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12, 2013 979

A Four-Antenna System With High Isolation for

Mobile Phones
Jingli Guo, Jiachang Fan, Ling Sun, and Baohua Sun

Abstract—In this letter, a four-antenna system with high isola- are proposed, and the isolation between the antennas is higher
tion for mobile phones is presented. The antenna system, which than 20 dB at higher frequency band (2.3–2.69 GHz). In [7], the
consists of one main antenna and three auxiliary antennas, is lo- authors used four antenna elements to cover the UMTS band,
cated on the phone circuit board with a size of 135 65 0.8 mm .
The main antenna located on the top of the circuit is used to send and the isolation between four antennas is higher than 11.5 dB.
and receive signals, which adopts improved monopole antenna, Until now, four antennas in one terminal working on the band of
to cover LTE700/2300/2500, GSM850/900/1800/1900/UMTS, and GSM900, as well as the lower frequency bands such as LTE700
2.4-GHz WLAN bands efficiently. Three auxiliary antennas (704–787 MHz), are rarely involved. As we all know, the lower
with the same size of 40 6 0.8 mm are respectively located the operating frequency is, the larger the antenna will be. This
along the two vertical sides and the bottom of the circuit board.
As receiving antennas, these auxiliary antennas work in the
will bring great challenges for the engineers to finish the four-
1880–2690-MHz band. By suitable arrangement and design, the antenna design in such a limited space as mobile phones.
isolation between antennas of higher than 15 dB can be obtained, In this letter, a four-antenna system with high isolation for
and the efficiency of the antenna system in the working frequency mobile phones is proposed. The system consists of a main
band reaches 40% or above, which can meet the requirements of antenna and three auxiliary antennas. The main antenna located
antenna performance in mobile communication area.
at the top of main board can be used as receiving antenna
Index Terms—Coupling feed, four-antenna system, high-isola- or transmitting antenna, covering the LTE700/2300/2500
tion antenna. (698–787/2300–2400/2500–2690 MHz), GSM850/900/1800/
1900/UMTS (824–894/880–960/1710–1880/1850–1990/
I. INTRODUCTION 1920–2170 MHz), and 2.4-GHz WLAN (2400–2484 MHz)
bands. The three auxiliary antennas with the same size of

A S ONE of the key technologies of the fourth-genera-

tion mobile communications, the multiple-input–mul-
tiple-output (MIMO) system has attracted more and more
40 6 0.8 mm can cover the 1880–2690-MHz band. The
measured results show that the isolation between any of the
antenna is greater than 15 dB, and the efficiency of the antennas
attention, as it can obtain high capacity and high transmission in the working frequency band reaches 40% or above.
speed under the background of limited frequency resources.
This new technology raises new requirements for the per- II. ANTENNA DESIGN
formance of the mobile terminal antennas. In addition to the
requirement of compact size and multiband for single terminal The system circuit board of the mobile phone discussed in this
antenna, appropriate locations and high isolation of the multiple letter is of size 135 65 mm due to the fact that the screens of
antennas in a limited space are the focus of this letter. mobile phones now are usually 4.5 or 5 in. The FR4 substrate
In recent literature, the designed multiantenna mobile termi- of the mainboard has a thickness of 0.8 mm.
nals are mainly operating at 2.4/5.15-GHz Wireless Local Area As shown in Fig. 1(a), the main antenna is constructed as an
Network (WLAN) band [1]–[3]. In [4], the operating frequency improved monopole antenna. It is printed on a small no-ground
of the antenna is below 2 GHz, but the antenna occupies a rela- board space of 65 9.5 mm , and its thickness is only 4 mm.
tively large space, thus its practical application is limited. In [5], The antenna comprises a feeding strip and two parasitic strips
two symmetrical monopole antennas are placed on the top of the to produce different current path. By bending the two parasitic
board, which works at UMTS/2.4-GHz WLAN bands. Unlike strips, the overall size of the antenna is greatly reduced. In ad-
two-antenna systems mentioned above, discussion of three or dition, coupled feeding and shorted strip are adopted to achieve
more antennas in one terminal is still insufficient. In [6], three distributed matching circuit [8], [9]. Point A in Fig. 1 is
folded monopole antennas covering WiBro/WLAN/M-WiMAX the feed point, and point B is the shorting point. Ultimately, the
main antenna can cover 704–960- and 1710–2690-MHz bands.
Other detailed dimensions of the antenna are shown in Fig. 1(b).
Manuscript received April 09, 2013; revised May 17, 2013 and June 20, 2013;
accepted July 10, 2013. Date of publication July 31, 2013; date of current ver-
The current distributions of the antenna at different frequencies
sion August 16, 2013. This work was supported by the Fundamental Research are shown in Fig. 1(c). It can be seen that at the first resonance
Funds for the Central Universities of China under Grant K5051202008. (Cor- of low band, the current mainly focuses on the shorting strip.
responding author: J. Fan)
The authors are with the National Key Laboratory of Antennas and
At the second resonance, the current distributes mostly on the
Microwave Technology, Xidian University, Xi’an 710071, China (e-mail: feeding part and shorting strip. At the resonance of high fre-;;; quency band, the currents on the feeding part, shorting line, and
Color versions of one or more of the figures in this letter are available online
parasitic strip play relatively even roles.
at During design of the multiple antennas for the MIMO
Digital Object Identifier 10.1109/LAWP.2013.2273551 system, the isolation between antennas is of great importance.

1536-1225 © 2013 IEEE


Fig. 2. (a) General view of the proposed mobile antenna. (b) Structure of the
phone circuit board (back view).

