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A DESIGN PROCEDURE

FOR A CIRCULAR
POLARIZED, NEARLY
SQUARE PATCH ANTENNA
This article describes the design of a compact, circular polarized (CP), nearly
square patch antenna using an offset microstrip feed and operating at 2.45 GHz.
The effect of the offset on the perturbation segment and the design of a simple
matching network are discussed.

n order to obtain circular polarization, a


dual feed can be used to excite a square
patch to generate two fundamental modes,
TM10 and TM01, radiating at the same frequency. To meet the necessary conditions for
circular polarization, the two modes must be
equal in magnitude and 90 out of phase.
Hence, an external polarizer in the form of a
power splitter or a directional coupler has to
be used and, consequently, the board space of
the antenna is increased.1 A more compact
form of the antenna can be obtained by using
a single probe feed to excite a nearly square
patch.2 The area of the perturbation segment
must be carefully determined so that the fundamental mode is split into two degenerate
modes (TM 10 and TM 01 ) radiating at two
slightly different frequencies and also satisfy
the conditions for circular polarization. The
single feed is normally located along one diagonal to produce left-hand (LH) circular polarization or along the other diagonal to produce
right-hand (RH) circular polarization.3 For
the diagonal feed, the area of the perturbation
segment is small so that the two dimensions (a
and b) of the nearly square patch are approximately equal and hence are very sensitive to
manufacturing errors. It is shown in this arti-

cle that, by using a single microstrip feed, offset from the corner and along one edge of the
nearly square patch, the area of the perturbation segment is increased. Further increase in
the area of the perturbation segment can be
obtained by using a thicker substrate. Consequently, the effect of the manufacturing errors
on the performance of the antenna is further
reduced.
To simplify the design of this antenna, an
equivalent circuit is derived. The radiation
along the edges of the patch of the two modes
is modeled by two parallel tuned circuits,
which are connected to the feed point by two
transformers. Based on this equivalent circuit
the dimensions of the patch are obtained so
that the antenna operates at the designed frequency. Finally, to match the complex input
impedance of the antenna to Z0, a short length
of microstrip line is used.

S.K. LEE, A. SAMBELL,


E. KOROLKIEWICZ, S.F. LOH, S.F. OOI
AND Y. QIN
University of Northumbria
Newcastle, UK

Reprinted with permission of MICROWAVE JOURNAL from the January 2005 issue.

2005 Horizon House Publications, Inc.

T ECHNICAL F EATURE
y

S = ac

y
S = ac

b=a+c

b=a+c

S = a2

S = a2
xo
Fo

LHCP

RHCP

LHCP

a
90

0.707

45

MODE1
MODE2

fb fo fa
FREQUENCY

PHASE ()

1.0

AMPLITUDE

RHCP

(a)

(b)

yo

(a)

Na:1

MODE2

0
MODE1

Ta

45
90

V Fa
fb fo fa
FREQUENCY

La

Ga

Va

Lb

Gb

Vb

Ya

VF

Fig. 1

Single diagonal feed CP patch antenna; (a) nearly square patch, and (b) amplitude
and phase of the two modes.

Tb
V Fb

Nb/Na is given by
y
cos 0
Nb
b
=
Na
x
cos 0
a

Yb

Nb:1

(1)

TM01 MODE

(b)
y
a
c

From the circuit, it can be shown


that, for CP, the ratio Vb/Va is given
by
Vb Nb
=
Va Na
f

f2
a + j f0 a
f0
Q
= 1 90 (2)

2
f

f
b + j f0 b
f0
Q

b=a+c

EQUIVALENT CIRCUIT
DERIVATION AND DESIGN
OF THE ANTENNA
Figure 1 shows a nearly square
patch antenna having physical dimensions a and b with b > a. The patch is
normally fed along one of the two diagonals to generate either RH or LH
circular polarization. The area of the
perturbation segment (S) must be
such that the two modes satisfy the
conditions for circular polarization as
shown. The problem with the diagonal feed is that S is very small.
More generally, it has been
shown2 that circular polarization can
also be achieved by a probe feed located at any point on a locus (x0, y0),
as shown in Figure 2 for RHCP and
LHCP when the patch dimensions
depend on the probe location. The
equivalent circuit of the antenna
where the two tuned circuits represent the two radiating modes at the
edges of the patch is also shown. The
two transformers T a and T b with
turns ratio Na and Nb transform the
two edge impedances to the feed
point (x0, y0). For the TM10 mode,
the voltage VFa along the a edge of
the antenna is proportional to V a
cos(x0/a), while for the TM01 mode,
the voltage VFb along the b edge is
proportional to V b cos(y 0/b). The
turns ratio Na is VFa/Va cos (x0/a)
and similarly N b is V Fb /V b
cos(y 0 /b). Therefore, the ratio

