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A Circular Disk Microstrip WLAN Antenna for Wearable Applications

S.Sankaralingam#1 and Bhaskar Gupta#2

Dept. of Electronics and Tele-Communication Engineering, Jadavpur University Kolkata 700 032, India 1 2
Abstract The evolution of antenna technology for man-machine interface has taken quantum leaps in utilizing textile materials as antenna substrates. In future this will allow complete freedom to develop body-worn antenna systems embedded in so- called smart clothes. Smart clothes will emerge in various sports outfits, emergency workers outfits, military, medical, space applications and so on. The ability to establish wireless communication link is an essential requirement for smart clothes. In this paper, a circular disk microstrip WLAN antenna for wearable applications has been designed. This wearable antenna meant to meet the Bluetooth specifications has been developed by using copper conducting parts in case I and electrotextile (smart cloth) in case II. In both cases indigo blue jeans cotton fabric is used as the substrate material. Thus the suitability of fabric substrate materials for the development of microstrip patch antennas is also well demonstrated. Keywords circular patch antenna, wearable antenna, Wireless LAN, impedance bandwidth, radiation pattern, gain, efficiency

Fig. 1 Jacket with a wearable antenna

I. INTRODUCTION This Body Area Networks (BANs) are natural progression from the Personal Area Network (PAN) concept, and they are wireless networks with nodes normally situated on the human body or in close proximity. Advances in communication and electronic technologies have enabled the development of compact and intelligent devices that can be placed on the human body or implanted inside it, thus facilitating the introduction of BANs. Huge processing and complex BANs will be needed in future to provide the powerful computational facilities required for advanced applications. These requirements have led to increasing research and development activities in the area of WBAN applications for many purposes [1], with the main interest being in health care and wearable computers. Wireless BANs can be applied in many fields [2] like emergency services, military applications etc. The ultimate WBAN should allow users to enjoy such applications with minimum interference, low transmission power and low complexity. A wearable antenna is an essential subsystem of any body-centred Wireless LAN and it plays a paramount role in an optimal design of any wearable system. The Wireless LAN devices use the following ISM wavebands according to the IEEE 802.11 standards: Bluetooth 2450 MHz (IEEE 802.11b) Hyper LAN 5800 MHz (IEEE 802.11a)

Bluetooth ISM band ranges from 2400 MHz -2485 MHz. Bluetooth technology is aimed for short-range communication between all kinds of wireless devices. Microstrip patch is a representative antenna for any wearable application, as it can be made conformal for integration into clothing [3-4]. An example of a wearable antenna is shown in figure 1. The primary objective of this paper is to design and study the performance characteristics of a textile circular disk microstrip antenna suitable for WLAN applications. The conductive parts of this antenna are assumed to be copper in the first case and Flectron electro-textile in the second case. Flectron is a high quality copper plated nylon ripstop fabric with a very low surface resistivity. Indigo blue jeans cotton fabric is chosen as the insulating substrate material in both cases. The antennas are modeled to analyse their important parameters like impedance bandwidth, radiation patterns, gain and efficiency. II. ANTENNA DESIGN PROCEDURE The main advantage of a circular microstrip configuration, compared to its rectangular geometry for an identical design, is that the circular disk occupies less physical area. Thus, in applications, such as arrays, circular geometries are preferred. The basic disk antenna geometry, shown in figure 2 comprises a thin, conducting circular disk on an insulating fabric substrate backed by a ground plane. In order to design this type of antenna, it is necessary to know the exact value of dielectric constant of the substrate material chosen.

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resonant frequency (fr ) = 2.45 GHz height of the substrate (h) = 2.84 mm. relative permittivity (r ) = 1.67 loss tangent (tan ) = 0.03 0

The design procedure [6], based on cavity model wing steps: formulation, involves the follow The resonant frequency (fr)110 0 for the dominant mode of propagation, in the case of a cir rcular patch antenna, is written as [6]:
Fig. 2 Circular patch antenna

