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3dB Branch Line Coupler

DNA. Abg Mohd Tahir (50461), IA. Noorazmi (50545), MNS. Lesan (50640) and SN. Wahab (50952)

Electrical and Electronic Department, Faculty of Engineering University Malaysia Sarawak, Kota Samarahan, Sarawak

Abstract This report discussed the analysis of S-parameters for 3db branch line coupler microstrip for frequency
ranging from 0 to 3 GHz using Perfect Electrical Conductor (PEC) and FR-4 (lossy). The design of the branch line
microstrip was completed using Computer Simulation Technology (CST) Studio Suite software. The branch-line
coupler is one of the most popular hybrids for the convenience of design and implementation. However, the
limitation of it is it only offers limited value of bandwidth and requires a large circuit are.

Figure 1 shows the branch line coupler in

microstrip form. The branch line coupler is a signal
B ranch line couplers are commonly used in divider that can separate an incoming signal into two
microwave integrated circuits (MICs) and equal power, but 90-degree phase shifted signals. It
monolithic microwave in integrated circuits (MMICs) has four ports directional couplers. It also has a high
[1]. In addition, line couplers are also called degree of symmetry, as it can be used as the input
Quadrature hybrids. The couplers are constructed in a port, with output ports always on the opposite side of
microstrip or strip line [2]. A hybrid junction is a the input port junction and the isolated port remaining
special case of a directional coupler, where the on the same side as the input port [2]. Furthermore, a
coupling factor is 3dB and the phase relation between coupled line configuration can be used instead to
the output ports is either 90° (quadrature hybrid) or achieve a higher bandwidth over a multi-section
180° (magic T or rat-race hybrid). branch line hybrid, but these are difficult to be
actualized if Microwave Monolithic Integrated Circuit
(MMIC) implementation is used since branch line
couplers offer the advantage of being realized using
slot lines in the ground plane of a microstrip circuit
All the simulation of the proposed design 3dB
branch line coupler was using CST Studio Suite
Figure 1: Microstrip Branch line Coupler [2].
software. It is specialist tool for the 3D EM Substrate thickness, h 1.2mm
simulation of high frequency components. CST has Metal conductor thickness, t 0.038mm
enables the high frequency (HF) devices such as Characteristic impedance, Zo 50 Ω
antennas, filters, couplers, planar and multi-layer 50Ω(Z0) Line Width, W50 1.55mm
structures been analysed faster and accurate. In the 35.4 Ω (Z0/√2 ) Line Width W35 2.7mm
proposed design of 3dB branch line coupler, the
material used were FR-4 (lossy and Perfect Electric Length of line width l90 20.33mm
Conductor (PEC). The frequency range used is
between 0-3 GHz and the operating frequency is

The design is done in CST software as computer-

aided design is one of the requirements for this
project. The figure below shows the design and the
The proposed design is the 3dB branch line coupler. output of the 3dB Branch-line Coupler.
The designed is in 3D as shown in Figure 2 below.
This design was created using CST STUDIO SUITE
2018 software. In addition, the measurement and
design specifications are shown in the Table 1 below.

Figure 3: Finished design of the 3dB Branch-line


Figure 2: 3D design of the Branch line coupler

In this design, the material is used are PEC and FR-

4 Lossy. The operating frequency is at 1.5 GHz

Table 1: Design specification

Figure 4: Front view of the design
Parameters or Features Value or type
Operating frequency 1.694 GHz
The result for the simulation of 3dB Branch Line
Insertion loss 3 dB
Coupler is shown in the Fig 5, 6, 7, and 8.
Fabrication technology Microstrip
Relative permittivity 4.3

port and has the value of 3.0828 db. Lastly, the green
curve S41 indicate the isolation parameter port and
has the value of 3.2401 db.

Figure 5: The results of line impedance for each port

Figure 5 shows the result of impedance for every port.

As shown in the graph, the value of impedance for
every port is 50 Ω. It shows the simulation results of
Figure 7: S-parameter phase in degrees versus
the 3dB coupler scattering parameters. The result has
good simulated coupler performance and a good
matching input impedance less -10dB in the frequency
band [1.67GHz,1.99 GHz], with an insertion loss
around -3dB. The signal falls below -10dB starting at
1.5Ghz. When the return loss is lower than -10dB, it
allows good impedance matching thus good

Figure 8: S-parameter phase in degrees versus


The phase difference between the coupler output

ports is shown in figure 8. At a resonance frequency
of 1.694 GHz the phase difference is 85 °. This value
is acceptable to all receivers as the error of ± 5 ° is
negligible and indicates a good transmission

Figure 6: S-parameters (S11, S21, S31 and S41) of the

3dB Branch-line Coupler

Figure 6 above shows the value of S-parameters for

each port. The red curve S11 indicate the return loss
port and has the value of 20.397 db. The yellow curve
S21 indicate the insertion loss port and has the value
of 29.676 db. The blue curve S31 indicate the coupled

This paper outlined the basic operation of the 3dB

branch-line coupler. CST software have been used to
create the simulation of this project. A common
design of the branch-line coupler has been created to
be simulated and the result are obtained. The results
are almost similar when compared to other simulation

Figure 9: The graph of port signal that have been done before. This means that the
simulation was a success and the project is completed.
Figure 9 shows the graph of port signal in each port in
term of time.

The material that was used were FR-4 as the

dielectric substrate and Perfect Electric Conductor
(PEC) as the microstrip conductor. FR-4 means
flame/fire retardant fiber glass epoxy. FR4 epoxy
glass substrates are the material of choice for most
PCB applications [3]. The material is of low cost and
has excellent mechanical properties, making it ideal
for a wide range of electronic equipment. The
material performs best at low frequency under 1 G Hz
but it can still perform well up to 3Ghz which makes
it the best material for this project. The data sheet of
the material is available in the appendix.

PEC was used as the microstrip conductor. Perfect

electric conductor (PEC) is an idealized material
exhibiting infinite electrical conductivity or,
equivalently, zero resistivity [4]. No data sheet is
available for PEC as it does not exist in nature but for
the sake of the simulation, using PEC gives the best FIGURE 10: DATASHEET FR4
result without any loss because the electrical
resistance is negligible. REFERENCES

[1] K. O. Sun, S. J. Ho, C. C. Yen, and D. Van Der

Weide, “A compact branch-line coupler using
discontinuous microstrip lines,” IEEE Microw.

Wirel. Components Lett., vol. 15, no. 8, pp. 519–

520, 2005.
[2] G. Tegh and N. Delhi, “Analysis of Microstrip
Branchline Coupler using Sonnetlite,” vol. 7109,
pp. 246–249, 2012.
[3] Lasky, R. (2018). What Does FR-4 Mean? | Dr.
Ron Lasky | Indium Corporation Blogs | Indium
Corporation. [online] Available at:
mean.php [Accessed 9 Dec. 2018].
[4] F. S. Henyey, “Distinction between a Perfect
Conductor and a Superconductor”, Phys. Rev.
Lett. vol. 49, pp. 416, 1982.