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Characterization of Small Specimens Using an

Integrated Computational/Measurement Technique

A. K. Amert and K. W. Whites
Laboratory for Applied Electromagnetics and Communications
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
South Dakota School of Mines and Technology
Rapid City, SD, USA

Abstract—Traditional electromagnetic material property incapable of handling complex materials. The numerical
extraction techniques rely on the use of carefully chosen specimen searching algorithms employed were very simple and slow.
and measurement geometries that have analytical solutions which Second, these implementations did not take advantage of the
relate material properties to scattering parameters. Specimens new dimensions of freedoms given by the use of a
must be carefully formed into precise shapes to meet the computational solution. As pointed out by [2], air gaps and
geometrical requirements of the analytical solutions, which can sample positioning in the guide were still problematic and
sometimes be either difficult or impossible depending on the introduced measurement error.
material. Here we present an extraction method based on the use
of a computational, as opposed to analytical, solution which can In this paper, we will demonstrate a computational
be used with nearly any specimen geometry. approach that remediates the above identified issues. We have
used this method to characterize small specimens of Teflon
I. INTRODUCTION which were used to validate our approach.
Characterization of the electromagnetic properties of
materials at microwave frequencies can be accomplished using
many well known techniques [1]. These traditional techniques Our technique is based on first creating a precise laboratory
are all based on relating the material properties of a geometry measurement to eliminate traditional sources of measurement
to its scattering properties with either an analytical or error and then using a very accurate and computationally
approximately analytical solution. In the lab, scattering inexpensive solution to calculate material properties.
parameters are measured and then effective material properties In the lab, our measurement setup consisted of a through
of a specimen are calculated by solving the analytical solution section of WR90 waveguide as illustrated in Fig. 1. We first
to the measurement geometry. For many types of materials, calibrated to the reference planes marked as A and B using
traditional characterization techniques work very well. If a TRL calibration. Once calibrated we inserted a section of
material can be machined into a precise shape to meet the waveguide. Within that section of waveguide, we placed our
geometrical requirements of the assumed scattering problem specimen onto a precision milled piece of low loss foam
the material can be easily characterized. However, for materials (Rohacell IG 31). The foam has two functions. First, it moves
that can't be easily machined due to their mechanical properties the specimen away from the walls of the waveguide which
characterization can be either very difficult or impossible. decreases the S parameter sensitivity to the location of
One potential method of characterizing specimens that specimen. Second, it positions the specimen within the cavity
cannot be machined into canonical shapes is to use a very accurately and creates a precise measurement.
computational solution that relates specimen material
properties to scattering parameters. This approach has been
applied to many measurement geometries including shorted
rectangular waveguides and resonant cavities for isotropic
materials and rectangular cavities for uniaxial materials [2-5].
In these works, scattering parameters were first measured in the
laboratory. Then the effective material parameters were
calculated by performing software simulations of the
measurement and matching some of the features of the
simulated S parameters to those of the in lab measurement. For
example, nulls and resonances were used to perform S
parameter matching in [5].
While valuable, the previous approaches leave much to be
desired. First, they are computationally expensive and Figure 1. Sketch of measurement geometry.

978-1-4673-5317-5/13/$31.00 ©2013 IEEE 706 AP-S 2013

Reddy. B. technique at microwave frequencies. Jan. pp. I.G. 12 12 no.4 10.217-223. This measurement confirms that our computationally driven solution process is both highly accurate and can handle specimens that could not be milled into canonical shapes. vol. Photo of specimen and holder. Deshpande.56. Instrum. . J." IEEE Trans. K.718-722. Our measured data is in good agreement with that reported previously [1]. CST Studio Suite. P. Rohacell media using a modified cost function. "A new approach to estimate complex permittivity of dielectric materials at of a component within the simulation. Re ⎡⎣ S − S21 ( ε r ) ⎤⎦ m + Im ⎡⎣ S − S 21 ( ε r ) ⎤⎦ m 21 21 [4] M. 2008. Microw. Calculated properties of Teflon specimen. 2. much more complex materials such as generally anisotropic 2 and loaded in waveguide for measurement in Fig. Tobar. E. pp.00375 Relative Permittivity Loss Tangent 2.4 GHz and are shown in Fig.0 10. 1. 45. Theory Techn. solution process which performs calls to our software package building materials. microwave frequencies using waveguide measurements. We have developed a software Standards and Technology. 2 was characterized waveguide.. Theory simulated S parameters. Cravey. using our measurement approach.8 0. Riddle. Johnk. Limaye.2 0. Feb.4 Frequency (GHz) Figure 4.4 mm piece of Teflon. Volakis.E. steps and starts with a genetic algorithm to find the [5] G. Meas.00500 Relative Permittivity Loss Tangent 2.00125 1. pp. Ivanov. we have instead chosen to implement a permittivity and permeability of lossy materials: Solid. J.N.L. Sertel. R.. Hartnett. D. no.00000 8.6 11. metals.522-525. K.2 8. 2004. Grosvenor. our Characterize Natural and Engineered Low-Loss Uniaxial Dielectric solver switches to an implementation of the Nealder-Mead Materials at Microwave Frequencies. Geyer and C. liquids. wrapper that sends parameters such as the material properties [2] M. COMPUTATIONAL SOLUTION Unlike other inefficient implementations that focus on [1] J. Our minimization process has two Techn. no. Theory Techn." National Institute of of choice. Photo of specimen and holder in waveguide for minimization process. Baker-Jarvis.50. T. "Measuring the parameter matching. D. This search method can very quickly find the global solution for even 707 . Our Microw. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION waveguide section even while moving into position within the The Teflon specimen shown in Fig.. vol.8 9. Mumcu. 359-366.2. A. J.. "A Measurement Process to approximate position of the global minimum. Janezic. vol. Lastly. R. foam works well for this application due to its rough edges which keep both the sample and itself firmly seated in the IV. initiates the simulation. L.00250 Figure 2. C.2 11. solution process then minimized the cost function: [3] M. Once found.2.1 0. A complex multidimensional problems and can be applied to photo of both the specimen and foam holder are shown in Fig. vol. Cros. pp. F. Kabos. 4. and negative-index materials. Tiemsin and R. performing parameter studies in simulation and then S Holloway. C. REFERENCES III.2 to 12.8 12. 1997. P.1. 2005. P.9 0." IEEE Trans. "Whispering gallery method of measuring complex permittivity in 12 12 Cost ( ε r ) = Re ⎡⎣ S11m − S11 ( ε r ) ⎤⎦ + Im ⎡⎣ S11m − S11 ( ε r ) ⎤⎦ + (1) highly anisotropic materials: discovery of a new type of mode in anisotropic dielectric resonators. measurement. simplex method to quickly identify the minimum. our method is both highly adaptable due to its use of a general electromagnetics solver package and is computationally efficient because of our two stage Figure 3." IEEE Trans. D. Dec.U. Santra. and then retrieves the S parameters from the simulation. 3." IEEE Trans. Microw.0 0. Both the relative permittivity and loss tangent of the specimen were characterized across the 8. no. M. 3.53. NIST Technical Note 1536. The specimen was a 10 x 10 x 1. G. Blondy. "Estimation of complex permittivity of arbitrary shape and size dielectric samples using cavity measurement for simple isotropic materials where m denotes measured vs. Apr 2001.