Accurate value of dielectric constant of indigo blue jeans cotton fabric material is determined experimentally e by employing a novel technique proposed by the authors in [5]. This technique is based on resonance meth hod and focuses on the use of microstrip patch radiator, which contains the fabric material as its substrate. The permittivity of f the fabric is easily extracted from the measured resonant frequency of a rectangular microstrip patch radiator designed using an assumed approximate value of the substrate e dielectric constant. The resonant frequency is read from the S11 plot of the patch radiator as shown in figure 3.The permitti ivity of the indigo blue jeans cotton fabric is determined as 1.67 from the knowledge of shift in measured freque ency from design frequency of 2.45 GHz. Similarly, to determine the loss tangent of the fabric used, the gain of the very same rectangular micro ostrip patch radiator developed for determination of fabric is me easured. By reverse engineering technique, simulations are done using EM simulator to find the gain of that anten nna by taking an approximate value of loss tangent of the t substrate. The simulations are repeated by keeping the va alue of loss tangent as a variable in order to match the me easured gain with simulated gain. The design specifications of the wearable disk antenna are listed hereunder:



The resonant frequency of eqn. .(1) does not take into account fringing. Fringing makes the pa atch look electrically larger. So, a correction is introduced by using u an effective radius ae, to replace the actual radius a. The T formula [6] for effective radius is given by,



The modified equation of the e resonant frequency for the dominant mode  is give en below:



A first-order approximation to the solution of (2) for a is to find ae using (3) and to substitut te that into (2). This leads to




Fig. 3 S11 plot of the rectangular patch radiator

and height h is in cm. The radius of the circular pa atch is computed to be 26.3 mm. Modelling of WLAN antennas in both the cases is performed using the Method of Moments (MoM) based IE3D simulator from Zeland Software Inc., USA. An infinite ground plane is assumed so as to (i) avoid back k lobes in the radiation pattern of the antenna (ii) reduce the di iffraction and scattering effects at the edges of the ground plane and to (iii) minimize the undesirable effects of surface waves. w The surface resistivity of the Flectron is assumed to be e 0.007/sq in case II. While modelling the coaxial probe fee ed to patch, the inner and outer diameters of the probe are ta aken as 1.3 mm and 4.1 mm respectively. The feed position in both the cases is optimized to get good matching character ristics (50 ohm impedance) at the centre frequency. It is locat ted at a radial distance of 10.2 mm from the centre of patch towards its circumference. A

shorting pin of 1.0 mm diameter is conn nected through the ground plane to the centre of the patch, pie ercing the substrate material, in order to suppress the undes sired higher order modes. III. SIMULATION RESULTS A. Return loss characteristics quency range from Simulations are carried out for the freq 2.0 GHz to 3.0 GHz with a frequency step size s of 20 MHz. As depicted in Fig. 4, both copper (case I) and electro-textile (case II) microstrip WLAN antennas reson nate at a frequency of 2.449 GHz and exhibit good impedance bandwidth. Case I provides an impedance bandwidth of 116 6.74 MHz (4.77%) with a return loss of -32 dB at the resonant frequency. In case II the impedance bandwidth is computed to t be 113.27 MHz (4.62%) with a return loss of -23.13 dB B at the resonant frequency of 2.449 GHz. The resulted imp pedance bandwidth in each case is good enough for WLAN app plications. B. Far-field radiation pattern characteristi ics The simulations are carried out at a si ingle frequency of 2.449 GHz to get the total far-field radiatio on patterns in both planes of = 00 and = 900 in each case of o the antenna. Fig. 5 shows the far-field radiation pattern plots s of antenna in case I. In the = 00 plane, the developed wearable antenna provides a gain of 5.7444 dBi and a 3 dB d beam width of 77.420. The gain and beam width in the = 900 plane are e pattern plots for 5.7444 dBi and 78.670 respectively. The antenna in case II are depicted in Fig. 6. Th his antenna yields a gain of 5.17471 dBi and a 3 dB beam widt th of 78.6890 in the 0 = 0 plane. The respective quantities in the = 900 plane are 5.17471 dBi and 77.59110. C. Gain and Efficiency f from 2.0 The simulations are done for a range of frequency GHz to 3.0 GHz in both cases of the anten nna. Variations of gain and directivity as a function of freque ency for both cases under consideration, as obtained from thes se simulations, are shown in Fig. 7 and 8 respectively. Simil larly, variations of radiating efficiency as a function of freque ency for these two cases are illustrated in Fig. 9. At the design n frequency of 2.45 GHz, the antennas directive gain and powe er gain are 8.26506 dBi and 5.752 dBi respectively for case I. The electro-textile antenna yields a gain of 5.18685dBi an nd a directivity of 8.26422dBi. At the design frequency of o 2.45 GHz the efficiency of the antenna in case I is 56.12% % and in case II it is around 50%. The gain and efficiency yield ded by these textile antennas are adequate enough for practical considerations. c

