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IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON ANTENNAS AND PROPAGATION, VOL. 56, NO.

2, FEBRUARY 2008 319

Wideband Circularly Polarized Patch Antenna Using


Broadband Baluns
Yong-Xin Guo, Senior Member, IEEE, Kah-Wee Khoo, Student Member, IEEE, and
Ling Chuen Ong, Senior Member, IEEE

Abstract—A novel 90 broadband balun comprising a broad-


band 90 Schiffman phase shifter is introduced as a means of
enhancing the wideband circular polarization performance of
dual-fed type microstrip antennas. The proposed 90 broadband
balun delivers good impedance matching, balanced power splitting
and consistent 90 ( 5 ) phase shifting, across a wide band-
width ( 57.5%). A circular patch antenna utilizing the proposed
90 broadband balun is shown to attain measured impedance
(S11 10 dB) and axial ratio (AR 3 dB) bandwidths of
60.24% and 37.7%, respectively, for the dual L-probe case; and
71.28% and 81.6% respectively, for the quadruple L-probe case.
Fig. 1. Schematics of the conventional 90 hybrid coupler.
Index Terms—Circular polarization, microstrip antennas, wide-
band antennas.

comprising Wilkinson power dividers [6]–[9], a log periodic


I. INTRODUCTION balun [10], and a three-stub 90 hybrid coupler [11], have
been explored. The conventional two-stub ( 25% bandwidth)
or three-stub ( 40% bandwidth) branch-line hybrid couplers

C IRCULARLY polarized (CP) microstrip antennas are


widely employed in radar, navigation, satellite and mobile
communication systems. Circular polarization, compared to
have been commonly used to obtain circular polarization. A
quadruple L-probe circular patch antenna utilizing a pair of
two-stub 90 hybrid couplers was shown to deliver a measured
linear polarization, allows for greater flexibility in orientation impedance bandwidth of 45% and axial
angle between transmitter and receiver, better mobility and ratio-bandwidth (AR 3 dB) of 45% [12].
weather penetration, and reduction in multipath reflections and In this paper, we propose the use of a novel 90 broadband
other kinds of interference. Microstrip antennas are low profile microstrip balun as a means of enhancing the wideband circular
and light weight, easy to fabricate, conformable to mounting polarization performance of dual-fed type microstrip antennas.
structures, and compatible with integrated circuit technology. The proposed 90 broadband balun delivers good impedance
However, inherent limitations include the achievable impedance matching, balanced output ports power division and consistent
and axial-ratio bandwidths. 90 output ports phase difference, over a considerably wide
CP waves are produced when two or more orthogonal lin- band ( 57.5%). We demonstrate that for both the dual and
early polarized modes, of equal amplitude and 90 phase dif- quadruple L-probe circularly polarized circular patch antennas,
ference, are independently excited. For microstrip antennas of the use of the proposed 90 broadband balun allows for wide
the single-fed type [1]–[5], circular polarization can be gener- impedance and axial-ratio bandwidths. The radiation patterns
ated without the need for an external polarizer. However, the and gain are shown to be stable across the passband.
allowable 3-dB axial ratio bandwidth is typically less than 10%.
Notable exceptions involve the use of an L-shaped ground plane II. FEED NETWORK CONFIGURATION
[4], or a parasitic patch element [5].
For microstrip antennas of the dual-fed type [6]–[12], circular A. Conventional 90 Hybrid Coupler
polarization can be generated with the use of an external polar- The conventional 90 hybrid coupler, commonly used as an
izer, resulting in a larger footprint beneath the patch. Compared external polarizer for dual-fed type CP antennas, is shown in
to the single-fed type, much wider impedance and axial-ratio Fig. 1. This symmetrical 3-dB directional coupler provides bal-
bandwidths can be achieved. Feed network configurations anced power splitting and 90 phase shifting between its output
ports. The isolation port was terminated to a 50 resistor. For
convenient analysis, the input and output ports of the feed net-
Manuscript received November 29, 2006; revised July 21, 2007. works presented in this paper, were all set to 50 .
The authors are with the Institute for Infocomm Research, Singapore
117674, Singapore and also with the Electrical and Computer Engineering
Department, National University of Singapore, Singapore 117576, Singapore B. Proposed 90 Broadband Balun
(e-mail: guoyx@i2r.a-star.edu.sg). The proposed 90 broadband balun, as shown in Fig. 2,
Color versions of one or more of the figures in this paper are available online
at http://ieeexplore.ieee.org. delivers both balanced power splitting and regular 90 phase
Digital Object Identifier 10.1109/TAP.2007.915427 shifting, across a wide band. This new balun comprises a
0018-926X/$25.00 © 2008 IEEE
320 IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON ANTENNAS AND PROPAGATION, VOL. 56, NO. 2, FEBRUARY 2008

