR Performance

Figure 2: Computed free space radiation patterns of the proposed Figure 3: Computed VSWR plots of the proposed parasitic array in
parasitic array at 2.45 GHz in the XY plane (=90) for different free space.
capacitive combinations.
Computed VSWR of the proposed array are plotted in Fig.
HFSS computed normalized radiation patterns of the 3. As seen the 3:1 VSWR bandwidth does not vary greatly for
proposed array are shown in Fig. 2. These patterns are different capacitance combinations. The array satisfies 3:1
computed at 2.45 GHz. In Fig. 2, C1 and C2 represent the VSWR in the ISM band (2.4-2.4835 GHz). The input
capacitance values of varactor diodes #1 and #2 respectively. characteristics can be further improved by using wider driven
The peak gains are 7, 7.1 and 6.8 dBi respectively for the three and parasitic dipoles.
capacitive combinations. The parasitic dipoles work as

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IV. PERFORMANCE AGAINST AN ANATOMICAL corresponding free space peak gain values. Due to the presence
HUMAN BODY MODEL of the human body model the gain towards =0 is at least 20
dB lower than the peak gain toward =180.

To verify that the proposed V-shaped parasitic array works


in the presence of a human body, we simulated the radiation B. SAR and Radiation Efficiency
patterns by placing the array at a distance of 20 mm from the
The specific absorption rate (SAR) induced in the Duke
chest of an anatomical human body model. Specific absorption
body model by the parasitic array were computed. For
rate (SAR) due to the array was computed. All SAR
comparison the SAR induced by a /2 resonant strip dipole
simulations were performed using XFDTD [14].
antenna (length: 55 mm, width: 3 mm) was also computed.
The human body model was a cropped version of the These results normalized to 250 mW of power are listed in
heterogeneous Duke whole body model [15]. The cropped Table I. Since XFDTD ignores the losses due to impedance
version was used to reduce the computational load in XFDTD. mismatch when computing SAR, the values listed in Table I
A total of seventy different tissues/organs were identified in the represent the maximum possible absorption due to these
model. Dielectric properties of these tissues were collected antennas in the given scenario. As apparent, the SAR induced
from [16], [17]. by the array is well below the 20 W/kg ICNIRP limit for
occupational exposure [18]. The array induced SAR data are
Fig. 4(a) shows the human body model and a magnified much smaller than the SAR induced by the single strip dipole.
view of the proposed parasitic array. The driven folded dipole This is because the array directs EM radiation away from the
was placed at 20 mm above the chest and the V-shaped human body. The lowest SAR is achieved for C1=C2=20 pF.
parasitic dipoles were placed at 10 mm above the driven dipole. This can be explained with the help of the free space radiation
Fig. 4(b) illustrates the FDTD cells of the driven dipole and patterns shown in Fig. 2. In free space, the parasitic array has
those of the anatomical body model in the XZ plane. Fig. 4(c) the lowest back radiation when C1=C2=20 pF.
shows the FDDTD cells corresponding to the human body and
the dipoles in the XY plane. Table I: SAR induced by the proposed parasitic array and by a single /2
resonant strip dipole antenna; frequency: 2.45 GHz, input power: 250 mW.
Note that, due to the rectilinear representation of the FDTD SAR
C1=0.1pF, C1=20pF, C1=20pF, Single
cells the edges of the parasitic dipoles are curved. Because of averaging
C2=20pF C2=20pF C2=0.1pF Dipole
this the lengths of the parasitic dipoles were longer in XFDTD scheme
than they were in HFSS. Therefore, in XFDTD the lengths of Peak 1-g
the parasitic dipoles were reduced to 26 mm from 28 mm in avg. SAR 1.35 0.63 1.1 2.7
HFSS. (W/Kg)

A. Radiation Patterns Peak 10-g


avg. SAR 0.85 0.45 0.71 1.80
Computed radiation patterns of the array in the XY plane in (W/Kg)
the presence of the phantom are shown in Fig. 5. As seen, the
beam scanning capability of the array is retained when the body
model is present. However, the beam scanning range is Computed radiation efficiencies of the array in the presence
reduced. The array scans the beam maximum from -150 to of the body model were 69.5%, 78.5% and 70.3% for the three
160 for different capacitance combinations. Peak gains for the capacitance combinations. The radiation efficiency of the
three capacitance combinations are 6.9, 6.9 and 6.8 dBi single dipole was 49.9%. The highest radiation efficiency (i.e.
respectively. These values remain almost the same as the 78.5%) was obtained for C1=C2=20 pF.

Parasitic Parasitic
V dipole dipoles
Proposed
antenna Driven
array 20mm dipole
Driven
dipole

Y
Driven folded
Duke dipole X
anatomical Z Z
body model X (=00)
X
(a) Y (=900) (b) (c)
Figure 4: (a) The proposed V-shaped parasitic array and the Duke anatomical human body model, (b) FDTD cells of the human body and the
driven dipole in the XZ plane, (c) FDTD cells in the XY plane showing the relative positions of the antenna elements.

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Figure 5: Computed radiation patterns at 2.45 GHz in the XY plane
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