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1516 PIERS Proceedings, Moscow, Russia, August 1923, 2012

A Characteristic Mode Eigenanalysis Exploiting FEM Features


R. Maximidis
1
, C. L. Zekios
1
, P. C. Allilomes
1
, A. V. Kudrin
2
, and G. A. Kyriacou
1
1
Microwaves Lab., Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Democritus University of Thrace, Xanthi, Greece
2
Department of Radiophysics, University of Nizhny Novrogod, Russia
Abstract A new technique of complex impedance matrix calculation based on nite element
method (FEM), in contrast to the established use of Method of Moment (MoM) is proposed. The
innite solution domain is truncated with the introduction of a ctitious surface-S
f
. For the eld
solution inside the surface-S
f
the applied formulation is based on the nite element technique,
being able to model inhomogeneous arbitrary shaped radiating 3D structures. The eld solution
in the semi-innite domain outside S
f
is expressed by an in principle innite series expansion of
spherical harmonics. The two solutions are bind together by enforcing the exact eld continuity
conditions strictly following a vector Dirichlet to Neumann map formalism. The overall procedure
ends up to a nal system with sole unknown the surface current distribution owing over the
metallic surfaces. This system denes the impedance matrix [Z] and it is formulated and solved
as a characteristic mode eigenproblem. Namely, separating the complex impedance matrix into a
real [R] and imaginary [X] part, yields a real eigenproblem of the form [X][I] = [R] is formulated
and solved.
1. INTRODUCTION
The current work aims at the development of a numerical tool for the electromagnetic simulation and
design of digitally controlled and multifunctional multiple input multiple output (MIMO) antennas
integrated on the devices chassis and/or package utilizing Characteristic Mode theory. Several
researchers already exploit characteristic modes for the antenna design, but their work is limited
to geometries described by the Method of Moments (MoM), namely depending on the availability
of the corresponding Greens functions. Usually, only simple metallic surfaces of canonical shapes
in free space are eciently considered.
Characteristic mode eigenanalysis concerns the actual electric current densities owing on the
outer surface of possibly radiating objects as well as equivalent electric or magnetic current densities
resulting from the adoption of a eld (Loves) equivalence principle. According to [1], characteristic
modes are real current modal distributions that correspond to the eigenvectors of a particular
weighted eigenvalue equation, which involves the real and imaginary parts of the body impedance
matrix. Thus, characteristic modes can be numerically computed for conducting bodies of arbitrary
shape and since they comprize a set of orthogonal functions, they can be used to expand the total
current on the surface of the body. One main drawback to the wide utilization of characteristic
modes until now was the almost exclusive need of the Moment Method (MoM) for their extraction.
The main MoM limitation factor lies in its dependence in the availability of the Greens functions
corresponding to the particular structure. On the other hand the numerical evaluation of Greens
functions (especially in its dyadic form) is as complex as the simulation of the entire structure and
has to be repeated for every possible position and orientation of any elementary dipole source. To
stress the complexity of the above procedure it is worth mentioning that usually its more preferable
to calculate the Greens functions utilizing eigenfunctions expansions. It is obvious that this leads
us to a closed loop, since it is not possible to dene the eigenfunctions through Greens functions,
which are by nature more complex and assume the eigenfunctions knowledge.
The novelty of the proposed research is a new technique of complex impedance matrix calcu-
lation based on Finite Element (FEM) method with similarities to Finite Element Tearing and
Interconnect (FETI) (e.g., Zhao) [2], in contrast to the established use of MoM. The basic idea
is as follows: If the structure is analyzed solving the electric eld vector wave equation, then at
the boundary of the solution domain (or on all the metallic surfaces) current densities are dened
through the tangential magnetic eld. The three dimensional solution domain is actually divided
in a nite and semi-innite domain by a ctitious surface S
f
. Outside the surface S
f
the eld is
expressed in an innite sum of spherical harmonics known from the analytical solution of the wave
equation in free space. This expansion satises the radiation condition of the studied structure.
Inside surface S
f
the eld is established with the aid of nite element technique. The solution
Progress In Electromagnetics Research Symposium Proceedings, Moscow, Russia, August 1923, 2012 1517
domain is discretized by tetrahedral edge elements to exploit their exibility for the description
of any arbitrary geometry. The two solutions are bind together through the surface integral of
the FEM weak form and following the Dirichlet to Neumann map formalism described in the next
section. The nal system is manipulated in such a way that the internal eld distribution is oblit-
erated ending up to a system with sole unknown the desired surface current distribution. This
system indeed denes the impedance matrix [Z] and is of the same form as dened as an eigen-
value problem [Z][I] = 0. This, eventually, will be formulated and solved as a characteristic mode
eigenproblem. Namely, separating the complex impedance matrix into a real [R] and imaginary
[X] parts, a real eigenproblem of the form [X][I] = [R] is formulated and solved according to [1].
The use of FEM allows the eigenanalysis of complex structures loaded with inhomogeneous and/or
anisotropic media, such as the chassis, or the frame package of mobile devices which can even be
curved for conformal integration to the devices.
2. FORMULATION
Let us assume the general geometry of Figure 1. It is an open cavity (a chassis, or the frame
package of a mobile device) enclosed inside a ctitious spherical surface noted as S
f
. The goal of
this work is to end up to a nal matrix, the impedance matrix of the analyzed structure to form
and solve the charasteristic mode eigenproblem. The novelty of the proposed research is to replace
the established MoM technique with the FEM technique to exploit the advantages of the second
one handling any arbitrary structure versus the rigidness and stifness of the MoM with complex
structures. Thus, initially the problem is manipulated in such a way that the impedance matrix
can be retrieved to apply the characteristic mode theory.
The electromagnetic behaviour within the enclosed region (I) the electric eld wave equation
for a source free region tensor permittivity (