Fig. 2. Schematics of the proposed 90 broadband balun.

Fig. 4. Simulated return loss comparison between the conventional 90 hybrid


coupler and the proposed 90 broadband balun.

Fig. 3. Layout of C-Section coupled lines in the proposed 90 broadband


balun.

cascade of a 3-dB Wilkinson power divider, for wideband


impedance matching and balanced power splitting, and a novel
broadband 90 Schiffman phase shifter [13], for wideband Fig. 5. Simulated output ports amplitude response comparison between the
conventional 90 hybrid coupler and the proposed 90 broadband balun.
consistent 90 phase shifting. The characteristic impedances
are given by , , and .
Compared with our previous wideband CP patch antenna [14], return loss comparison between the two external polarizers.
the newly proposed feed network can have wider transmission The 90 broadband balun exhibits a wide impedance band-
line widths and thus afford better fabrication tolerances. width of 187.6%, from 0.09 to 2.81 GHz,
Fig. 3 shows the layout of the C-section coupled line pair, while the regular 90 hybrid coupler exhibits a much narrower
separated by a small distance of . The gray-shaded impedance bandwidth of 30.9%, from 1.53 to
rectangular slot, of dimensions , , 2.09 GHz. Fig. 5 shows the simulated output ports amplitude
and , was cut out on the ground plane, beneath response comparison between the two external polarizers. The
the C-section coupled lines, to allow for the odd-mode capac- 90 broadband balun exhibits balanced output ports power
itance to decrease and the even-mode capacitance to decrease distribution [ ( 0.5 dB)] over a wide band
even faster. The 23.4 mm by 3.05 mm rectangle patch, encap- of 91.9%, from 0.87 to 2.35 GHz, while the regular 90 hy-
sulated by the rectangular slot, functions as a capacitor which brid coupler exhibits balanced output ports power distribution
compensates the odd-mode capacitance. This patterned ground [ ( 0.5 dB)] over a much narrower band of
plane approach provides for regular 90 phase shifting with 14%, from 1.66 to 1.91 GHz. Fig. 6 shows the simulated output
minimal insertion losses, over a wide band. The proposed 90 ports phase difference comparison between the two external
broadband microstrip balun is easily fabricated by photolitho- polarizers. The 90 broadband balun exhibits consistent 90
graphic process, with the network layer and patterned ground output ports phase difference over a considerably wide
plane layer respectively printed on each side of a double-sided band of 66.7%, from 1.3 to 2.6 GHz, while the regular 90
single-layer PCB. hybrid coupler exhibits consistent 90 output ports phase
difference over a much narrower band of 32%, from 1.47 to
C. Simulated Results 2.03 GHz.
For this paper, all simulations were performed using IE3D, a Combining the simulated results in Fig. 4, Fig. 5 and Fig. 6,
commercially available electromagnetic field solver based on it is observed that the proposed 90 broadband balun delivered
the method of moments (MoM). Fig. 4 shows the simulated low input port return loss , balanced output
GUO et al.: WIDEBAND CP PATCH ANTENNA USING BROADBAND BALUNS 321

Fig. 6. Simulated output ports phase difference comparison between the Fig. 8. Simulated and measured return loss of the proposed CP dual L-probe
conventional 90 hybrid coupler and the proposed 90 broadband balun. circular patch antenna.