TM10 MODE

(xo,O)

(c)

v
f b =FEED LINE
2 be reff

andFig. 2

where

Single offset feed CP patch


antenna; (a) nearly square patch with probe
v
field, (b) its equivalent
circuit,
and (c) nearly
fa =
square patch with
2microstrip
a feed.

f0
= design frequency
fa and fb = frequencies of the two
modes
Q
= Q-factor of the patch

therefore
fa be a e + ce
S
=
=1+ e
=
fb a e
ae
Se

The frequencies for the two modes


are given by

where the physical dimensions a = ae


2a and b = be 2b, ae and be are
the effective dimensions of the patch,
v is the velocity of light and reff is the
effective dielectric constant. To determine accurately a and b due to
the fringing effect, it is recommended that the equations given in Reference 4 be used.

fb =

v
2 be reff

and
fa =

v
2a e reff

therefore
fa b e a e + c e
S
=
=
=1+ e

(3)

reff

(3)

exponentially. By using a thicker substrate, the Q-factor of the patch is reduced, which further increases the relative size of Se/Se.

16
14
12
10
8
6
4
2
0
0

Q=25
30

50
80
110
0.1
0.2
0.3
0.4
OFFSET FACTOR (X0/a)

PATCH

PERTURBATION Se/Se (%)

T ECHNICAL F EATURE

0.5
Xo

Fig. 3

Se/Se perturbation versus offset


feed position and Q-factor.

x
Zin = ZL

lm
Wm

INPUT IMPEDANCE

REAL CALCULATED
REAL SIMULATED
IMAGINARY CALCULATED
IMAGINARY SIMULATED

Zinm

50 FEED
LINE, Zo

250

Zom, MATCHING
NETWORK

Zinf

Zinm

in = L

m2 m2 A 2

50
0
50
0

0.1
0.2
0.3
0.4
OFFSET FACTOR (X0/a)

Substituting Equation 3 into


Equation 2 for fa and applying the CP
conditions gives the following results:
For the magnitude condition, it
can be shown that
1

4 ( r 1) + 2 rM2 1 2 2
Q

+ rM4 1 = 0

(4)

where
N
r = b
Na

f0
fb

M= 1 +

Se
Se

Similarly for the phase condition:


M

4 + 2 2 M2 1 + M2 = 0 (5)
Q

Equations 4 and 5 are solved to


determine the values of the effective
patch dimensions ae and be for a given feed location (x0,y0). The value of
Q can be determined for the unper-

(b)

Fig. 5

Matched CP antenna (a)


configuration and (b) transmission line
matching network.

turbed square patch,5 or by simulation,6 or by practical measurement at


the design frequency f0.
An antenna with a microstrip feed
is easier to match than one with a
probe feed. The design presented
here is for a feed position (x0,0) as
shown in the figure, so that
Nb
==
Na

m =1

(6)

Zin

0.5

Fig. 4 Calculated and simulated Zin as a


function of the offset factor.

Zom,

Zo

( cos (m1 ) sin (m2 ))2 coth ( C)

150
100

jh 1
8a 3
cot ( kb ) + 3 2
a k
w

Z in =

(a)

200

INPUT IMPEDANCE
AND MATCHING
For a square patch using an FR4
PCB substrate with r = 4.3, h =
1.575 mm, tan = 0.019, and at an
operating frequency of 2.45 GHz, the
calculated value of Q was 32.7. The
input impedance of the antenna at
the offset position x0, and y0 = 0 is
given by5

