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Chapter 14

MICROSTRIP ANTENNA

AAST Prof. Darwish 1


INTRODUCTION
The concept of microstrip antennas was first
proposed by Deschamps as early as 1953. The first
practical antennas were developed in the early
1970s by Howell and Munson.
Since then, extensive research and development of
microstrip antennas and arrays, exploiting the
numerous advantages have led to diversified
applications and to the establishment of the topic as
a separate entity within the broad field of microwave
antennas.

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INTRODUCTION
Various types of flat profile printed antennas have
been developed - the microstrip antenna, the
stripline slot antenna, the cavity backed printed
antenna and the printed dipole

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DEFINITION OF A MICROSTRIP ANTENNA
A microstrip antenna in its simplest configuration
consists of a radiating patch on one side od a
dielectric substrate ( ), which has a ground
plane on the other side.
The patch conductors, normally of copper and
gold, can assume virtually any shape, but
conventional shapes are generally used to simplify
analysis and performance prediction.
Ideally, the dielectric constant of the substrate
should be low ( ), so as to enhance the fringe
fields which account for the radiation.
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DEFINITION OF A MICROSTRIP ANTENNA
However, other performance requirements may
dictate the use of substrate materials whose
dielectric constants may be greater than, say, 5.
Various types of substrates having a large range
of dielectric constants and loss tangents have been
developed.
Flexible substrates are also available which make
it possible to fabricate simple conformale
wraparound antennas.

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DEFINITION OF A MICROSTRIP ANTENNA

Microstrip Antenna Configuration

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ADVANTAGES OF MICROSTRIP ANTENNAS
Microstrip antennas have several advantages
compared to conventional microwave antennas and
therefore many applications over the broad
frequency range from .
Some of the principal advantages of microstrip
antennas compared to conventional microwave
antennas are:
Light weight, low volume, low profile planar
configurations which can be made conformal.
Low fabrication cost; readly readly amenable to
mass production.
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ADVANTAGES OF MICROSTRIP ANTENNAS
Can be made thin; hence, they do not perturb the
aerodynamics of host aerospace vehicles.
The antennas may be easily mounted on missiles,
rockets, ant satellites without major alterations.
The antennas have low scattering cross section.
Linear, circular (left or right hand) polarizations are
possible with simple changes in feed position.
Dual frequency antennas easily made.
No cavity backing required.

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ADVANTAGES OF MICROSTRIP ANTENNAS
Microstrip antennas are compatible with modular
designs (solid state devices such as oscillators,
amplifiers, variable attenuators, switches,
modulators, mixers, phase shifters, etc., can be
added directly to the antenna substrate board).
Feed lines and matching networks are fabricated
simultaneously with the antenna structure.

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DISADVANTAGES OF MICROSTRIP ANTENNAS
However, microstrip antennas also have some
disadvantages compared to conventional micowave
antennas including:
Narrow bandwidth.
Loss, hence somewhat lower gain.
Most microstrio antennas radiate into an half plane.
Practical limitations on the maximum gain.
Poor endfire radiation performance.
Poor isolation between the feed and the radiating
elements.

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DISADVANTAGES OF MICROSTRIP ANTENNAS
Possibility of excitation of surface wave.
Lower power handling capability
However, there are ways of substantially
diminishing the effect of some of these
disadvantages.

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APPLICATIONS OF MICROSTRIP ANTENNAS
For many practical designs, the advantages of
microstrip antennas far outweigh their disadvantages.
With continuing research and development and
increased usage of microstrip antennas it is expected
that they will ultimately replace conventional
antennas for most applications. Some notable system
applications for which microstrip antennas have been
developed include:
Satellite communication.
Doppler and other radars.

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APPLICATIONS OF MICROSTRIP ANTENNAS
Radio meter.
Command and control.
Missile telemetry.
Weapon fuming.
Man pack equipment.
Environmental instrumentation and remote sensing.
Feed elements in complex antennas.
Satellite navigation receiver.
Biomedical radiator.

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VARIOUS MICROSTRIP ANTENNA CONFIGURATIONS
Microstrip antennas are characterized by more
physical parameters than are conventional microwave
antennas. They may be of any geometrical shape and
any dimension.
However, all microstrip antennas can be divided into
four basic categories:
Microstrip patch antennas.
Microstrip dipole
Microstrip travelling wave antennas.
Microstrip slot antennas.

