HIGHER ORDER MODE SUPPRESSION

IN STRIP LINE GEOMETRIES
S. Tsitsos1 and A. A. P. Gibson1
Department of Electrical Engineering and Electronics
UMIST
Manchester M60 1QD, United Kingdom

1

Recei¨ ed 18 No¨ ember 1997
ABSTRACT: Axially located slots are introduced into wide strip lines in
high-power beamformers to suppress the excitation of higher order modes.
A ¨ ariational finite-element technique is used to calculate the higher
order model parameters and to e¨ aluate the operation of the slot for a
typical discontinuity. Q 1998 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Microwave Opt
Technol Lett 18: 1]3, 1998.
Key words: stripline; mode suppression; beamformer
1. INTRODUCTION

A common problem associated with the operation of large
strip line beamforming networks is the degradation in performance due to the appearance of higher order modes w1x. This
problem is more significant when wide strip line center conductors are employed. The resultant large relative widths may
support transverse currents and give rise to two-dimensional
propagation effects which, in turn, result in the appearance
of higher order modes. Calculations and measurements of
the cutoff frequencies of these modes have been described in
detail in the literature w2, 3x.
A technique for suppressing higher modes is proposed.
This approach makes use of an axially located longitudinal
slot. The slot leaves the axial currents of the dominant TEM
mode unaffected, but suppresses the transverse currents of
the higher order TE modes. The result is that the cutoff
frequencies of the higher order modes are shifted upwards by
typically 40]50%, and the power coupled to these modes is
reduced, thus improving the useful operating bandwidth of
the strip line. The calculations presented here are based on
two finite-element methods. The cutoff frequencies of the
higher order modes are calculated using the finite-element
open-wall eigenvalue solver w13x, while the amplitudes of
these modes are calculated using the method described in
w4, 5x.
2. CALCULATION OF THE AMPLITUDES OF THE HIGHER
ORDER MODES

A cross section of a strip line geometry is shown inset in
Figure 2. It is well known that the dominant TEM mode in a
strip line is produced by longitudinal currents flowing in the
center conductor strip along the direction of propagation.
However, for medium- to high-power applications, and since
different widths are used to provide the desired matching
characteristics, wide strip lines Ž wrb - 0.5. are often employed in beamforming networks w1x. These large relative
widths result in transverse currents flowing in the center
conductor, which consequently produce higher order mode
field patterns. A finite-element calculation of these currents
is shown in Figure 1. The experimental measurement of the
relative amplitudes of these modes is a difficult task which
arises from the difficulty of launching and isolating a higher
order mode. However, a numerical prediction can be achieved
by adopting the method described in w4x. This method combines the standard transfinite-element method w5x with
lumped-element impedances to analyze distributed strip line

Figure 1
currents

Finite-element plot of the TE 10 -mode transverse strip

geometries which include lumped-element components. The
geometry under examination is first transformed into an
equivalent parallel-plate planar waveguide with effective dimensions given in w6, 7x, and then solved using two-dimensional analysis by applying the variational energy functional
given in w4x.
The calculation of the amplitudes of the higher order
modes is accomplished by expressing the scalar field Ez
within port i as the sum of an incident dominant mode F inc
and an M number of higher order modes Fi j appearing at
port i due to the discontinuities along the structure. Assuming unit amplitude, we have w5x
M

EzŽi. s d i1F inc q

Ý a i j Fi j

Ž1.

js0

where j expresses the order of the mode, with j s 0 corresponding to the dominant TEM mode and a i j are unknown
coefficients; d i1 is the Kronecker delta with i s 1 for the
input port and i s 0 otherwise. The field F inc and Fi j are
expressed as follows w5x:
F inc s eg 10 z ,

Fi j s cos

jp x

ž /
Di

ey g i j z

Ž2.

where Di is the effective width w6, 7x of port i and g i j is the
propagation constant. If e r is the dielectric constant and
k 02 s v 2m 0 e 0 , then the propagation constant is given by w5x

gi j s

jp
Di

2

/

y k 02 e r .

3. RESULTS

The cutoff frequencies of a single strip line cross section with
0.5 F wrb F 6 and trb s 0.128 were calculated using the
finite-element ŽFE. solver described in w3x. This solver was
specifically designed to cater to the strip line open boundaries. Experimental measurements on the cutoff frequencies
were also performed using a strip line resonant cavity. Subsequently, the line was split into two coupled lines by introducing a thin longitudinal slot in the direction of propagation. It
is evident from Figure 1 that the introduction of the slot will
suppress the transverse currents, and as a result, the cutoff
frequencies of the higher order modes will increase. Moreover, the axial currents of the dominant TEM mode will
remain largely unaffected. This result is illustrated in Fig-