r
) and permeability (


r
) materials reads:


1
r


E k
2
0


r

E = 0 (1)
Applying the standard Galerkin procedure to Eq. (1) the following weak formulation can be de-
rived [3]:
___
V
_


T
_


1
r

_

E
_
dV k
2
0
___
V

T
_


r

E
_
dV jk
0
__

T
_
n

H
_
dS = 0 (2)
where k
0
= /c is the free space wavenumber,

T is the vector weighting function and V denotes
the space of region (II), which is enclosed by the articial spherical surface-S
f
i
. This actually
oers the means to connect the two solution between the inner and outer regions through the
accurate enforcement of the eld continuity conditions. These are ensured by strictly following
Dirichlet-to-Neumann mapping mathematical formalism. In the outer region (I), since the medium
is homogeneous and source free, the eld is expanded in terms of radial TE
r
and TM
r
modes,
or equivalently in an innite expansion of the well known eigenfunctions for the electric and the
Figure 1: A three dimensional open cavity.
1518 PIERS Proceedings, Moscow, Russia, August 1923, 2012
magnetic eld components respectively [4]:
E
I
r
=
1
j
0

l=0
_
l

m=l
k
2
0
a
lm

_
h
(2)
l
_
k
0
r
_
+h
(2)
l
_
k
0
r
_
_
P
|m|
l
_
cos()
_
e
jm
_
(3)
H
I
r
=
1
j
0

l=0
_
l

m=l
k
2
0
f
lm

_
h
(2)
l
_
k
0
r
_
+h
(2)
l
_
k
0
r
_
_
P
|m|
l
_
cos()
_
e
jm
_
(4)
The terms a
lm
and f
lm
are unknown weighting factors of the magnetic and the electic potential
respectively, the P
|m|
l
are the Legendre functions and the h
(2)
l
(k
0
r) are the second type spherical
Hankel functions of order l.
Following the DtN formalism the outer expression is written in terms of the inner/numerical
expansion (Dirichlet data) enforcing the electric eld continuity over the surface-S
f
. The coecients
a
lm
and f
lm
are dened exploiting the orthogonality properties of the functions e
jm
and P
|m|
l
.
Thus, the weighting factor a
lm
and f
lm
can be given in a compact form as:
a
lm
(. . .)
_
2
0
_

