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Antennas for mobile terminals

and their exact measurement characterization


M. Geissler(1), O.Litschke (2), D. Manteuffel(3), M. Arnold(4) ) ,
(1)

geissler@imst.de, (2) litschke@imst.de, (3)manteuffel@imst.de, (4)arnold@imst.de


IMST GmbH, Carl-Friedrich-Gauss Str. 2, D-47475 Kamp-Lintfort, Germany

ABSTRACT
This paper focuses on the evaluation and the comparison of two methods for measuring the antenna efficiency of
small devices: the first method is based on the measurements of the three dimensional radiation pattern using an
active transmitter integrated into the device. The second method uses an improved system based on the WheelerCap principle. The results of both methods show good agreement if the measurement conditions are chosen well.

INTRODUCTION
Todays mobile phones and other mobile devices are equipped with many features, and are capable to operate
using different standards and frequency bands. However, the terminals become smaller and smaller, causing the
antenna design to become more and more complex. The interaction between the antenna and the terminal is
therefore getting much more important. So, the antenna designers need fast and accurate measurement results of
the radiation properties already in the earliest possible phase of the design process.
If an operational radio is not yet available, the radiation patterns can be measured by feeding a signal via coax
cable into the antenna. However, the accuracy of this measurement is strongly influenced by the radiation of the
cable itself. The cable radiation can be suppressed using ferrites, however the ferrites absorb power, so that the
measured antenna gain is lower than in a reality [5]. By using an active transmitter incorporated into the device
itself, the cable influence can be avoided. From the complete 3-D gain diagram the antenna efficiency can also
be derived.
The determination of the antenna efficiency is very important for small devices. Several measurement methods
are discussed at the moment [3], [6]. As an alternative to the pattern measurements, IMST has developed an
advanced method based on the Wheeler-Cap principle. This method allows efficiency measurements performed
within a couple of minutes.
The focus of this paper is the evaluation of both measurement procedures for small terminals, and the direct
comparison of the results for the antenna efficiency.

GENERIC MODELS OF HANDSETS


In order to perform the test measurements, two pairs of generic demonstrators were built (A-I and A-II, B-I and
B-II). Each pair has identical dimensions, whereas one of them was equipped with cable and SMA connector,
while the other one was equipped with a transmitter module (see Fig.1, Fig. 2). The demonstrator pair A was
equipped with a dualband antenna having resonances at 920 MHz and 1795 MHz, the demonstrator pair B with
an antenna with a resonance frequency at 910 MHz.
Three measurement sessions were performed. the passive measurements using an external signal fed by coaxcable, the active measurements using the transmitter module on the device, and the efficiency measurements
using the Wheeler-Cap method. The demonstrators A-I and A-II were built using metal structures only, so the
efficiency was expected to be quite high. For the demonstrators B-I and B-II three different SMD resistors (0
Ohms, 10 Ohms, 22 Ohms) were implemented into the feeding of the antenna to generate well defined losses in
the antenna.

shielding

shielding

antenna

GSMmodule

PCB
antenna

PCB

Fig. 1: Prototype B-I (passive)

Fig. 2: Prototype B-II (active)

FARFIELD RADIATION MEASUREMENTS


Before the measurement session, a simulation model of A-I and A-II was defined using the Method of Moments.
The farfield patterns were calculated at 920 MHz. Fig 3 (left) shows the simulation results in the xy-plane (the
PCB of the device is oriented in z-direction). As one can see, the co-polar component ETheta is approximately
circle shaped, whereas the cross-polar component EPhi has a more complex shape, but the level is about 20 dB
below the co-polar component.
The passive measurements are influenced by the presence of the cable. Even when equipped with ferrites, the
cable radiates itself and thus influences the result. Fig. 3 (middle) shows the corresponding result; the co-polar
component is measured correctly whereas the cross-polar component is much higher than expected. It shows that
the level and the pattern shape of the cross-polar component changes drastically with the position and the
orientation of the cable.
In the final session the active transmitter module was used. The result of the xy-plane can be seen in Fig. 3
(right). As the cable influence now is reduced, the measured pattern is in good agreement with the simulation
results as can be observed for both ETheta and EPhi. So, it can be concluded that the use of an active transmitter
module allows exact measurements of the radiation patters of small terminals. Because of the fact, that the
physical dimensions of the transmitter module are similar to that of a typical battery pack, the module replaces
the standard battery, so that the module does not change the standard composition of the device. Hence, its EMbehaviour is not influenced by introducing the transmitter.

135

SIMULATION

PASSIVE (A-I)

90 y
0

90 y

dB

555

-10

45

135

135

45
-10

xy -Ebene
EE T

EE P

225

dB

555
x
0

-30

180

315
270

dBi

-20

-20

225

90 y
0

-30

180

ACTIVE (A-II)

315

-10

45

-20

-30

180

xy -Ebene
E
E Th

315

225

270

E Ph

270

Fig. 3: Comparison of simulation results and measurement results for A-I / A-II (active). Scaling is in dB,
normalised to its maximum.

EFFICIENCY MEASUREMENTS USING WHEELER-CAP


The Wheeler-Cap method [7] determines the radiation efficiency based on two impedance measurements of the
antenna: one in free space and one inside a metal cap which suppresses the radiation (Fig.4). By comparison of
the two measured impedances, the radiation efficiency rad (inner losses of the antenna) as well as the total

efficiency tot (including the mismatching losses) can be derived as follows:

Rrad
R R2
= 1
Rloss + Rrad
R1

rad =

tot = (1 S11 ) rad

(1)

(2)

However, previous investigations have shown, that the equivalent circuit model has to be improved to allow
exact measurements of antennas on small terminals [1]. IMST has developed an advanced Wheeler-Cap method,
based on an extended equivalent circuit model that describes also the geometry of the cap itself. This
measurement setup shows good reproducibility [1].