MICROWAVE AND OPTICAL TECHNOLOGY LETTERS / Vol. 18, No. 1, May 1998

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1. and the new amplitudes were calculated. as a function of frequency. Subsequently. 3. Moreover. The flexibility of the finite-element method described in w4x allows the electromagnetic coupling between the two lines created by the slot to be included in the Figure 2 Cutoff wavenumber variation as a function of the strip width for a strip line. The amplitudes of the first higher order at port 1 of the step-in-width strip line discontinuity presented inset in Figure 3 were calculated for a specific frequency range. where the behavior of the first higher order strip line model ŽTE 10 .. The introduction of the slot creates two high-impedance lines which prohibit the propagation of the higher order mode. 18. this slot does not significantly affect the S-parameter results of the dominant TEM mode. The length of the slot is chosen to be a quarter wave at the center frequency so that the two reflected waves of the higher order mode at the discontinuity junction and at the input port cancel out. as illustrated in Figure 4. a quarter-wavelength thin slot was introduced Žalso inset in Fig. May 1998 . for a step-in-width strip line discontinuity before and after the introduction of a longitudinal slot 2 MICROWAVE AND OPTICAL TECHNOLOGY LETTERS / Vol. as a function of the normalized strip width is presented before and after the introduction of the slot. The results are presented in Figure 3. No. before and after the introduction of a longitudinal slot Figure 3 Variation of the amplitudes of the TE 10 mode.ure 2. It is clearly shown that the new amplitudes are significantly reduced.

pp. 65]72.. May 1998 3 .’’ IRE Trans. S. 1. Vol. CONCLUSIONS The problem of measuring the amplitude of higher order TE modes in strip line geometries has been circumvented in this work by carrying out calculations using numerical techniques. R. 2. A. Microwa¨ e Theory Tech. pp. 3. Altshuler and A.. Shepherd. 1639]1649. pp. Tsitsos.. A. Gibson. MTT-10. tures. H. 5.. MTT-3.. 2071]2077. F. 1451]1454. It has also been demonstrated how the introduction of a thin longitudinal slot placed in the direction of propagation increases the cutoff frequencies and decreases the amplitudes of the higher order modes. 3. W. 1956. Vol. pp. I. R. Pennock. ‘‘Unified Variational Solution of Microwave Circuits and Struc- DIRECT CHIRP MEASUREMENT IN A TWO-SECTION ELECTROABSORPTION MODULATOR 2 M. and A. H.’’ Conf. July 1988. A. A. Microwa¨ e Theory Tech. J. pp. 1996. No. Microwa¨ e Theory Tech. Microwa¨ e Theory Tech. Burchett. S. Vol. 1994.’’ IEEE Trans.. 134]143. MTT-8.Figure 4 Variation of the return loss. 4. W. Koch. P. No. Department ZT KM 4 Siemens AG D-81730 Munich. as a function of frequency. CCC 0895-2477r98 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS The authors would like to acknowledge the financial support of the EPSRC. Germany 2 Corp. GA. 6. H. Karamitsos.’’ IEEE Trans. M. Inc. Germany Recei¨ ed 4 No¨ ember 1997 ABSTRACT: The absorption properties and the refracti¨ e index change of an electroabsorption modulator were determined directly in the wa¨ e- MICROWAVE AND OPTICAL TECHNOLOGY LETTERS / Vol. May 1960. 1. 8. This coupling may be represented by the fringing capacitance of the odd and even dominant mode associated with the coupled strip line geometry that has been produced w8x. REFERENCES 1. pp. Nov. Mar. Vol.1 B.’’ 1993 MTT-S Int. C. Getsinger. Lee. and collaboration with Siemens Plessey Radar Ltd. Microwa¨ e Symp. Cendes and J. No. This result is particularly useful in the design of strip line beamforming networks where higher order modes are often present and reduce the performance of the system. 42. 36. ‘‘High Power Stripline Corporate Feed Networks. Proc. Isle of Wight. ‘‘Discontinuities in the Center Conductor of Symmetric Strip Transmission Line. pp. S. Microwa¨ e Theory Tech. Vol.K. Gibson.1 ¨ and H.. ‘‘A Rigorous Analysis of the Higher Order Modes and Attenuation of Stripline of Arbitrary Dimensions. 328]339. ‘‘Coupled Rectangular Bars Between Parallel Plates. M. Microwa¨ e Theory Tech. and A. London. and P. Q 1998 John Wiley & Sons. Claassen. Dillon. Techn. ‘‘Equivalent Circuits for Discontinuities in Balanced Strip Transmission Line. A. Tsitsos. 299]307. N. Atlanta. 7. Vol. 4. Davies.. Oliner.’’ IRE Trans. Dec.1 M. U. Stegmuller. pp. M.’’ IEEE Trans. 1962.K. 460]462. A. 18. McCormick. B. ‘‘Higher Order Modes in Coupled Striplines: Prediction and Measurement. 3. 1988. J.’’ IEEE Trans. U. B. Harth. Vol. P. Z. A. Grothe1 1 Lehrstuhl fur ¨ Allgemeine Elektrotechnik und Angewandte Elektronik Technische Universitat ¨ Munchen ¨ D-80290 Munich. Oliner. ‘‘The Transfinite Element Method for Modelling MMIC Devices. 44. for a step-in-width strip line discontinuity before and after the introduction of a longitudinal slot calculations.. Military Microwa¨ es.