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A band enhanced metamaterial absorber based on E-shaped all-dielectric resonators

Liyang Li, Jun Wang, Hongliang Du, Jiafu Wang, Shaobo Qu, and Zhuo Xu
Citation: AIP Advances 5, 017147 (2015); doi: 10.1063/1.4907050
View online: http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.4907050
View Table of Contents: http://scitation.aip.org/content/aip/journal/adva/5/1?ver=pdfcov
Published by the AIP Publishing
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AIP ADVANCES 5, 017147 (2015)

A band enhanced metamaterial absorber based


on E-shaped all-dielectric resonators
Liyang Li,1 Jun Wang,1,a Hongliang Du,1 Jiafu Wang,1 Shaobo Qu,1,a
and Zhuo Xu2
1

College of Science, Air Force Engineering University, Shaanxi, Xian 710051, China
Electronic Materials Research Laboratory, Xian Jiaotong University, Xian 710049,
Shaanxi, China
2

(Received 7 October 2014; accepted 20 January 2015; published online 27 January 2015)
In this paper, we propose a band enhanced metamaterial absorber in microwave band,
which is composed of high-permittivity E-shaped dielectric resonators and metallic
ground plate. The E-shaped all-dielectric structure is made of high-temperature
microwave ceramics with high permittivity and low loss. An absorption band with
1 GHz bandwidth for both TE and TM polarizations are observed. Moreover, the
absorption property is stable under different incident angles. The band enhanced
absorption is caused by different resonant modes which lie closely in the absorption band. Due to the enhanced localized electric/magnetic fields at the resonant
frequencies, strong absorptions are produced. Our work provides a new method
of designing high-temperature and high-power microwave absorbers with band
enhanced absorption. C 2015 Author(s). All article content, except where otherwise
noted, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.4907050]

I. INTRODUCTION

A metamaterial perfect absorber with near-unity absorbance was put forward by N.I. Landy et
al. in 2008.1 Afterward, different metamaterial absorbers were designed at different frequency regimes.29 For the sake of practical applications, metamaterial absorber with band enhanced absorption has drawn great research interests from the academic community. Researchers proposed many
methods of broadening the absorption band. For example, F. Ding et al. fabricated a multilayer
quadrangular frustum pyramids absorber.10 S. Gu et al. presented a single-layer planar absorber
based on three-level dendritic structure.11 S. Li et al. designed a wideband absorber based on
lumped resistors.12 G. Yang et al. created a broadband absorber by introducing multiple adjacent
frequencies.13 D.T. Viet et al. used metallic dish structure to achieve broadband absorption by
adjusting the dish sizes.14 J. Grant et al. designed a broadband absorber by stacking metal-insulator
layers with differing structural dimensions.15 By virtue of these attempts, the band enhanced absorbers have gained great progress.
On the other hand, most of the existing metamaterial absorbers are based on metallic patterns which are frail against oxidation and corrosion, and are unsuitable for high-temperature and
high-power applications. An alternative method is to use ceramics with high permittivity and low
loss as the unit cell to construct dielectric metamaterial absorbers. Compared with conventional
lossy dielectric plate backed by a conducting metallic plate, the all-dielectric metamaterials have
lower areal density and broader bandwidth. Thus, it is very meaningful to carry out in-depth investigations on all-dielectric metamaterial absorbers. In recent years, the research of dielectric metamaterials has witnessed remarkable progresses in theory,1620 experiment,2123 and applications.2428
These provide a good foundation for the study of dielectric metamaterial absorbers.