Fig. 7. Geometry of the proposed CP dual L-probe circular patch antenna. Fig. 9. Simulated and measured axial ratio of the proposed CP dual L-probe
circular patch antenna.

ports power distribution [ ( 0.5 dB)],


and consistent 90 output ports phase difference over a , vertical length , and horizontal
significantly wide band of 57.5%, from 1.3 to 2.35 GHz; hence length , were orthogonally oriented and positioned
we term it a “broadband” balun. The conventional 90 hybrid a distance away from the circumference of the
coupler delivered low input port return loss , patch, and soldered to the respective output ports of the feed
balanced output ports power distribution [ network. The L-probe feeds excite the radiating patch element
( 0.5 dB)], and consistent 90 output ports phase by proximity coupling.
difference over a much narrower band of 14%, from 1.66
to 1.91 GHz; inherently limited by its output port power B. Simulated and Measured Results
distribution. Fig. 8 shows the simulated and measured return loss of the
dual L-probe antenna. The proposed antenna exhibits consid-
III. CIRCULARLY POLARIZED DUAL L-PROBE CIRCULAR erably wide simulated and measured impedance bandwidths
PATCH ANTENNA of 59.52%, from 1.18 to 2.18 GHz, and
60.24%, from 1.16 to 2.16 GHz, respectively. Note that the
A. Antenna Geometry and Feed Network Layout L-probe single-element rectangular patch antenna has a typical
The geometry of the CP dual L-probe circular patch antenna impedance bandwidth of around 30% [15],
is shown in Fig. 7. The circular copper patch, of diameter [16].
, has an air substrate height above a Fig. 9 shows the simulated and measured axial ratio of
grounded Rogers RO4003 dielectric substrate of thickness the dual L-probe antenna. The antenna exhibits rather wide
and dielectric constant . The feed network, simulated and measured 3-dB axial-ratio bandwidths of 39%,
comprising the proposed 90 broadband balun, was printed on from 1.26 to 1.87 GHz, and 37.7%, from 1.25 to 1.83 GHz,
the RO4003 substrate. The two L-probe feeds, each of diameter respectively. Fig. 10 shows the simulated and measured gain
322 IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON ANTENNAS AND PROPAGATION, VOL. 56, NO. 2, FEBRUARY 2008

Fig. 10. Simulated and measured boresight gain of the proposed CP dual
L-probe circular patch antenna.

of the dual L-probe antenna. The antenna exhibits a simulated


3-dB gain bandwidth of 34.2%, from 1.43 to 2.02 GHz, with its
highest gain of 8.6 dBi at 1.8 GHz, and a measured 3-dB gain
bandwidth of 38.6%, from 1.38 to 2.04 GHz, with its highest
gain of 8.53 dBi at 1.8 GHz. It is observed that the measured
results agree reasonably well with the simulated results.
Figs. 11 and 12, show the measured radiation patterns for
the dual L-probe antenna at 1.3, 1.6, and 1.8 GHz at the
and planes, respectively. Across this passband, it
is observed that on both principle planes, the antenna exhibits
generally low angular axial ratio around its boresight. The slight
asymmetry observed in the H- and V-polarization patterns can
be attributed to the asymmetrical feed orientation of the dual
L-probe antenna configuration.
These results reveal significant enhancements in the
impedance and axial ratio bandwidths over the dual L-probe
antenna presented in [12]. In terms of the common frequency
coverage of , axial ratio 3 dB, and 3-dB
gain (gain 5.53 dBi), the proposed CP antenna exhibits a
measured CP bandwidth of 28.04% from 1.38 to 1.83 GHz.

