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Microstrip Trainer MST532

PROPERTIES OF A DIRECTIONAL COUPLER

CONTENT

EQUIPMENT
REQUIRED

ASSIGNMENT 3

The properties of a microstrip directional coupler, its coupling


and directivity, are investigated experimentally. The directional
properties of a coupler are explained and applications of this
important component in microwave measurements and
systems are described.
Qty

Designation

Description

VCO

Voltage controlled oscillator,


microwave source

CIR

3-port circulator

Crystal detector

DC

Directional coupler

MT (red spot)

50 ohm coaxial termination

PPC

SMA plug-to-plug coaxial connectors

Power supply for VCO source

Digital voltmeter for diode detector

Note:

The power supply should not be used in tracking


mode.

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Microstrip Trainer MST532

PROPERTIES OF A DIRECTIONAL COUPLER


OBJECTIVES

KNOWLEDGE LEVEL

ASSIGNMENT 3

When you have completed this assignment you will:

Know the definitions of coupling coefficient and directivity as


applied to a directional coupler

Have measured the coupling coefficient and directivity of


the microstrip directional coupler supplied in the MST532
Microstrip Trainer

Appreciate the bandwidth limits over which the directional


coupler operates

Know applications of the directional coupler in microwave


measurements and systems.

No prior microwave knowledge is required to carry out this


assignment.

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Microstrip Trainer MST532

Assignment 3

INTRODUCTION
Directional Coupler
Definitions and Applications
Decoupled
port power

Coupled
power

P4

P3

P1

P3
(ideally zero)

4
2

Decoupled
port power
P
P4
3

P2

P1

Coupled
power

P4

4
2

P2

Incident
power

(a) Forward transmission:


coupling coefficient , c
directivity , d

P4

=P

(b) Reverse direction:


P4
c=
P2

P3

=P

d=

P3
P4

Fig 5.3.1 Transmission properties of a directional coupler


A directional coupler consists essentially of a pair of coupled
transmission lines designed so a specific fraction of the power
flowing in one line in a given direction is coupled to the other
line; to propagate only in one direction but not in the other. The
directional coupling properties and definitions of coupling
coefficient and directivity may be explained with reference to
fig 5.3.1. In (a) microwave power incident at port 1 is
transmitted to port 2 with a certain fraction coupled to the
second line to emerge at port 3. Ideally zero power emerges at
port 4. The coupling is directional.
The coupling coefficient of the directional coupler is defined as:

c=

assuming all ports are matched. Coupling is usually expressed


in decibels, dB, i.e

coupling = 10log 10
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P3
P1

dB

Microstrip Trainer MST532

Assignment 3
e.g if c = 0.1, a -10dB coupler, the coupled power at port 3 is,
P3 = c P1 = 0.1 P1
if c = 0.01, a - 20dB coupler, P3 = 0.01 P1
In the reverse direction, see (b), power incident at port 2 is
transmitted to port 1 with directional coupling this time to port 4.
Ideally no power is coupled to port 3.
As a measure of the directional coupling properties, the term
directivity is used. It is defined as the ratio of the power to the
decoupled port to the power at the coupled port:

directivity , d =

P
P

in fig 5. 3. 1(a)

Directivity is usually quoted in dB,

directivity in dB = 10log 10

P4
P3

dB

Good quality directional couplers have directivities ranging from


0.01 (20dB) to 0.0001 (40 dB).

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Microstrip Trainer MST532

Assignment 3

Fig 5.3.2 Applications of directional couplers


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Microstrip Trainer MST532

Assignment 3
Directional couplers find important application in microwave
measurements, power monitoring and levelling, signal
combiners ... etc. Fig 5.3.2 shows three typical uses.
In (a) a small amount of the source power is coupled to the
power meter terminating the forward coupled branch of the
coupler. The power meter reading thus gives a direct measure
of the source power suitably scaled down by the coupling
coefficient of directional coupler (typically 20dB or 30dB
down on the main power).
(b) shows a simple measurement of reflection coefficient/return
loss. The power reflected at the input to the device under test is
measured by the power meter at port 4.
(c) shows a power levelling application. A small fraction of the
sweeper's power output is coupled to port 3, detected by the
crystal detector and the resulting voltage fed back to control, via
a voltage controlled attenuator network, the power output of the
sweeper, so it remains levelled (constant) with frequency.
3
1