Fig. 4: Return loss char racteristics of the antenna

Fig. 5 Total radiation n pattern plots (Case I)

Fig. 6 Total radiation n pattern plots (Case II)

Fig. 7 Variations of gain n as a function of frequency

Fig. 8 Variations of directivity as a functio on of frequency

The performances of the ele ectro-textile antennas are very much comparable to the copp per based microstrip antennas. The electro-textile based anten nnas are more suitable as they can be built easily for integrat tion into clothing compared to their copper counterparts. The e antennas presented are very versatile and it is easy to mak ke them to operate at various frequency bands. In addition, the t well known techniques [7] of improving bandwidth and ob btaining different polarizations adopted for conventional patch h antennas are readily suitable for wearable antennas too. It may m be concluded that textile microstrip patch antennas are very good alternatives to the patch antennas on standard PCB substrates for various applications. The textile anten nnas must be drapable as the fabrics can take diverse shapes. . The authors research activity is underway to study these bend ding effects on the performance characteristics of wearable anten nnas. REFER RENCES Park S and Jayaraman S, Enhancing the quality of life through wearable tech hnology, IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Magazine, pp 41- 48, (22) 2003. P.Salomen and H.Hurme, , Modelling of a Fabric GPS Antenna for Wearab ble Applications, Proceedings of IASTED International Conference Modelling and Simulation, Vol. 1, pp18 23, 2003 M.Tanaka and J.H. Jang, Wearable W Microstrip Antenna, Proceedings of IEEE APS S International Symposium and URSI North American n Radio Science Meeting, Columbus, OH, USA, June e 2003. S.Sankaralingam and Bhaskar B Gupta, A Novel Technique for Determinat tion of Dielectric Constant of Fabric Materials for Wea arable Antennas, Proceedings of International Co onference on Near-Field Characterization and Ima aging (ICONIC 2009), Taipei, Taiwan, Vol. 1, pp 247-25 50, June 2009. Constantine A.Balanis, A Antenna Theory: Analysis and Design, 2nd edition, John n Wiley & Sons (Asia) Pte Ltd., Singapore, pp 722-736, 19 997 Ramesh Garg, Prakash Bhartia, Inder Bahl and Apisak Ittipiboon, Microstrip Ante enna Design handbook, Artech House Publishers, 2001

[1] [2]


Fig. 9 Plot of efficiency Vs frequ uency


D. Comparison with other antenna geometr ry For an identical design, the circular disk microstrip WLAN antenna gives more or less similar performa ance characteristics compared to that with rectangular geo ometry. The main advantage of a circular disk microstrip antenna is that it occupies less physical area. Appendix 1 be elow gives a quick comparison of performance characteristics of o these antennas IV. CONCLUSIONS The results obtained in this study reve eal that microstrip antenna is a suitable candidate for wearab ble applications. In this paper textile microstrip antennas for WLAN W applications have been designed using both copper and d electro-textile as conducting parts. [5]




Geometry Parameter Resonant frequency Impedance bandwidth Gain in = 00 plane Beam width in = 00 plane Gain in = 900 plane Beam width in = 900 plane Physical area Rectangular 2.449 GHz 118.7 MHz (4.84%) 5.9143 34 dBi 79.284 440 5.9143 34 dBi 73.675 570 23.73 cm2 cular Circ Copper 2.449 GHz 116.74 MHz (4.77%) 5.7444 dBi 77.420 5.7444 dBi 78.670 21.73 cm2 Flectron 2.449 GHz 113.27 MHz (4.62%) 5.17471dBi 78.680 5.17471 dBi 77.590 21.73 cm2