# Waveguides

• Rectangular Waveguides
– TEM, TE and TM waves
– Cutoff Frequency
– Wave Propagation
– Wave Velocity,
Waveguides
• In the previous chapters, a pair of
conductors was used to guide
electromagnetic wave propagation.
This propagation was via the
transverse electromagnetic (TEM)
mode, meaning both the electric and
magnetic field components were
transverse, or perpendicular, to the
direction of propagation.
• In this chapter we investigate wave-
guiding structures that support
propagation in non-TEM modes,
namely in the transverse electric (TE)
and transverse magnetic (TM) modes.
• In general, the term waveguide refers
to constructs that only support non-
TEM mode propagation. Such
constructs share an important trait:
they are unable to support wave
propagation below a certain frequency,
termed the cutoff frequency.
Rectangular
waveguide
Circular
waveguide
Optical Fiber
Dielectric Waveguide
Rectangular Waveguide
Location of modes
• Let us consider a rectangular waveguide
with interior dimensions are a x b,
• Waveguide can support TE and TM modes.
– In TE modes, the electric field is transverse
to the direction of propagation.
– In TM modes, the magnetic field that is
transverse and an electric field component is
in the propagation direction.
• The order of the mode refers to the field
configuration in the guide, and is given by m
and n integer subscripts, TE
mn
and TM
mn.

– The m subscript corresponds to the number
of half-wave variations of the field in the x
direction, and
– The n subscript is the number of half-wave
variations in the y direction.
• A particular mode is only supported above
its cutoff frequency. The cutoff frequency is
given by
2 2 2 2
1
2 2
mn
r r
c
m n c m n
f
a b a b
uc u c
= + +
| | | | | | | |
=
| | | |
\ . \ . \ . \ .
Rectangular Waveguide
1 1 1 1
o r o r o o r r r r
c
u
uc u u c c u c u c u c
= = = =
8
where 3 10 m/s c = ×
Table 7.1: Some Standard Rectangular Waveguide
Waveguide
Designation
a
(in)
b
(in)
t
(in)
f
c10

(GHz)
freq range
(GHz)
WR975 9.750 4.875 .125 .605 .75 – 1.12
WR650 6.500 3.250 .080 .908 1.12 – 1.70
WR430 4.300 2.150 .080 1.375 1.70 – 2.60
WR284 2.84 1.34 .080 2.08 2.60 – 3.95
WR187 1.872 .872 .064 3.16 3.95 – 5.85
WR137 1.372 .622 .064 4.29 5.85 – 8.20
WR90 .900 .450 .050 6.56 8.2 – 12.4
WR62 .622 .311 .040 9.49 12.4 - 18
Location of modes
Rectangular Waveguide
Rectangular Waveguide
The cutoff frequency is given by
2 2
2
mn
r r
c
c m n
f
a b
u c
= +
| | | |
| |
\ . \ .
2 2
2
mn
c
c m n
f
a b
= +
| | | |
| |
\ . \ .
8
where 3 10 m/s c = ×
r
r
For air 1
and 1
u
c
=
=
To understand the concept of cutoff frequency, you can use the analogy of a road
system with lanes having different speed limits.
Rectangular Waveguide
Rectangular Waveguide • Let us take a look at the field pattern for two
modes, TE
10
and TE
20
– In both cases, E only varies in the x direction;
since n = 0, it is constant in the y direction.
– For TE
10
, the electric field has a half sine
wave pattern, while for TE
20
a full sine wave
pattern is observed.
Rectangular Waveguide
Example
Let us calculate the cutoff frequency for the first four modes of WR284 waveguide.
From Table 7.1 the guide dimensions are a = 2.840 mils and b = 1.340 mils.
Converting to metric units we have a = 7.214 cm and b = 3.404 cm.
2 2
2
mn
c
c m n
f
a b
= +
| | | |
| |
\ . \ .
( )
8
10
3 10
100
2.08 GHz
2 2 7.214 1
c
m
x
c cm
s
f
a cm m
= = =
( )
8
01
3 10
100
4.41 GHz
2 2 3.404 1
c
m
x
c cm
s
f
b cm m
= = =
20
4.16 GHz
c
c
f
a
= =
8
2 2
11
3 10
1 1 100
4.87 GHz
2 7.214 3.404 1
c
m
x
cm
s
f
cm cm m
= + =
| | | |
| |
\ . \ .
TE
10
:
TE
01
:
8
where 3 10 m/s c = ×
TE
20
:
TE
11
:
TE
10
TE
01
TE
20
TE
11

2.08 GHz 4.16 GHz
4.41 GHz
4.87 GHz
TM
11

Rectangular Waveguide
Example
8
For air 3 10 m/s c = ×
Rectangular Waveguide - Wave Propagation
We can achieve a qualitative understanding of
wave propagation in waveguide by considering the
wave to be a superposition of a pair of TEM waves.

Let us consider a TEM wave propagating in the z
direction. Figure shows the wave fronts; bold lines
indicating constant phase at the maximum value of
the field (+E
o
), and lighter lines indicating constant
phase at the minimum value (-E
o
).

The waves propagate at a velocity u
u
, where the u
subscript indicates media unbounded by guide
walls. In air, u
u
= c.
Now consider a pair of identical TEM waves, labeled
as u+ and u- in Figure (a). The u+ wave is
propagating at an angle +u to the z axis, while the u-
wave propagates at an angle –u.