a Electronic mail: wangjun563@163.com and qushaobo@mail.xjtu.edu.cn

2158-3226/2015/5(1)/017147/9

5, 017147-1

Author(s) 2015

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A perfect absorber via placing high-dielectric cubes on a metal plate was proposed by X. Liu
et al.29 The perfect absorber achieves a single-frequency absorption in X-band. To further broaden
the absorption bandwidth, it should be noted that there are two necessary conditions for an efficient
absorption. One is dielectric loss of the material, which results in the decay of the electromagnetic wave when transmit in the material. The other condition is that the materials should have
good impedance-matching characteristics, which ensures that most of the incident waves enter the
material. The two conditions are often contradictive for conventional absorbing materials, while
the dielectric metamaterial can achieve good impedance-matching and high loss simultaneously.
Geometrical design for all-dielectric sub-wavelength units can modulate impedance matching and
the effective loss tangent simultaneously. With this methodology, a band enhanced all-dielectric
absorber at microwave regime is proposed in this paper. A complex E-shaped structure is employed
as the elementary unit cell of the absorber. It is found that the E-shaped structure is rich in resonant
modes and the competition of these modes results in a band enhanced absorption in a frequency
range about 1 GHz wide both for TE and TM polarizations. Moreover, the absorption is quite stable
under different incident angles. The design method provides a new way of achieving band enhanced
all-dielectric metamaterial absorbers.

II. MODELING AND SIMULATION

The dielectric resonator is shown schematically in Fig. 1. The structure is made of SrTiO3,
whose permittivity is 300 and loss tangent is 0.005. The unit cell contains four E-shaped resonators
which are oriented in different directions. These four E-shaped resonators are with the same size.
The geometrical parameters are shown in Fig. 1(a). In order to describe the size of the structure,
we disassemble the E shaped resonator to one vertical bar and three horizontal bars. The length (y
direction) of the vertical bar is 5 mm, and the width (x direction) of the vertical bar is 1 mm. The
length (y direction) of each horizontal bar is 1 mm, and the width (x direction) of each horizontal
bar is 4 mm. The thickness (z direction) of the whole structure is 0.4 mm. The four E-shaped resonators are placed on the copper plate. The unit cell size is 14 mm 14 mm, as shown in Fig. 1(a). The
arrangement of the periodic absorber is shown in Fig. 1(b).
The structure is simulated using the frequency-domain solver of CST Microwave Studio. The
absorption of the absorber can be calculated by A() = 1 R() T() = 1 |S11()|2 |S21()|2,
where R() = |S11|2 is the reflectance and T() = |S21|2 = 0 is the zero transmittance due to the presence of the ground plane. As can be seen from Fig. 2, for TE polarization, the reflection is below -5dB
from 12.89 GHz to 13.90 GHz. There are six resonant dips below -8 dB in 12.0- 15.0 GHz. The six
resonant dips are at 12.94 GHz, 13.09 GHz, 13.33 GHz, 13.51 GHz, 13.66 GHz, 13.75 GHz, respectively. The corresponding reflection are -12.2 dB, -15.6 dB, -17.0 dB, -8.4 dB, -16.4 dB, and -8.6 dB,
with the absorption of about 94.0 %, 97.2 %, and 98.0 %, 85.6 %, 97.7 %, 86.3 %, respectively. For
TM polarization, the reflection is below -5 dB in 12.97 - 13.54 GHz and 13.68 - 13.88 GHz, in which
there are six resonant dips. The absorption rates are above 70% at 12.96 - 13.54 GHz and 13.6713.88 GHz. The six resonant dips are at 13.04 GHz, 13.17 GHz, 13.34 GHz, 13.46 GHz, 13.72 GHz,

FIG. 1. (a) Unit cell and geometrical parameters for E-shaped resonators. (b) Periodic structures of the dielectric metamaterial absorber.

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FIG. 2. Reflection and absorption properties for the absorber at TE and TM polarization. (a) Reflection, (b) Absorption.

13.84 GHz, respectively. The corresponding reflection are -23.13 dB, -27.50 dB, -14.12 dB, -21.46
dB, -8.89 dB, and -8.87 dB, with the absorption of about 99.5%, 99.8%, and 96.1%, 99.3%, 87.1%,
87.0%, respectively.