4
s

DC

L= coupling length
s = coupled line separation
Fig 5.3.3 Directional Coupler, unit DC
The directional coupler to be investigated, unit DC shown in
fig 5.3.3, is an edge coupled microstrip coupler designed for Sband operation centred on 3GHz and to work in the standard 50
ohm system. Edge coupled types are suitable for relatively
weak coupling applications, typically in the coupling coefficient
range 0.03 (15dB) to 0.001 (30dB).
The important design parameters are the coupling length L and
the separation s between the two coupled lines. At the midband design frequency L should be approximately one quarter
of a guide wavelength, L 1/4g. The separation s determines
the coupling coefficient. The smaller the value of s the tighter
the coupling.

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Microstrip Trainer MST532

Assignment 3
PRACTICAL 3.1
To investigate the
directional properties
and determine the Coupling
Directivity and Insertion
Loss of a Directional
Coupler
To investigate experimentally the directional properties and
determine the coupling, directivity and insertion loss of a
directional coupler we need to measure the powers at its 4
ports, see fig 5.3.4:
P1 = incident power at port 1
P2 = through-put transmission power to port 2
P3 = power coupled to port 3
P4 = power to decoupled port 4
with ports 2, 3 and 4 matched, i.e terminated in 50 ohms.

Then, coupling =
directivity =
insertion loss =

P3
P1
P4
P3
P2
P1

or 10log 10
or 10 log 10
or 10log 10

P3
P1
P4
P3
P2
P1

dB
dB
dB

P3

P4

P1

P2

Fig 5.3.4 Powers at direction coupler ports


These measurements can be undertaken
experimental set-ups shown in fig 3.5.

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using

the

Microstrip Trainer MST532

Assignment 3
NOTES

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Microstrip Trainer MST532

Assignment 3

Fig 5.3.5 Directional Coupler measurement investigations

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Microstrip Trainer MST532

Assignment 3
1

P1 is measured using the circuit of (a). Note the circulator


port 3 is terminated in a 50 ohm matched load and acts as
an isolator for the VCO microwave source with low loss
transmission from port 1 to port 2.
The procedure for setting up the VCO to a given frequency
and using the detector and digital voltmeter for power
measurement are described in Assignment 1 Practical 1.1.

The coupled power P3 is measured using circuit (b). Note


ports 2 and 4 of the directional coupler are terminated in
matched loads. The crystal detector also presents a very
good match at port 3.

The power P4 to the decoupled port is measured using


circuit (c) with ports 2 and 3 terminated in 50 ohm matched
loads.

Finally the transmission through-put power, P2, is measured


using (d) with ports 3 and 4 each terminated in 50 ohms.

So as to investigate the directional coupler performance over a


band of frequencies take measurements at 2.5, 2.75, 3, 3.25
and 3.5GHz and use a copy of Table 5.3.1, reproduced at the
end of this assignment, to tabulate the results.

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Microstrip Trainer MST532

Assignment 3
PRACTICAL 3.2
Calculation of Coupling,
Directivity and
Insertion Loss
From the results obtained, use a copy of Table 5.3.2,
reproduced at the end of this assignment, to record the values
of coupling, directivity and insertion loss of the directional
coupler over the range 2.5 to 3.5GHz. Summarise these in a
brief statement of specification of the directional coupler's
performance over this band.
SUMMARY

The performance of an S-band microstrip directional coupler for


low-level coupling applications of the order of 20dB has been
investigated experimentally. From the measurements, values of
coupling, directivity and insertion loss over the range centred on
the mid-band frequency have been calculated and a
specification for the direction coupler drawn up.

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Microstrip Trainer MST532

RESULTS TABLES

f GHz

ASSIGNMENT 3

VCO
volts
V1

P1

V3

P3

V4

P4

V2

P2

2.5
2.75
3.0
3.25
3.5
Results Table 5.3.1

Coupling
f GHz

P3/P1

10 log P3/P1
dB

Directivity
P4/P3

10 log P4/P3
dB

2.5
2.75
3.0
3.25
3.5
Results Table 5.3.2

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Insertion Loss
P2/P1

10 log P2/P1
dB