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3, MARCH 2010 157

A New Broadband Marchand Balun

Using Slot-Coupled Microstrip Lines
Chao-Hsiung Tseng, Member, IEEE, and Yu-Chih Hsiao

AbstractIn this letter, a new broadband Marchand balun is

proposed using slot-coupled microstrip lines. The developed balun
is connected by two sections of diamond-shape slot-coupled mi-
crostrips with short- and open-circuited terminations at specified
ports. To achieve the broadband operation, the simple formulas
have been derived to convert the conventional rectangular-shape
slot-coupled microstrip to the diamond-shape counterpart. The
measured results of the developed balun not only agree with Fig. 1. Circuit configuration of the conventional Marchand balun.
the full-wave simulation results very well, but also resemble the
calculated results by ideal coupled lines. The new Marchand balun
developed in this letter has a 10 dB return loss bandwidth of 90%,
while in this frequency range the amplitude imbalance varies from
0 37 dB to 0.32 dB, and the phase difference in the range of
180 4 181 8 .
Index TermsCoupled circuits, Marchand balun, planar balun
design, slot-coupled microstrip line.


HE Marchand balun is a popular microwave balun struc-

T ture, and it is mainly applied in a wireless communication
system to transfer the single-ended signal to the balanced signal.
Hence, baluns find applications in realizing balanced mixers,
push-pull amplifiers, and antenna feeding networks. Shown in
Fig. 1 is the circuit configuration of the conventional planar
Fig. 2. (a) Proposed Marchand balun using slot-coupled microtrip lines, and its
Marchand balun [1], [2]. It is connected by two pairs of quarter- 0 0
(b) A A and (c) B B cross-sectional views. (d) The equivalent structure
wavelength coupled lines with open- and short- circuited ter- of the diamond-shape slot-coupled microstrip line.
minations at specified ports. Except for the coupled microstrip
lines [2], the coupled lines can also be implemented by the
Lange coupler [3] and multi-conductor coupler [4] to minia- dividers [10], and six-port vector voltmeters [11]. Although the
turize the balun circuit size. In addition, by using the metamate- elliptic-shape coupler improves the operating bandwidth, it in-
rial transmission lines, the operating bandwidth of the balun [5] creases the design complexity as well. In addition, the slot-cou-
can be effectively enhanced. pled microstrip lines have not been utilized to develop a Marc-
Since the slot-coupled microstrip line has the advantages of hand balun yet.
compact size, wide bandwidth, and flexible control over even- In this letter, based on the circuit configuration shown in
and odd-mode impedances, it can be easily applied to realize Fig. 1, the quarter-wavelength coupled lines of the Marc-
directional couplers with tight- and loose-coupling values [6]. hand balun are replaced by the diamond-shape slot-coupled
For ultra-wideband (UWB) applications, the rectangular-shape microstrip lines. Using diamond-shape structure not only
slot-coupled microstrips in [6] are modified to equivalent ellipti- effectively reduces the design complexity, but also retain the
cally-shaped counterparts, and then applied to develop the direc- broadband operation as compared to the elliptic-shape struc-
tional couplers [7], phase shifters [8], filters [9], arbitrary power ture. The proposed Marchand balun structure is illustrated
in Fig. 2(a), and its horizontal and vertical cross-sectional
views are also depicted in Fig. 2(b) and (c). The developed
Manuscript received August 18, 2009; revised November 30, 2009. First pub-
lished February 02, 2010; current version published March 10, 2010. This work
Marchand balun in this letter has a 10 dB return loss bandwidth
was supported by the National Science Council of Taiwan under Grant NSC of 90%. Over this frequency rage, the variations of the ampli-
97-2221-E-011-020-MY2. tude imbalance and out-of-phase difference are 0.69 dB and
The authors are with the Department of Electronic Engineering, National 1.4 , respectively. Moreover, the developed Marchand balun
Taiwan University of Science and Technology, Taipei 106, Taiwan (e-mail: has matched performance as compared with the ideal circuit
Digital Object Identifier 10.1109/LMWC.2010.2040216 configuration shown in Fig. 1.
1531-1309/$26.00 2010 IEEE

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Fig. 4. Circuit photographs of (a) top and (b) bottom views of the developed