0
E
FEM
P
|m|
l
_
cos()
_
sin
2
()e
jm
dd (5)
f
lm
(. . .)
_
2
0
_

0
E
FEM
P
|m|
l
_
cos()
_
sin
2
()e
jm
dd (6)
According now to the second step of the DtN formalism the Neumann data are being established.
The eld in region-I is dierentiated in order to establish the DtN map, so as to obtain the Neumann
data along the separation surface. This dierentiation is actually provided by the electric eld curl
equation itself. For this reason the coecients a
lm
and f
lm
obtained above, are substituted back into
the expression of the tangential magnetic eld to yield the following formal Dirichlet to Neumann
map:
H
I
(. . .)
_
2
0
_

0
E
FEM
P
|m|
l
_
cos()
_
sin
2
()e
jm
dd (7)
The third step of DtN asks for the enforcement of the electric eld normal derivatives continuity
along the surface S
f
. This herein reads as requiring the tangential components of the magnetic
eld expansion to be equal to that of the FEM eld description along the separation surface. So the
surface integral of FEM in Eq. (2) can be derived by exploiting the DtN map given by the expansion
of Eq. (7) and using the continuity of the magnetic eld. As it occurs the surface integral serves the
coupling of the two eld expressions and thus, the radiation condition is actually introduced in the
functional of FEM. The resulting expression, after some algebraic manipulations can be brought in
a matrix form as:
A(k
0
)[e] = 0 (8)
The next step is to retrieve magnetic eld components tangential to the structure metallic surfaces,
or equally to modify the matrix in a such a way that the characteristic mode theory can be applied.
For this purpose the system matrix A should be subdivided into four parts, to be written as:
_
A
ii
(k
0
) A
is
(k
0
)
A
si
(k
0
) A
ss
(k
0
)
__
e
i
e
s
_
= 0 (9)
where the subscripts i and s denote the internal and metallic surface edges of the mesh respec-
tively. Solving the system of Eq. (9) for e
s
a nal form can be derived with the only unknown the
surface degrees of freedom. Thus, the desired [Z] matrix can be expressed as:
_
A
ss
(k
0
) A
si
(k
0
) A
1
ii
(k
0
) A
is
(k
0
)
__
e
s
_
=0 (10)
_
Y (k
0
)
__
e
s
_
=0 (11)
Progress In Electromagnetics Research Symposium Proceedings, Moscow, Russia, August 1923, 2012 1519
where [Y (k
0
)] = [A
ss
(k
0
) A
si
(k
0
) A
1
ii
(k
0
) A
is
(k
0
)] and [Z(k
0
)] = [Y (k
0
)]
1
. According now
to the characteristic mode theory the matrix [Z] is split into its real [R] and imaginary [X] part
forming the eigenproblem:
[X][I]
n
=
n
[R][I]
n
(12)
This real generalized eigenproblem represents the so called characteristic modes. Its real eigen-
values
n
oer a unique physical insight, since their values dene the radiation eectiveness of
the corresponding eigenfunction-eigencurrent. In general the eigenvalues
n
range from to
+ and provide us with dierent information about the physical behavior of the characteristic
modes. Eigenvalues that tend to zero represent a characteristic mode resonance (this is the opti-
mum radiator), while eigenvalues that tend to represent an internal resonance mode. Thus it
is of critical importance to track the moving trace of each eigenvalue while the structure is being
analyzed at dierent frequencies to get dispersion curves of the form
n
f. The zero crossing of
these curves represents the eigencurrents resonances at which the structure behave as an optimal
radiator. Besides that, the eigencurrents distribution oer the knowledge for their excitation pro-
viding operation at multiple frequencies and/or multiple polarization which can in principle being
excited simultaneously if necessary.
3. NUMERICAL RESULTS
A cavity backed patch antenna (Figure 2) is studied in two steps. Firstly a characteristic mode