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MICROSTRIP PATCH ANTENNAS
Often microstrip antennas (MPA) are referred to as
patch antennas
A microstrip patch antenna consists of a conducting
patch of any planar geometry on one side of a
dielectric substrate backed by a ground plane on the
other side.
There are virtually an unlimited number of patch
patterns for which radiation characteristics may be
calculated.

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MICROSTRIP PATCH ANTENNAS
The radiating patch may be square, rectangular, thin
strip (dipole), circular, elliptical, triangular or other
configuration.
Various configurations are shown in the following
figure.
square, rectangular, thin strip (dipole), and circular
are the most common because of ease of analysis and
fabrication, and their attractive radiation
characteristics, especially low cross- polarization
radiation.

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MICROSTRIP PATCH ANTENNAS
Microstrip dipoles are attractive because they
inherently possess a large bandwidth and occupy less
space, which makes them attractive for arrays.

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Disk

MICROSTRIP PATCH ANTENNAS

Various microstrip patch antenna configurations

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MICROSTRIP OR PRINTED DIPOLE ANTENNAS
Microstrip or printed dipoles differ geometrically from
rectangular patch antennas in their length-to-width
ratio. The width of a dipole is typically less than
The radiation patterns of the dipole and patch are
similar owing similar longitudinal current distributions.
However, the radiation resistance, bandwidth, and
cross-polar radiation differ widely.
Microstip dipoles, shown in the following figures are
attractive elements owing to their desirable properties
such as small size and linear polarization.

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MICROSTRIP OR PRINTED DIPOLE ANTENNAS
The dipoles are well suited for higher frequencies for
which the substrate can be electrically thick, and
therefore can attain significant bandwidth.
The choice of feed mechanism is very important in the
microstrip dipoles and should be included in the
analysis.

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MICROSTRIP OR PRINTED DIPOLE ANTENNAS

(b)
(a)
Configurations of some microstrip and printed dipoles
(a) Proximity-coupled strip dipole
(b)Double-sided strip dipole and feed line

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MICROSTRIP TRAVELLING-WAVE ANTENNAS
A microstrip travellingwave antenna (MTA)
consists of a chain-shaped periodic conductors or an
ordinary long TEM line which also supports a TE mode,
on a substrate backed by a ground plane.
The open end of the TEM line is terminated in a
matched resistive load.
Various configurations for MTA are shown in the
following figure.

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MICROSTRIP TRAVELLING-WAVE ANTENNAS

Some of the printed microstrip travelling-wave antenna configurations

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MICROSTRIP SLOT ANTENNAS
Microstrip slot antenna MSA comprise a slot in the
ground plane fed by a microstrip line.
The slot may have the shape of a rectangle (narrow
or wide), or a circle.
Various configurations for MSA are shown in the
following figure.

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MICROSTRIP SLOT ANTENNAS

Annular slot with microstrip feed Tapered slot

Basic printed slot antenna shapes with feed strucures

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EFFECT OF DIELECTRIC CONSTANT AND THICKNESS
OF SUBSTRATE
In designing of a Microstrip patch antenna MPA for
mobile communications, two important factors must
be taken into consideration.
BANDWIDTH
Generally microstrip patch antennas have a narrow
bandwidth, so it is required to widen the bandwidth to
cover the up link and the down link frequencies for
mobile communications.

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EFFECT OF DIELECTRIC CONSTANT AND THICKNESS
OF SUBSTRATE
Bandwidth depends on the thickness of the substrate
h, where increasing of the thickness causes an
increasing in bandwidth, but unfortunately two bad
effects appear due to the increase in the thickness h
which are:
- Patch antenna will lose the advantage of conformal
shape.
- The appearance of the surface wave, which will
decrease the surface wave efficiency of the patch
antenna.