Fig. 3. Even-mode and odd-mode impedances versus the slot and strip widths.
. As finishing the design of the diamond-shape coupled mi-
crostrips, two sections of the coupled microstips are connected
II. DESIGN OF PROPOSED MARCHAND BALUN to form the Marchand balun as shown in Fig. 2(a). Moreover,
The slot-coupled microstrip line is implemented in a two-lay- according to Fig. 1, one terminal of the coupled microstrip is
ered dielectric substrate with three metallic layers as shown in kept open-circuited, and the other two terminals are short-cir-
Fig. 2. Two broadside-coupled microstrips are realized on the cuited to the ground in the middle layer.
top and bottom metallic layers and the coupling slot is etched
on the middle metallic layer. To design the diamond-shape cou- III. SIMULATED AND MEASURED RESULTS
pled line, the rectangular-shape equivalent structure shown in Based on the design procedures in Section II, a 2 GHz Marc-
Fig. 2(d) should be first designed and then equivalent to the di- hand balun is designed and fabricated in a two-layered RO4003
amond-shape counterpart with the same occupied areas. substrate with a dielectric constant of 3.38 and a loss tangent of
Considering the structure shown in Fig. 2(d), the even- and 0.0027. Each dielectric layer has a thickness of 0.508 mm.
odd-mode impedances versus the slot width in the middle The photographs of the developed balun are illustrated in Fig. 4.
layer and strip width in the top and bottom layers are ex- It occupies a circuit size of 42.4 14 , and the dimension
tracted by Ansoft HFSS and plotted in Fig. 3. It reveals that parameters are , , ,
odd-mode impedance is mainly determined by the strip and . Hence, the angle of the diamond shape is
width , and almost independent of the slot width . In ad- about 7 . The above-mention parameters are already fine tuned
dition, the odd-mode impedance can be easily synthesized to achieve optimal performance. Hence, by applying (1) and (2),
by conventional microstrip formulas [5], [6]. The even-mode the calculated strip and slot areas are and
impedance and the coupling amount of broadside-coupled , which are approximately equal to the
strips can then be adjusted by varying the slot width . and , respectively.
For the Marchand balun design, a high impedance ratio be- The simulated S-parameters shown in Fig. 5(a) are achieved
tween the and of the coupled line is critical to achieve by 3-D full-wave simulator Ansoft HFSS. In addition, Fig. 5(a)
a well-designed balun and to broaden the operating bandwidth also presents the calculated results of the ideal Marchand balun
[2]. In this letter, the and are selected as 211 and of Fig. 1 using circuit simulator Agilent ADS. The circuit con-
31 , respectively. Hence, referred to Fig. 3, the corresponding figuration of the ideal balun is constructed by two sections of
dimension parameters in Fig. 2(d) are determined as ideal coupled lines with the values of and
, , and ( at the de- at 2 GHz. It is observed that the simulated results of the
sign frequency 2 GHz). The strip and slot areas of the equiv- developed balun have a matched performance to those of the
alent structure are achieved as ideal Marchand balun. The measured results shown in Fig. 5(b)
and . are carried out by Anritsu 37347C, and are in a good agreement
As shown in Fig. 2(a), the strip and slot areas of the diamond- with simulated results. The measured return loss is better than
shape slot-coupled microstrip can be calculated as 10 dB from 1.11 GHz to 2.93 GHz with a 90% relative band-
width. Over this frequency range, the varies from
to , while changes from to .
The results shown in Fig. 5 demonstrate that the proposed cir-
cuit configuration in this letter is an effective structure to im-
plement a broadband Marchand balun. Obviously, the conver-
(1) sion procedures of slot-coupled microstrip from the rectangular-
shape to the diamond-shape in Section II are also experimentally
(2) verified.
Shown in Fig. 6 are the measured and simulated results of am-
Therefore, as the is chosen and is set to , the and plitude imbalance and phase difference. The measured results
can be obtained by letting and agree with the simulated results very well. As the frequency

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In this letter, the slot-coupled microstrip lines are exploited to
develop a new broadband Marchand balun. Instead of using the
elliptic-shape slot-coupled microstrip [7], the conventional rect-
angular-shape structure [6] is equivalent to the diamond-shape
counterpart using simple conversion formulas in Section II. The
new balun is carefully designed, fabricated, and measured. The
measured results are in a good agreement with simulated results.
Moreover, the calculated results of the ideal Marchand balun are
given to demonstrate the effectiveness of the balun structure pro-
posed in this letter. Since the developed balun has small varia-
tions of the in-band amplitude imbalance and phase difference,
it is a good key component to implement broadband balanced
circuits, such as balanced mixers and push-pull amplifiers.

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