These waves are combined in Figure (b). Notice that
horizontal lines can be drawn on the superposed
waves that correspond to zero field. Along these
lines the u+ wave is always 180° out of phase with
the u- wave.
Rectangular Waveguide - Wave Propagation
Rectangular Waveguide - Wave Propagation
Since we know E = 0 on a perfect conductor, we can replace
the horizontal lines of zero field with perfect conducting walls.
Now, u+ and u- are reflected off the walls as they propagate
along the guide.

The distance separating adjacent zero-field lines in Figure (b),
or separating the conducting walls in Figure (a), is given as the
dimension a in Figure (b).

The distance a is determined by the angle u and by the
distance between wavefront peaks, or the wavelength ì. For a
given wave velocity u
u
, the frequency is f = u
u
/ì.

If we fix the wall separation at a, and change the frequency, we
must then also change the angle u if we are to maintain a
propagating wave. Figure (b) shows wave fronts for the u+
wave.

The edge of a +E
o
wave front (point A) will line up with the
edge of a –E
o
front (point B), and the two fronts must be ì/2
apart for the m = 1 mode.
(a)
(b)
a
Rectangular Waveguide - Wave Propagation
The waveguide can support propagation as long as the wavelength
is smaller than a critical value, ì
c
, that occurs at u = 90°, or
2
u
c
c
u a
m f
ì = =
Where f
c
is the cutoff frequency for the propagating mode.
sin
c
c
f
f
ì
u
ì
= =
We can relate the angle u to the operating frequency and
the cutoff frequency by
2
sin
m
a
ì
u =
For any value of m, we can write by simple trigonometry
2
sin
u
u a
m f
ì u = =
Rectangular Waveguide - Wave Propagation
A constant phase point moves along the wall from A to D. Calling
this phase velocity u
p
, and given the distance l
is
2
cos
m
l
ì
u
=
Then the time t
to travel from A to D is
2
cos
p p
l m
t
u u
ì
u
= =
Since the times t
and t
AC
must be equal, we have
cos
u
p
u
u
u
=
The time t
AC
it takes for the wavefront to move from A
to C (a distance l
AC
) is
2
Wavefront Velocity
Distance from A to C
AC
u u
AC
l m
t
u u
ì
= = =
( )
2
1
u
p
c
u
u
f
f
=
÷
Rectangular Waveguide - Wave Propagation
( )
2
2 2
cos cos 1 sin 1
c
f f u u u = = ÷ = ÷
cos
u
p
u
u
u
=
The Phase velocity is given by
using
cos
G u
u u u =
( )
2
1
c
G u
f
u u
f
= ÷
The Group velocity is given by
The Wave velocity is given by
1 1 1 1
u
o r o r o o r r r r
c
u
uc u u c c u c u c u c
= = = =
8
where 3 10 m/s c = ×
Wave velocity
Phase velocity
p
u
Group velocity
Beach
Ocean
Phase velocity
p
u
u
u
Wave velocity
u
u
G
u
Group velocity
Analogy!
Point of contact
Rectangular Waveguide - Wave Propagation
The ratio of the transverse electric field to the transverse magnetic field for a
propagating mode at a particular frequency is the waveguide impedance.
2
,
1
TE
u
mn
c
Z
f
f
n
=
÷
| |
|
\ .
For a TE mode, the wave impedance is For a TM mode, the wave impedance is
2
. 1
TM
c
mn u
f
Z
f
n
| |
= ÷
|
\ .
( )
2
1
c
u
f
f
| | = ÷
The phase constant is given by
( )
2
1
u
c
f
f
ì
ì =
÷
The guide wavelength is given by
Example
Rectangular Waveguide
Example
Rectangular Waveguide
Let’s determine the TE mode impedance looking into a 20 cm long section of shorted WR90
waveguide operating at 10 GHz.
From the Waveguide Table 7.1, a = 0.9 inch (or) 2.286 cm and b = 0.450 inch (or) 1.143 cm.
2 2
2
mn
c
c m n
f
a b
= +
| | | |
| |
\ . \ .
TE
10
6.56 GHz
Mode Cutoff Frequency
TE
01
13.12 GHz
TE
11
14.67 GHz
TE
20
13.13 GHz
TE
02
26.25 GHz
At 10 GHz, only the TE
10
mode is supported!
TE
10
6.56 GHz
Mode Cutoff Frequency
TE
01
13.12 GHz
TE
11
14.67 GHz
TE
20
13.13 GHz
TE
02
26.25 GHz
TE
10
TE
20
TE
01
TE
11

TM
11

6.56 GHz 13.12 GHz
TE
02

26.25 GHz
14.67 GHz
Rearrange
13.13 GHz
Example
Rectangular Waveguide
10
2
120
500 .
6.56GHz
1-
10GHz
TE
Z
t O
= = O
| |
|
\ .
( )
10
tan
IN
TE
Z jZ | = l
The impedance looking into a short circuit is
given by
The TE
10
mode impedance
( )
2 2
9 2
8
2
1 1
2 10 10
6.56
1 158
10
3 10
c c
u
f f f
f c f
x Hz
m
GHz m
x
s
t
| |
t
= ÷ = ÷
= ÷ =
| | | |
| |
\ . \ .
| |
|
\ .
The TE
10
mode propagation constant is
given by
( ) ( ) 500 tan 31.6 100
IN
Z j j = O = O
( ) 500 tan 158 0.2
IN