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Development of ceramic material (Nb2O5) for applications

in microwave devices
J.A.P. Magno, I.S.Queiroz Jr., H.D. Andrade, S.M. Holanda, D.Souza, J.H.A. Silveira
Universidade Federal Rural do Semi-rido (UFERSA)
Abstract: This work proposes the application of a ceramic material, the niobium pentoxide
Nb2O5 as an alternative in the production of microstrip antenna substrate and microwave
devices. The method chosen was the technique of powder metallurgy. This study can observe
the electrical properties of Nb2O5, varying the compression pressure and sintering
temperature. The manufacturing process occurs from the compression of the material by a
hydraulic pressing and sintering. Was performed a characterization of the electrical quantities,
conductivity measurement, the electrical permittivity and loss tangent. In order to prove and
validate the use of the test material has been made numerical and computational
implementation and then applying the same as a substrate, as a way of validation as a
microwave device.
Keywords: Antenas de microfita, Pentxido de Nibio, Substratos para antenas de microfita.

Very common in mobile devices the microstrip antennas are basically made up of two
conductive plates separated by an insulating or semiconducting called substrate. The device
quality is directly related to the electrical characteristics of the substrate along with their
operating parameters. In addition, a dielectric constant higher of substrate enabled the
miniaturization of devices for the most diverse applications.
Among the materials used can be mentioned the ceramic materials, for example
MFe2O4, MTiO3, MNb2O5, BiNbO4 e Nb2O5. [1]. Due to their electrical characteristics (high
stability, high electrical permittivity, low conductivity etc.), these materials are feasible for
applications in short and millimeter waves. In addition to the features already mentioned the
production of technologies with Nb2O5 is feasible, considering that Brazil is the owner of
95% of world reserves of niobium.
This paper proposes the study and implementation of material niobium pentoxide
powder for the manufacture of microwave devices. To obtain the ceramic pellets it was used
the powder metallurgy process and the analysis of electrical properties were obtained through
a Vector Network Analyzer (VNA).
Experimental procedure
The material used in the manufacture of the pads was donated by CBMM (Companhia
Brasileira de Metalurgia e Minerao) who sent the niobium pentoxide in powder with
approximately 99% purity. The production of the specimens has followed the steps that can
be observed in Figure 1.

Figure 1: Steps for the production of ceramic pellets.

The production of the samples happened in four stages [2],[3]; (1) Weighing of the
material (for each specimen have been used 5 grams); (2) uniaxially pressed, with a hydraulic
press, in a die of 15 mm diameter, in the pressures of 1, 2 and 3 T;(3) sintering in a resistive
oven at temperatures of 800, 900, 1000 and 1100 C; (4) Construction of antennas. In
characterizing was measured return loss and loss tangent in a (VNA) model R&S ZVB14.
Results and discussion
In Figure 2 can be seen the loss tangent varying with the frequency, for 900 C, this
variation also can be observed with the increase of compression pressure.



Figure 2: a) Tangent of loss versus frequency for different values of compression, b) Tangent
of loss versus frequency for different sintering temperatures.
As shown in Figure 2 to the variation of the compaction pressure was proportional to
the variation of the loss tangent, the growth of a parameter means the growth of the other,
however this characteristic was not linear, so that loss tangent not grown with compressive
pressures at all temperatures, is slightly different at 800 and 1000 C. The variation of the
loss tangent with temperature also showed non-linear, the growth of a parameter did not
imply the growth of others. The values for relative permittivity was shown in the range of 6 to
8 were not found in the literature values for these constants in this frequency range of 1 to 4
GHz which is the frequency proposal work. Another important parameter in the analysis was
the return loss, once the antenna has been produced, this would serve to validate their
operation, the analysis of the return loss for the temperature of 1100 C for different pressure
values can be seen in Figure 3.

Figure 3: return loss for 1100 C.

This parameter is used to validate the device quality whereas antenna. Once again
can be observed non-linearity of the relationship between different samples, the S11 response
to that temperature was slightly lower than that obtained in other temperatures. With the
temperature increase was an increase in the number of pores in the material in turn altered the
dielectric characteristics of the samples. This modification allowed the same material, simply
by varying the manufacturing parameters it is possible to obtain devices with varied
characteristics. The average bandwidth was in the range 2 to 3 GHz acceptable values for
microwave devices
The manufacturing by powder metallurgy proved to be effective since through this
methodology is obtained devices with varied answers. The loss tangent showed acceptable
values for ceramic materials, however what draws attention is the pore formation in the
material after sintering. The results for the return loss proved that the device is effective as an
antenna. However, although the pores formed in the sintering process have caused different
results from those observed in other literatures, the possibility of manufacturing with this
material and this technique is large and would make production of this devices cheaper.
The authors are grateful to the Higher Education Personnel Training Coordination
(CAPES), the laboratory of mechanical tests of UFERSA, the National Council for Scientific
and Technological Development (CNPq).
[1] M. T. Sebastian, Dielectric Materials for Wireless Communication. 1. Ed. Oxford UK:
2008. 653p.
[2] D. de SOUZA, I.S. QUEIROZ JR., et al. "Influence of Compression Pressure Nb2O5 in
the Electrical Characterization for Application as microstrip antenna substrate ", 50 Brazilian
Ceramic Congress, 2015, Barra dos Coqueiros, SE.
[3] D. de SOUZA, I.S. QUEIROZ JR., et al. "Sintering temperature influence on Permittivity
and Tangent Loss of pentoxide Niobium for Application as microstrip antenna substrate ", 50
Brazilian Ceramic Congress, 2015, Barra dos Coqueiros, SE.