III. THEORETICAL ANALYSIS

The mechanism of the dielectric metamaterial absorber is different from conventional dielectric
absorbers. The absorption of conventional dielectric absorbers mainly depends on the dielectric
polarization relaxation loss, while that of dielectric metamaterials is based on dielectric resonances
which can modulate the effective permittivity and permeability. In effective medium theory, metamaterial absorbers can be equivalent to a homogenous slab absorber with engineered effective
permeability and permittivity. It should be noted that such a homogenous slab is lossy in both
permittivity and permeability with strong dispersions. The strong absorption is achieved by manipulating the effective loss tangents of and to match the free space impedance at the designed
frequencies. The retrieved parameters are relevant to the various resonant modes generated in the
high-permittivity dielectrics. The frequencies and field distribution characteristics of these resonant modes are related to the permittivity and geometrical shape of the dielectric. By optimizing
the shape of a specified high-permittivity dielectric resonator, we can adjust the distributions of
local displacement currents. The effective permittivity and permeability of the metamaterial can be
changed by the resonant of the displacement current, which can achieve impedance matching and
strong interior absorption simultaneously.
The distribution of the electric and magnetic fields at each resonant point for both TE polarization and TM polarization are investigated to analyze the mechanism of the absorption. The electric
and magnetic fields distribution for TE polarization are shown in Figs. 3 and 4, respectively. It can
be found that the resonant responses concentrate on the bottom half of the unit cell for the first and
the third resonant frequencies, while the resonant responses concentrate on the upper half of the unit
cell for the rest resonance frequency points. Moreover, the trend of variations of the electric field

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FIG. 3. The distribution of electric fields at each resonant frequency point for TE polarization. (a) Electric field distribution
in xoy plane at the phase of 0 at 12.942 GHz. (b) Electric field distribution in xoy plane at the phase of 0 at 13.086 GHz. (c)
Electric field distribution in xoy plane at the phase of 135 at 13.329 GHz. (d) Electric field distribution in xoy plane at the
phase of 0 at 13.506 GHz. (e) Electric field distribution in xoy plane at the phase of 135 at 13.656 GHz. (f) Electric field
distribution in xoy plane at the phase of 135 at 13.857 GHz.

can be seen from Fig. 3. The electric fields of the first and the second resonant frequency points are
along the y direction and are strongest at the phase of 0 and 180. For the third resonant frequency
point, the electric field vectors are oriented in both x and y directions, and the electric fields are
strongest at the phase of 135 and 315. The direction of electric field vectors in the vertical bars
is alone the y direction, while those in the horizontal bars are along the x direction. The electric
field of the fourth resonant frequency point is complex. The electric fields are strongest at the phase

FIG. 4. The distribution of magnetic fields at each resonant frequency point for TE polarization. (a) Magnetic field
distribution in xoy plane at the phase of 90 at 12.942 GHz. (b) Magnetic field distribution in xoy plane at the phase of 90 at
13.086 GHz. (c) Magnetic field distribution in xoy plane at the phase of 45 at 13.329 GHz. (d) Magnetic field distribution in
xoy plane at the phase of 90 at 13.506 GHz. (e) Magnetic field distribution in xoy plane at the phase of 45 at 13.656 GHz.
(f) Magnetic field distribution in xoy plane at the phase of 45 at 13.857 GHz.