IV. CIRCULARLY POLARIZED QUADRUPLE L-PROBE CIRCULAR


PATCH ANTENNA

A. Antenna Geometry and Feed Network Layout


The geometry of the CP quadruple L-probe circular patch
antenna is shown in Fig. 13. The quadruple L-probe antenna
shares the same antenna parameters with the dual L-probe an-
tenna shown in Fig. 7. The feed network, comprising a pair of
the proposed 90 broadband baluns connected by a 180 trans-
former, was printed on the RO4003 substrate. To provide 180
phase shifting, the lengths of the microstrip branches must differ
by , where refers to the guide wavelength
Fig. 11. Measured radiation patterns at  = 0 for the proposed CP dual
at the center operating frequency, say, 1.8 GHz, in this work. L-probe circular patch antenna at (a) 1.3 GHz, (b) 1.6 GHz, and (c) 1.8 GHz.
The input transmission line is connected to the two microstrip
branches by a quarter-wavelength transformer with character-
istic impedance given by . The four L-probe feeds
B. Simulated and Measured Results
were soldered to the respective output ports of the balun pair, or-
thogonally orientated, and provided equal amplitude power with Fig. 14 shows the simulated and measured return loss of the
relative excitation phases of 0 , 90 , 180 and 270 . quadruple L-probe antenna. The antenna exhibits a considerably
GUO et al.: WIDEBAND CP PATCH ANTENNA USING BROADBAND BALUNS 323

Fig. 13. Geometry of the proposed CP quadruple L-probe circular patch an-
tenna.

Fig. 14. Simulated and measured return loss of the proposed CP quadruple
L-probe circular patch antenna.

L-probes orientated to have relative phases of 0 , 90 , 180 and


270 , but using a feed network comprising a pair of 90 hybrid
couplers, delivered a 10-dB return loss bandwidth of 45% [12].
Compared to the results in [12], [15], [16], it is noteworthy that
much wider impedance bandwidth was achieved with the pro-
posed broadband feed network.
Fig. 15 shows the simulated and measured axial ratio of the
quadruple L-probe antenna. The antenna exhibits simulated 3-dB
and 2-dB axial-ratio bandwidths of 62%, from 1.27 to 2.41 GHz,
and 48.8%, from 1.33 to 2.18 GHz, respectively. The measured
3-dB and 2-dB axial ratio bandwidths are 81.6%, from 1.03 to
2.45GHz,and77.7%,from1.07to2.43GHz,respectively. Fig.16
shows the simulated and measured gain of the quadruple L-probe
antenna. The antenna exhibits a simulated 3-dB gain bandwidth
Fig. 12. Measured radiation patterns at  = 90 for the proposed CP dual
L-probe circular patch antenna at: (a) 1.3 GHz, (b) 1.6 GHz, and (c) 1.8 GHz. of 46.9%, from 1.34 to 2.16 GHz, with its highest gain of 8.6 dBi
at 2 GHz, and a measured 3-dB gain bandwidth of 52.2%, from
1.29 to 2.2 GHz, with its highest gain of 8.1 dBi at 1.8 GHz. It
wide simulated and measured impedance bandwidth is observed that the measured results agree reasonably well with
of 73%, from 1.07 to 2.3 GHz and 71.28%, from 1.21 the simulated results.
to 2.55 GHz, respectively. In comparison, the circular patch an- Figs. 17 and 18, show the measured radiation patterns for the
tenna also fed by four sequentially rotated proximity-coupled dual L-probe antenna at 1.2, 1.8, and 2.2 GHz at the and
324 IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON ANTENNAS AND PROPAGATION, VOL. 56, NO. 2, FEBRUARY 2008

Fig. 15. Simulated and measured axial ratio of the proposed CP quadruple
L-probe circular patch antenna.

Fig. 16. Simulated and measured boresight gain of the proposed CP quadruple
L-probe circular patch antenna.

planes, respectively. Across this passband, it is ob-


served that on both principle planes, the antenna exhibits rather
symmetrical H- and V-polarization patterns, and generally low
angular axial ratio around its boresight.
These results reveal significant enhancements in the
impedance and axial ratio bandwidths over the dual L-probe
antenna presented in the previous section and the quadruple
L-probe antenna presented in [12]. In terms of the common
frequency coverage of , axial ratio 3 dB, and
3-dB gain (gain 5.1 dBi), the proposed CP antenna exhibits a
much wider measured CP bandwidth of 52.2% from 1.29 to 2.2
GHz. The impedance and gain bandwidths of the antenna are
enhanced due to the use of the L-probe feeding technique and
a thick air substrate. The impedance and axial ratio bandwidths
of the antenna are further enhanced due to the symmetrical
sequentially rotated four point feeding structure with each feed Fig. 17. Measured radiation patterns at  = 0 for the proposed CP quadruple
supplied wideband balanced power distribution and appropriate L-probe circular patch antenna at (a) 1.2 GHz, (b) 1.8 GHz, and (c) 2.2 GHz.
phasing.