1
x
cos 0
a

EFFECT OF THE MICROSTRIP


OFFSET FEED POSITION
AND Q ON THE SIZE OF THE
PERTURBATION SEGMENT
Solving Equations 4 and 5, the percentage of the perturbation Se/Se as a
function of the offset feed position x0
with a fixed y0 = 0 and Q are shown in
Figure 3. As can be seen for the corner-feed position at x0 = 0 and y0 = 0
the area of the perturbation segment is
very small and the condition for circular polarization is very sensitive to manufacturing errors. As the offset feed position x0 approaches the center of side
a, the percentage of Se/Se increases

where

j
k = 0 r 1 j
k = 0 r 1 Q
Q

x 0
1 = x 0
1 = a
a
w
2 = w
2 = 2a
2a
ka
A = ka
A=

2
b
2 ka 2
C = b m2 ka
C = a m

a
w = width of the feed line
It is sufficiently accurate, for values
of Q < 35, to use only the first five
terms of the series to calculate Zin.
For offset feed positions in the interval 0 x0 0.45a, the dimensions
of the nearly square patch were determined using Equations 4 and 5,
and Zin obtained from Equation 6.
The predicted input impedance
Zin is compared with simulation results, as shown in Figure 4. As x0 approaches 0.5a, Zin becomes smaller,
making it very difficult to match the
antenna. Consequently, in the realization of the matching network, there is
a trade-off between the increase in
perturbation and the feed location.
To maintain a compact form of the
matched antenna, a short length of a
microstrip line is used, as shown in

T ECHNICAL F EATURE
MATCHABLE AREA
50

TABLE I

25

100
200

10
R > Z0

R < Z0

500
200

Z0
100
50
25

THE PREDICTED AND SIMULATED


IMPEDANCE AND DIMENSIONS
OF THE PATCH ANTENNA
Parameters

Predicted

Simulated

Z0m ()

76.2

78

lm (mm)

8.614

8.32

a (mm)

28.824

28.52

b (mm)

29.934

29.75

32.7

30.5

10

Fig. 6 Region of Zin that can be matched


using the matching network.

Fig. 7

CP, nearly square patch antenna


fabricated on FR4 PDB substrate.

10

6
4

(a)

Fig. 8

10

S11 (dB)

3
AR (dB)

AR (dB)

8
SIMULATED
MEASURED

0
5
15

20
25

30

0
90705030 10 0 10 30 50 70 90
THETA ()

0
2.42 2.43 2.44 2.45 2.46 2.47 2.48
FREQUENCY (GHz)
(b)

35
2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8
FREQUENCY (GHz)
(c)

CP patch antennas (a,b) axial ratio and (c) return loss.

Figure 5. The transmission line model of the matching network is also


shown.
The characteristic impedance Z0m
of the microstrip line is given by7
Z0m = Z0

(Z R R
0

X2

Z0 R

(7)

where Z0 = 50 and Zin = R + jX is


the input impedance of the patch.
The electrical length of the matching line is given by
m = l m =

2
l =
g m

Z Z0
tan 1 jZ 0 m 2 in

Z 0 m Z in Z 0

(8)

By this method, only a certain range of


Zin can be matched, as shown in Figure 6, and this determines the maximum value of the offset position x0.
SIMULATED AND MEASURED
RESULTS
A nearly square patch antenna was
designed with the offset feed location
at 0.3a. The calculated and simulated

input impedances of the patch were


97j35.4 and 75.5j32.2 , respectively. The design of the matching
network was based on the input impedance of 75.5j32.2 . The parameters of the designed antenna operating at 2.45 GHz are summarized in
Table 1. The fabricated nearly square
patch antenna with a simple matching
network is shown in Figure 7.
Figure 8 shows a comparison of
the simulated and measured results
for the axial ratio (AR) of the designed antenna. The measured axial
ratio was 0.45 dB at 2.458 GHz,
which is less than a 0.5 percent shift
from the design frequency. The simulated and measured results for the return loss also show good agreement.
CONCLUSION
Based on the equivalent circuit of
the nearly square patch antenna, the
conditions for circular polarization
were determined. It has been shown
that using an offset microstrip line and
a thicker substrate increases the size of
the perturbing segment. To match the
antenna a simple matching network has
been designed, consisting of a short
length of microstrip line. The mea-

sured and simulated results are in good


agreement with predicted values.
ACKNOWLEDGMENT
The authors would like to acknowledge the assistance of Peter
Gale, Peter Elsdon, Stan Scott and
professor Fary Z. Ghassemlooy.

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