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of 0 and 180. The resonant responses concentrate on the four corners of the upper half unit cell.
The directions of the resonant electric field vectors are along the 45 direction with respect to
y direction at the four corners. The electric fields of the fifth resonant point are strongest at the
phase of 135 and 315. Similarly to the fourth resonant frequency point, the resonant responses
concentrate on the four corners of the upper half unit cell. The difference is that the direction of
the resonant electric field vectors is anti-parallel to those for the fourth resonance. The electric field
vector of the last resonant frequency point is mainly alone the x direction in the upper half unit
cell. The electric fields are strongest at the phase of 135 and 315. It should be pointed out is
that the direction of the electric field of this resonant frequency points changes from y direction to
both y and x direction and finally to the x direction. These adjacent resonant frequency points have
different resonant modes and present a competitive trend. The effect of the former resonant mode
is not yet dying out, and then a second resonant mode becomes dominant. The intensive resonant
modes appear in the upper half and bottom half alternatively as if they were competing. This modes
competition effect leads to the band enhanced absorption.
From Fig. 4, it can be found that the directions of the magnetic field vectors are perpendicular
to the electric field vectors. The resonant frequency points show the highest magnetic field intensity
at the phase of 90 and 270, 90 and 270, 45 and 225, 90 and 270, 45 and 225, 45 and
225, respectively. The variations of the magnetic fields are relevant to the corresponding electric
fields and also present a competitive trend. The continuous variations of the electric and magnetic
resonant modes lead to the band enhanced absorption.
The electric field distribution for TM polarization is shown in Fig. 5. It can be seen that the
resonant responses concentrate on the upper half unit cell for the first, the third and the fourth
resonant frequency points, while the resonant responses concentrate on the bottom half unit cell
for the other resonant frequencies. These adjacent resonant frequency points have different resonant
modes and present a competitive trend, which lead to the band enhanced absorption. Whats more,
the trend of changes of the electric field can be seen from Fig. 5. The electric field of the first and the
second resonant frequency points are along the x direction and are stronger at the phase of 0 and
180 compared to the other phases. But their resonant parts are different. The electric field vectors
contain both x and y oriented components for the third and the fourth resonant frequency point and
the electric fields are strongest at the phase of 0/180 and 135/315, respectively. The electric field

FIG. 5. The distribution of electric field at each resonant frequency point for TM polarization. (a) Electric field distribution
in xoy plane at the phase of 0 at 13.038 GHz. (b) Electric field distribution in xoy plane at the phase of 0 at 13.17 GHz.
(c) Electric field distribution in xoy plane at the phase of 0 at 13.341 GHz. (d) Electric field distribution in xoy plane at the
phase of 135 at 13.455 GHz. (e) Electric field distribution in xoy plane at the phase of 0 at 13.722 GHz. (f) Electric field
distribution in xoy plane at the phase of 135 at 13.836 GHz.

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in the vertical bars is alone the y direction, while the electric field vectors in the horizontal bars
are alone the x direction. The electric field of the fifth resonant frequency point is strongest at the
phase of 0 and 180. The electric field of the last resonant point is mainly along the y direction.
The electric fields are strongest at the phase of 135 and 315 and the electric field direction changes
from x direction to both x and y directions and finally to the y direction, which is the inverse process
for the TE polarization. The directions of magnetic fields are perpendicular to the direction of the
electric fields. The changes of the magnetic field are relevant to the corresponding electric field.
These enhanced localized fields bring about continuous variations of electric and magnetic resonant
modes, which lead to the band enhanced absorption.
Simulations are also carried out to test the sensitivity to incident angles for TE and TM polarizations. The incident angles are changed from 0 to 60 to observe the variation of the absorption
under different incident angles. As can be seen from Fig. 6 (a), when the incident wave angle is less
than 30, the reflection keeps below -5 dB in general. Most of the reflection is still below -5 dB and
the bandwidth can also reach about 1 GHz. It can be seen from Fig. 6 (b) that with the incident angle
increasing, the reflection under TM polarization becomes less, which means the absorption become
better under larger incident angles. The -5dB reflection bandwidth under the TM polarization can
achieve about 1 GHz for incident angles from 0 to 60. Particularly, when the incident angle is 60,
the reflection in 12.96-13.97 GHz is all below -5dB, which is superiority in absorption to the normal
incidence case. The results indicate that the absorption of TE polarization becomes worse when the
incident angle becomes larger. On the contrary, the absorption of TM polarization becomes better
when the incident angle becomes larger.
The frequency dependence of the absorption under different incident angles is depicted in
Fig. 7. The full wave simulations are performed to verify the angle dispersion for both TE polarization (Fig. 7(a)) and TM polarization (Fig. 7(b)). In the simulation, the incident angle is varied
by 3 from 0 to 75. For the TE case shown in Fig. 7(a), six absorption peaks at 12.94 GHz,

FIG. 6. The reflection under different incident angles for TE and TM polarization. (a) TE polarization. (b) TM polarization.