Equivalent circuit :

100%
90%
80%
70%
60%
50%
40%
30%
20%
10%
0%
840

Equivalent circuit :

RL

RL

Rrad

R1

GSM900

Measurement 2:
Cap

Measurement 1:
antenna
groundplane

Rrad = 0

R2

Fig. 4: The Wheeler-Cap method, measurement


setups and network models

= rad
=

880

920

ges

960
f / [MHz]

1000

Fig. 5: Measured antenna efficiency of the demonstrator


A-I, using the advanced Wheeler-Cap method

Fig. 5 shows the measured radiation efficiency for the demonstrator A-I using this advanced Wheeler-Cap
method: the radiation efficiency is about 85% within the desired frequency band, the total efficiency of this
antenna is similar at the center frequency but lower at the band edges due to the mismatching.

DIRECT COMPARISON OF RESULTS


The total efficiency can be measured using the advanced Wheeler-Cap method, but it can also be derived from
the 3D radiation pattern by calculating the sum of the radiated power Pradiated as follows:

tot =

Pradiated
Psource

(3)

Assuming that all demonstrators (different resistor values) have the same shape and composition, a direct
comparison of the total efficiency results from passive measurements and active measurements versus WheelerCap is possible. This comparison has been done for the demonstrator pair B-I and B-II, using different SMD
resistors in the feed.
RSMD=0 Ohm

passive version

magS11/dB

-10.0

no RSMD(0 Ohm)
RSMD= 10 Ohm

-15.0

RSMD= 22 Ohm

-20.0
-25.0
-30.0
-35.0
-40.0
-45.0
500

700

900

1100

1300

1500

total efficiency [%]

0.0
-5.0

100%
90%
80%
70%
60%
50%
40%
30%
20%
10%
0%
880

Wheeler Cap
3-D active
3-D passive

900

920

f [MHz]

940

f/MHz

Fig. 6: Measured input return loss in free space

Fig. 7: Measured total efficiency for RSMD=0

960

RSMD=22 Ohm
100%
90%
total efficiency [%]

total efficiency [%]

RSMD=10 Ohm
100%
90%
80%
70%
60%
50%
40%
30%
20%
10%
0%
880

Wheeler Cap
3-D active
3-D passive

900

920

f [MHz]

940

Fig. 8: Measured total efficiency for RSMD=10

960

80%
70%
60%
50%
40%
30%
20%
10%
0%
880

Wheeler Cap
3-D active
3-D passive

900

920

f [MHz]

940

960

Fig. 9: Measured total efficiency for RSMD=22

Fig. 6 shows the effect of the introduced SMD resistors: wideband losses are introduced in the antenna, that lead
to a shift of the curves in the diagram. Fig. 7 to Fig. 9 shows the comparisons of the radiation results using the
three different methods: At the resonance frequency of 910 MHz, the total efficiency derived from the advanced
Wheeler-Cap method shows good agreement with the active transmitter measurements for all three SMD-cases.
The value given by the passive method is lower, which is probably due to ferrite losses. For Rsmd=22 Ohms, the
difference is however quite small.
At 880 MHz and 940 MHz the results from Wheeler-Cap and passive measurements are quite similar in all
setups, active measurements have not been performed yet.

CONCLUSIONS
The use of active transmitter modules allows well defined measurements of the radiation patterns. Both, the
passive and the active measurements provide also the antenna efficiency. However, the efficiency value of the
passive measurement is reduced by losses in the ferrites, future measurements will give quantitative data on the
ferrite losses. The advanced Wheeler-Cap system is an alternative method for the determination of the antenna
efficiency. This measurement procedure is much simpler and much faster than the standard farfield pattern
measurements. These results agree well with those of the active pattern measurements.
Further measurements will be performed using these demonstrator pairs. They will give more information on the
accuracy of the methods and on the losses due to the ferrites in case of passive measurements.

REFERENCES
[1]

M. Geissler, O. Litschke, D. Heberling, P. Waldow and I. Wolff, "An improved method for measuring the
radiation efficiency of mobile devices", Proceedings of the IEEE Antennas and Propagation Society
International Symposium, 2003, Vol. 4 , pp. 743 - 746, 2003.

[2]

M. Arnold, O. Litschke, D. Manteuffel, A comparison of three methods to determine the efficiency of


terminal antennas; Loughborough Antennas and Propagation Conference LAPC 2005

[3]

R.H. Johnston and J. G. McRory, An Improved Small Antenna Radiation-Efficiency Measurement


Method, IEEE Antennas & Propagation Magazine, Vol.40, No.5, 1998.

[5]

C. Icheln, J. Ollikainen, P. Vainikainen, Reducing the influence of feed cables on small antenna
measurements, Electronics Letters, Vol.35, No.15, S.1212-1214, July 1999

[6]

K. Rosengren, P-S. Kildal, C. Carlsson, J. Carlsson, Characterization of Antennas for Mobile and
Wireless Terminals by using Reverberation Chambers: Improved Accuracy by Platform Stirring, IEEE
International Symposium on Antennas and Propagation, Boston, USA, July 2001

[7]

H. A. Wheeler, The radiansphere around a small antenna, Proc. IRE, S. 1325-1331, Aug. 1959.