V. CONCLUSION
We have shown that for both the dual and quadruple L-probe proposed 90 broadband balun allowed for significantly im-
circularly polarized circular patch antennas, the use of the proved impedance and axial ratio bandwidths. Our proposed
GUO et al.: WIDEBAND CP PATCH ANTENNA USING BROADBAND BALUNS 325

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Yong-Xin Guo (SM’05) received the B.Eng. and


M.Eng. degrees from Nanjing University of Science
and Technology, Nanjing, China, and the Ph.D.
degree from City University of Hong Kong, all in
electronic engineering, in 1992, 1995, and 2001,
respectively.
From 1995 to 1997, he was a Teaching and
Research Assistant and then a Lecturer in the
Department of Electronic Engineering, Nanjing Uni-
versity of Science and Technology. From January
1998 to August 1998, he was a Research Associate
in the Department of Electronic Engineering, City University of Hong Kong,
where, from December 1998 to September 2001, he was a Research Student.
Since September 2001, he has been with the Institute for Infocomm Research,
Fig. 18. Measured radiation patterns at  = 90 for the proposed CP Singapore, where he is currently a Research Scientist. He has also held
quadruple L-probe circular patch antenna at (a) 1.2 GHz, (b) 1.8 GHz, and (c) appointments of Guest Professor and Ph.D. Student Supervisor at Nanjing
2.2 GHz. University of Science and Technology and Adjunct Assistant Professor at the
National University of Singapore. He has published over 100 technical papers
in international journals and conference proceedings. His publications have
been cited by others over 200 times. He holds one Chinese Patent and one U.S.
patent. His current research interests include microstrip antennas and dielectric
feed network implementation may be conceptually extended to resonator antennas, microwave and millimeter-wave circuits, LTCC passives
other dual-fed type circularly polarized patch antennas. and modules, and radio-over-fiber technology for broadband communications.
326 IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON ANTENNAS AND PROPAGATION, VOL. 56, NO. 2, FEBRUARY 2008

He is an organizer of the workshop on radio-over-fiber technologies at the Ling Chuen Ong (SM’02) received the Ph.D. degree
IEEE Radio and Wireless Symposium in Orlando, FL, in 2008 and was a tech- from the University of Birmingham, Birmingham,
nical program committee member of the IEEE TENCON2006, IEEE ICCS2006, U.K., in 1996.
IEEE RFIT2007, and IEEE VTC2008 (Spring). He is a regular reviewer for From 1992 to 1994, he was a Research Associate
the IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON ANTENNAS AND PROPAGATION, IEEE ANTENNA with the University of Birmingham. From 1996 to
AND WIRELESS PROPAGATION LETTERS, IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON MICROWAVE 1999, he was with Singapore Telecom as a Network
THEORY AND TECHNIQUES, IEEE MICROWAVE AND WIRELESS COMPONENTS Planner and Project Manager for its first digital
LETTERS, RADIO SCIENCE, IET Microwave, Antennas and Propagation, Elec- trunked radio system. Currently, he is an Assistant
tronics Letters, etc. Department Manager with the Institute for Info-
comm Research, Agency for Science, Technology
and Research (A STAR). His research interests
include radio-over-fiber technology for intelligent transport systems and future
Kah-Wee Khoo (S’04) was born and educated wireless communications, low temperature co-fired ceramics and ultrawide-
in Singapore. He received the B.Eng. and M.Eng. band technology. He is also an Adjunct Assistant Professor with the National
degrees in electrical engineering from the National University of Singapore and Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
University of Singapore, in 2005 and 2008, respec- Dr. Ong’s Ph.D. studies were financed by a Science and Engineering Re-
tively. search Council grant and a postgraduate scholarship from the Institute of Elec-
He has been with the Institute for Infocomm trical Engineers (IEE), London, U.K.
Research, Singapore, since 2004. His current re-
search interests include printed antennas, dielectric
resonator antennas and RF circuit design.