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Circularly polarised microstrip antenna with

a tuning stub
Kin-Lu Wong and Yi-Fang Lin
A simple circular polarisation (CP) design of microstrip antennas
using a tuning stub is proposed and studied. It is also demonstrated
that, by applying this CP design method to a circular microstrip
patch with a cross slot having equal slot lengths, a compact
circularly-polarised microstrip antenna can easily be implemented,
with much more relaxed manufacturing tolerances as compared to
the case of using a cross slot of unequal slot lengths. Details of the
antenna designs are described, and experimental results are
presented and discussed.

Introduction: The use of a tuning stub has been shown to be effective


in the resonant frequency adjustment of microstrip antennas [1, 2].
Also, due to the frequency tuning capability of the tuning stub, it is
expected that with a proper stub length, the resonant mode in the
direction parallel to the stub can have a slightly lower resonant frequency than that in the direction perpendicular to the stub orientation. In this case, two near-degenerate orthogonal modes can be
excited using a single probe feed, which makes CP operation possible. To verify this prediction, we first apply this CP design method to
a simple circular patch antenna. Then, application of such a design
to a compact circular patch antenna with a cross slot [3] is also demonstrated. In this case, the cross slot cut in the patch has equal slot
lengths and the excitation of two near-degenerate orthogonal modes
is controlled by the tuning stub. This design can relax the stringent
fabrication tolerances when a cross slot of large slot length is
required for a large antenna size reduction. Both the regular-size and
compact CP designs with a tuning stub are implemented, and experimental results are analysed.

measured input impedance and boresight-direction axial ratio of a


typical design with left-hand CP operation (feed at point A). The
centre frequency, defined as the frequency with a minimum axial
ratio, is 2504MHz. The obtained CP bandwidth, determined from
the 3dB axial ratio, is 30MHz or 1.20%. The measured radiation
patterns in two orthogonal planes at 2504MHz are also plotted in
Fig. 3 and good left-hand CP radiation is observed.

Fig. 3 Measured radiation patterns in two orthogonal planes for antenna


shown in Fig. 1
a xy plane
b yz plane
f = 2504MHz
LHCP
RHCP

Fig. 4 Geometry of compact circularly polarised circular microstrip


antenna with left-hand CP operation

Fig. 1 Geometry of circularly polarised circular microstrip antenna with


tuning stub
A: left-hand CP radiation
B: right-hand CP radiation

Antenna design and experimental results: Fig. 1 shows the proposed


CP design for a simple circular patch antenna. A tuning stub of
length ,S and width w (,S >> w) is placed at the disk boundary in the
-directed resonant mode will have a
x direction. In this case, the x
slightly lower resonant frequency than the y -directed resonant
mode. By choosing a proper stub length and exciting the patch at
point A or B, CP radiation can be obtained. Fig. 2 presents the

Fig. 2 Measured input impedance and axial ratio in boresight direction of


antenna shown in Fig. 1
a Input impedance
b Axial ratio
h = 1.6mm, R = 4.4, D = 32mm, ,S = 6.9mm, w = 1mm, dP = 8.6mm

ELECTRONICS LETTERS

30th April 1998

Vol. 34

The proposed CP design is also applied to a circular microstrip


patch with a cross slot of equal slot lengths. The antenna design is
depicted in Fig. 4. The cross slot has a length ,, and the slot width is
chosen to be w, the same as that of the tuning stub. Also, unlike the
feed method, shown in Fig. 1, of using a coax for a simple circular
patch, a 50 microstrip feed line with a quarter-wavelength impedance transformer is used as the feed for CP excitation. This feed
method is a good alternative to the proximity-coupled method used
in [3] and is useful for integration applications with coplanar microwave integrated circuits. These feed methods are used rather than a
probe feed because, for such a design, no 50 feed position exists in
the microstrip patch when a large cross slot is introduced into the
patch [4], thus a probe feed method is not feasible for achieving CP
radiation with a good impedance matching condition.

Fig. 5 Measured input impedance and axial ratio in boresight direction of


antenna shown in Fig. 4
a Input impedance
b Axial ratio
h = 1.6mm, R = 4.4, D = 32mm, , = 30mm, ,S = 8.5mm, w = 1mm, ,T
= 27.0mm, wT = 0.8mm, wF = 3.0mm

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Based on the design in Fig. 4, a typical case with , = 30mm (~0.94


D) was implemented. The patch and substrate parameters are the
same as those used for a simple patch design, as shown above. The
measured input impedance and axial ratio are presented in Fig. 5. It
is seen that the centre frequency of CP operation is decreased to
1587MHz, which is only ~63.4% times that of the simple patch case.
This decrease in the operating frequency corresponds to a 60%
antenna size reduction, similar to that obtained using a cross slot of
unequal slot lengths [3]. The 3dB axial ratio bandwidth is found to
be 14MHz (or ~0.9%), which is less than that of the simple patch
case (1.20%), largely due to the decrease in the electrical thickness of
the substrate. It is also noted that the tuning stub in this design has a
length of 8.5mm (~0.26 D), which is slightly larger than that in the
simple patch design (6.9mm), although the operating frequency is
significantly decreased. When compared to the very small slot-length
difference (0.5mm or ~0.0075 times the disk diameter) required in

the design using a cross slot of unequal slot lengths [3], the present
compact CP design with a tuning stub can have much more relaxed
manufacturing tolerances. Fig. 6 shows the measured radiation patterns in two orthogonal planes at the centre frequency. Again, good
left-hand CP radiation is observed.
Conclusions: We have investigated the novel design of circularlypolarised microstrip antennas with a tuning stub. The proposed CP
design has been sucessfully applied to a simple circular patch
antenna and a compact circular patch antenna with a cross slot of
equal slot lengths. Since the required tuning-stub length for CP operation is ~26% of the disk diameter studied here, and is relatively
insensitive to the operating frequency variation, the stringent fabrication tolerances required in [3] are significantly relaxed in our proposed design.
IEE 1998
Electronics Letters Online No: 19980593

22 January 1998

Kin-Lu Wong and Yi-Fang Lin (Department of Electrical Engineering,


National Sun Yat-Sen University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan, Republic of China)

References
1

Fig. 6 Measured radiation patterns in two orthogonal planes for antenna


shown in Fig. 4
a xy plane
b yz plane
f = 1587MHz
LHCP
RHCP

ELECTRONICS LETTERS

30th April 1998

Vol. 34

PLESSIS, M.,

and CLOETE, J.: Tuning stubs for microstrip-patch


antennas, IEEE Antennas Propag. Mag., 1994, 36, pp. 5256
2 POZAR, D.M.: Trimming stubs for microstrip feed networks and patch
antennas, IEEE Antennas Propag. Soc. Newsletter, 1987, pp. 2628
3 IWASAKI, H.: A circularly polarized small-size microstrip antenna with
a cross slot, IEEE Trans. Antennas Propag., 1996, 44, pp. 13991401
4 WONG, K.L., and YANG, K.P.: Small dual-frequency microstrip antenna
with cross slot, Electron. Lett., 1997, 33, pp. 19161917

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