Fig. 3. (a) Geometry of the auxiliary antenna. (b) Dimensions of the auxiliary

Fig. 1. (a) Geometry of the main antenna. (b) Dimensions of the main antenna.
(c) Current distribution on the main antenna at different frequency.

The strong mutual coupling will cause not only the impedance
of antenna mismatch, but also the relevance of signal in-
creasing. In order to meet the lower correlation coefficient of
the MIMO system requirements, the isolation between antenna
elements needs to be improved as much as possible. There
are some techniques such as adding a connecting line [10],
additional structure [11], and matching network [12] to improve
the isolation between antennas. So far, these methods are only
useful in a relatively narrow frequency band. Besides that, the
additional structure will lead to the limited space of terminals
being more crowded and make the design of the four-antenna Fig. 4. Variation of the return loss of the auxiliary antenna (Antenna 4) with
system more difficult. In this letter, we try to utilize more direct the increase of parameter .
ways including appropriate arrangement and antenna type to
improve the isolation.
The overall structure of the four-antenna system is shown in patches. Point A is the feeding point. Point C and D are two
Fig. 2(a). The main antenna (Antenna 1) is located at the top metallic vias to join the metal patches of the two sides together.
of the mobile phone circuit board, and three auxiliary antennas Moreover, the antenna has a shorted strip with its one terminal
(Antenna 2, Antenna 3, Antenna 4) are arranged at the two sides at the edge of the bigger radiated patch, and the other terminals
and the bottom of the board, respectively. The auxiliary an- at point B of the circuit board.
tennas are placed perpendicularly to the phone main board as The length of feeding line ( ) has a great effect on the perfor-
shown in Fig. 2, which is beneficial to improve the isolation be- mance of the auxiliary antenna. Fig. 4 shows the variation of the
cause the primary current on the auxiliary antennas and main return loss of the auxiliary antenna with the increase of the pa-
antenna are orthogonal. Another advantage of this arrangement rameter . The three auxiliary antennas are in the same structure,
is to save the occupied no-ground space of the antenna. The po- so Antenna 4 is selected here to observe the impact of param-
sitions of the auxiliary antennas along the two sides are deter- eter . It can be seen that with the decrease of the feeding-line
mined by a guideline of enough distance between four antennas. length, the size of no-ground space is reduced, which will lead
The three auxiliary antennas used in the letter are the same to the mismatch of the auxiliary antenna in its upper band, and
type as shown in Fig. 3. It is printed on FR4 substrate ( the bandwidth is narrowed. Because the antenna size should be
, thickness 0.8 mm) and comprises four rectangular metal as small as possible, and the return loss of the antenna should be

Fig. 7. Measured and simulated isolation between the main antenna and the
three auxiliary antennas.

Fig. 5. Photograph of the proposed four-element antenna system. (a) Front

view. (b) Back view.

Fig. 8. Measured and simulated isolation of three auxiliary antennas.

Fig. 6. Measured and simulated return loss of the main and auxiliary antennas.

larger than 6 dB, the length is selected to be 5 mm in the final


The four-antenna system is fabricated and shown in Fig. 5.
The return loss for each antenna is measured, and the simulated
results obtained by HFSS [13] are given for reference. It can
be seen from Fig. 6, with the definition of 3:1 VSWR (6-dB re-
turn loss), the main antenna can successfully cover the lower Fig. 9. ECCs of the four antennas.
frequency band of 704–960 MHz and upper frequency band
of 1710–2690 MHz. For the three auxiliary antennas, the good
matching band is from 1880 to 2690 MHz. Due to the relative Fig. 8 shows the coupling between the three auxiliary an-
position of the three antennas on board and the difference of the tennas. It can be observed that the coupling is all below 15 dB
current distribution, the return loss suffers some variance. in the whole working frequency band. Moreover, the coupling
Fig. 7 shows the coupling between the main antenna and the between Antenna 3 and Antenna 4 (S34) is below 22 dB. Fig. 9
auxiliary antennas. It can be concluded that the coupling be- presents the envelope correlation coefficient (ECC) character-
tween the main antenna and the auxiliary antennas (S12, S13, istics estimated by the -parameters [14]. In the working fre-
S14) is below 15 dB in the 700–3000-MHz band. The differ- quency band of four antennas (1880–2690 MHz), their ECCs
ence between them illustrates that the mutual coupling is related are lower than 0.1.
with not only the distance, but also the relative position of the Fig. 10 shows the radiation patterns of the proposed antenna
antennas and the current distribution on the main board. in the -plane, -plane, and -plane at 700, 900, 1900, and

its maximum value can achieve 77%. The measured efficiency

of Antenna 2, Antenna 3, and Antenna 4 is nearly the same.
The measured efficiency of any auxiliary antenna is higher than
40% at the 1880–2690-MHz band, which can satisfy the require-
ments of the application.

A four-antenna mobile terminal with high isolation has been
proposed. The main antenna and three auxiliary antennas are
reasonably designed and located on the circuit board. By the ap-
plication of coupling feeding, parasitic strips, and shorted strip,
the main antenna can successfully cover LTE700/2300/2500,
GSM850/900/1800/1900/UMTS, and 2.4-GHz WLAN bands.
By perpendicular arrangement, the three auxiliary antennas op-
erated well in 1880–2690 MHz with a small occupied space.
The measured isolation between any two antennas is greater
than 15 dB, and the measured efficiency reached 40% or above,
which shows the design presented here performs well. In the
future, we will broaden the auxiliary antennas to operate more
frequency bands.

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