eigenanalysis of the single patch (a plane in the free space) is elaborated, while in turn a total
characteristic mode eigenanalysis of the structure is adopted. The patch is 4 [cm] 3 [cm] and it is
recessed in a 8 [cm] 6 [cm] 0.1 [cm] cavity, that is homogeneously lled with dielectric
r
= 2.0.
For the volume of the structure a discretization of 10983 tetrahedrals was initiallized, while the
surface of the metallic patch was discretized by 2768 triangles. The proposed method is currenlty
under validation.
For the rst simulation procedure both the classical characteristic mode eigenanalysis (based on
Method of Moments, MoM) and the proposed characteristic mode eigenanalysis (based on a FEM
matrix) was elaborated. The patch seems to resonate for both techniques at 3.75 [GHz], Table 1.
However, the proposed technique presents some spurious modes due to the ill-conditioning of the
constructed matrix.
For the second step the simulation of the whole cavity backed antenna was elaborated. In
Table 2 the numerical evaluation of the two rst resonant frequencies is introduced. The rst
3 values appearing in the table are spurious modes, which are actually under consideration. To
Figure 2: A cavity backed patch antenna geometry
Table 1: Resonant frequencies of a rectangular patch
antenna 4 [cm] 3 [cm].
proposed technqiue MoM
f [GHz] f [GHz]
1 0.11 -
2 0.11 -
3 0.11 -
4 3.71 3.75
5 4.95 5.00
Table 2: Cavity backed patch antenna resonant fre-
quencies.
proposed technqiue HFSS
f [GHz] f [GHz]
1 0.11 -
2 0.11 -
3 0.11 -
4 2.78 2.81
5 4.79 4.80
1520 PIERS Proceedings, Moscow, Russia, August 1923, 2012
validate our results the commercial electromagnetic simulator HFSS was used. However, HFSS
doesnt support an eigenanalysis for open radiating structures, thus a simulation procedure of a
plane wave scattering on the patch was adopted for a frequency sweep from 1 [GHz] to 20 [GHz].
The patch antenna seems to eciently radiate at 2.8 [GHz] and 4.8 [GHz] with both simulation
procedures, the proposed and the HFSS.
4. CONCLUSION
A FEM based methodology is formulated providing the complex impedance matrix open-radiating
three dimensional structures. This oers the means to circumvent the Moment Method necessity
for the knowledge of arbitrary structures Greens functions, thus sometimes the proposed method
is known as numerical Greens functions evaluation. A lot of eort is still necessary in order
to establish this methodology running various tests and especially to specialize its usage in the
formulation and solution of various types of Characteristic modes eigenanalysis. This eort starts
from this work focusing on the electric eigencurrents owing along the metallic surfaces, but it can
be readily extended to equivalent magnetic eigencurrents owing on material surfaces/interfaces
and ultimately to challenging complicated surfaces of metals with slots printed on curved media
which may require both electric and magnetic eigencurrents.
ACKNOWLEDGMENT
This work was nancially supported by the Greek Ministry of Education, Lifelong Learning and
Religious Aairs through the research project THALIS Design Techniques for Digitally Controlled
RF-Microwave Structures Appropriate for Software Dened Cognitive Radio (RF-EIGEN-SDR).
REFERENCES
1. Harrington, R. F. and J. R. Mautz, Theory of characteristic modes for conducting bodies,
IEEE Trans. on Antennas and Propagation, Vol. 19, 622628, 1971.
2. Zhao, K., A domain decomposition method for solving electrically large electromagnetic prob-
lems, Doctoral Thesis, Ohio State University, 2007.
3. Zhu Y. and A. C. Cangellaris, Multigrid Finite Element methods for Electromagnetic Field
Modeling, Wiley Interscience, NY, 2006.
4. Balanis, C. A., Advanced Engineering Electromagnetics, 1st Edition, Wiley, NY, 1989.