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FIG. 7. Frequency dependence of absorption under different incident angles. (a) TE polarization, (b) TM polarization.

13.09 GHz, 13.33 GHz, 13.51 GHz, 13.66 GHz, 13.75 GHz are achieved under normal incidence.
The peaks are slightly decreased with increasing incident angles. The corresponding absorptions
are 87%, 80%, 84%, 60%, 82% and 64% under the incidence angle of 45. For TM polarization,
the absorption is still quite remarkable up to 70. This is because the direction of the incident
magnetic field remains unaltered at different incident angles to drive strong magnetic resonances
efficiently. These results demonstrate that the band enhanced metamaterial absorber could achieve
high absorption under wide incident angles for both TE and TM polarizations.
We investigated the changes of absorption peaks when the size of the dielectric resonator
changes. The scaling factor of the E-shaped resonator is originally set as S = 1, then we varied
the scaling factor from 0.7 to 1.3 ( = 300). As shown in Figs. 8 and 9, the absorption peaks of
the absorber will change for different sizes or permittivities. The variation tendency shows good

FIG. 8. The absorption properties for absorbers with different geometrical scales. (a)TE polarization. (b) TM polarization.

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FIG. 9. The absorption properties for absorbers with different permittivities. (a)TE polarization. (b) TM polarization.

agreement with the theoretical expectation. Figures 8(a) and 8(b) show that the absorption peak
frequencies for both TE and TM polarizations decrease as the scaling factor of the absorber increases from 0.7 to 1.3 ( = 300). Hence, the entire absorption band shifts to lower band as the
scaling factor of the absorber increases from 0.7 to 1.3 ( = 300). Figures 9(a) and 9(b) show that
the frequencies of the absorption peaks decrease as the permittivity of the absorber increases from
285 to 315 (S=1). Thus, the absorber shows stable absorptions features for different geometrical
scales and permittivities, which is useful in fabricating tunable absorbers.

IV. CONCLUSIONS

In this paper, we designed a band enhanced dielectric metamaterial absorber in microwave


regime. Unlike the metallic-based metamaterial absorbers, this absorber is composed of E-shaped
dielectric resonators and metallic ground plate. The mechanism for the absorption is revealed by
investigating electric and magnetic field distributions in the dielectric resonators. The varied resonant modes, which are excited in the dielectric resonators, are located closely in the considered
frequency range and present a competitive trend. The dielectric metamaterial absorbers based on
dielectric resonances can provide modulated effective permittivity and permeability to meet the
band enhanced impedance matching and strong electromagnetic attenuation simultaneously. We
also illustrate the changes of the electric fields and the magnetic fields at the resonant frequency
points. The investigation also finds that the absorption property of the structure is stable under
different incident angles. The research promotes a methodology of designing complex dielectric
structures to achieve band enhanced absorption. Since the absorber is based on high-temperature
ceramics, it is advantageous in corrosion resistance, high-temperature and high-power resistance
compared with its metallic counterparts. Such absorbers have intrinsic superiorities in extreme
application environments.

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

The authors are grateful to the supports from the National Natural Science Foundation of
China under Grant Nos. 61331005, 11204378, 11274389, 11304393, 61302023, the Aviation Science Foundation of China under Grant No. 20132796018, the National Science Foundation for
Post-Doctoral Scientists of China under Grant Nos. 2013M532131, 2013M532221, the Natural
Science Foundation of Shaanxi Province under Grant No. 2013JM6005, and the Special Funds for
Authors of Annual Excellent Doctoral Degree Dissertations of China under Grant No. 201242.
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