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EFFECT OF DIELECTRIC CONSTANT AND THICKNESS
OF SUBSTRATE
PATCHS DIMENSION
The other factor is the size of the patch antenna,
which must be reduced to be suitable for the mobile
phone.
-A common technique to reduce the dimension is to
increase the dielectric constant of the substrate ,
where
-

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EFFECT OF DIELECTRIC CONSTANT AND THICKNESS
OF SUBSTRATE
-Increasing will cause a decreasing in the electric
field in the dielectric substrate that generates the
radiated electric field, so the surface wave efficiency
will be decreased due to the decreasing of the
radiated power.
So, the available maximum value of will be
taken in the design to get minimum size and the
maximum corresponding thickness h to get wider
bandwidth.

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EFFECT OF DIELECTRIC CONSTANT AND THICKNESS
OF SUBSTRATE
There are numerous substrates that can be used for
the design of microstrip antennas, and their dielectric
constants are usually in the range of The ones that
are most desirable for antenna performance are thick
substrates whose dielectric constant is in the lower
end of the range because they provide better
efficiency, larger bandwidth, loosely bound fields for
radiation into space, but at the expense of larger
element size.

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EFFECT OF DIELECTRIC CONSTANT AND THICKNESS
OF SUBSTRATE
Thin substrates with higher dielectric constants are
desirable for microwave circuitry because they
require tightly bound fields to minimize undesired
radiation and coupling, and lead to smaller element
sizes; however, because of their greater losses, they
are less efficient and less efficient and have relatively
smaller bandwidths. Since microstrip antennas are
often integrated with other microwave circuitry, a
compromise has to be reached between good antenna
performance and circuit design.

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EXCITATION TECHNIQUES
There are many configurations that can be used to
feed microstrip antennas.
The four most popular are:
Microstrip line.
Coaxial probe.
Aperture coupling.
Proximity coupling.
They will be discussed in the following:

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EXCITATION TECHNIQUES
Microstrip Line

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EXCITATION TECHNIQUES
The microstrip feed line is a conducting strip, usually
of much smaller width compared to the patch.
The microstrip line feed is easy to fabricate ( the
radiating patches and the feed lines are usually photo
etched on the dielectric substrate), simple to match
by controlling the inset position and rather simple to
model.
However as the substrate thickness increases surface
waves and spurious feed radiation increase, which for
practical design limit the bandwidth (typically 2-5%).

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EXCITATION TECHNIQUES
Coaxial Probe

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EXCITATION TECHNIQUES
Coaxial-line feeds, where the inner conductor of the
coaxial is attached to the radiating patch while the
outer conductor is connected to the ground plane, are
also widely used.
The coaxial probe feed is also easy to fabricate and
match, and it has low spurious radiation. However, it
also has narrow bandwidth and it is more difficult to
model, especially for thick substrates .

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EXCITATION TECHNIQUES
Aperture Coupling

c)Aperture coupling

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EXCITATION TECHNIQUES
Both the microstrip feed line and the probe possess
inherent asymmetries which generate higher order
modes which produce cross-polarized radiation.
To overcome some of these problems, noncontacting
aperture coupling feeds have been introduced.
The aperture coupling is the most difficult of all four
to fabricate and it also has narrow bandwidth.
However, it is somewhat easier to model and has
moderate spurious radiation.

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EXCITATION TECHNIQUES
The aperture coupling consists of two substrates
separated by a ground plane. On the bottom side of
the lower substrate there is a microstrip feed line
whose energy is coupled to the patch through a slot
on the ground plane separating the two substrates.
This arrangement allows independent optimization of
the feed mechanism and the radiating element.
Typically a high dielectric material is used for the
bottom substrate, and thick low dielectric constant fot
the top substrate.

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EXCITATION TECHNIQUES
The ground plane between the substrates also
isolates the feed from the radiating element and
minimizes interference of spurious radiation for
pattern formation and polarization purity. For this
design, the substrate electrical parameters, feed line
width and slot size and its position can be to optimize
the design.
Typically matching is performed by controlling the
width of the feed line and the length of the slot.

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EXCITATION TECHNIQUES
Proximity Coupling

d) Proximity coupling

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EXCITATION TECHNIQUES
The proximity coupling has the largest bandwidth (as
high as 13%), is somewhat easy to model and has
low spurious radiation. However, its fabrication is
somewhat more difficult. The length of the feeding
stub and the width-to-line ratio of the patch can be
used to control the match.

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