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Microstrip line is used to carry Electro-Magnetic Waves (EM waves) or microwave

frequency signals. It consists of 3 layers, conducting strip, dielectric and Ground plane. It is
used to design and fabricate RF and microwave components such as directional coupler,
power divider/combiner, filter, antenna, MMIC etc.
Microstrip is most popular structure used for RF design and product development due to
easy in fabrication and complete exposure for troubleshooting. High dielectric substrate
will have very less RF circuit size which helps concentrate energy between trace and
ground. Following are important microstrip variants used.
inverted microstrip line
suspended microstrip line
shielded microstrip line

As shown in the fig-1, the ground plane and microstrip lie on the same one side. They both
are separated by air dielectric. The height(h) is the combination of both substrate thickness
as well as air dielectric.
This microstrip line variant is reciprocal to inverted microstrip line. In suspended
microstrip line, microstrip trace and ground plane lie opposite to each other. The Air gap
exists between substrate and the ground plane.

The shielded microstrip line variant is similar to basic microsrip line except the enclosure.
The metallic enclosure will cover the entire structure and hence reduce the
EMI(Electromagnetic Interference) due to shielding. This is the most realistic configuration
as all the RF circuits are protected from environment and nearby RF circuits/systems.

Advantages of microstrip line


Smaller size
Easy to fabricate
Easy to troubleshoot
Disadvantages of microstrip line
Unwanted radiation in uncovered microstrip based configuration
Higher loss
Poor isolation among adjacent lines

Stripline is considered as extended version of microstrip line. As shown in fig-1, it looks


like a sandwidth structure. Here ground planes exist on both the sides of the substrate
while metal strip of design lies at the middle.
Stripline provides homogeneous medium for EM waves compare to uncovered microstrip
line structure. Fig-1 depicts the field configurations in the stripline configuration. As shown
field configurations will remain within the stripline and not exposed outside. Hence TEM
mode can be obtained in this type of configuation.
Stripline is formed by etching one one side of grounded substrate and later covered with
another grounded substrate of same height. Specific bond films are used to attach both
with atmost care.
Stripline types

As shown in fig-2, double conductor stripline is combination of two equal or two unequal
trace width microstrip lines.
Offset stripline can be formed by joining two substrates of unequal heights with a glue. As
the name suggests, centre conductor does not lie in the middle and is slightly offset.

The most popular among all stripline variants is suspended stripline. In this configuration,
stripline is etched out on a thin substrate and the entire structure is enclosed. As the name
suggests, stripline is suspended in the metallic structure.
The suspended stripline encounters air as dielectric on both the sides as h << H and hence
'h' can be neglected. This configuration supports pure TEM mode propagation. Assembly
and housing procedure is complex in suspended stripline. But is has following advantages.
No spurious radiation
Wider bandwidth of operation
Low losses
High Q factor
Advantages of Stripline
Good EM shielding can be achieved with this structure
Low attenuation loss
Wider bandwidth
Better isolation
Disadvantages of Stripline
Complex and expensive in fabricating it.
Stripline Trace width is smaller compare to microstrip line of same impedance and
height.
Tuning or troubleshooting is complex.

MicrostripLine
Advantages:

=> less expensive than traditional waveguide

=> far lighter and smaller and more compact

=> easy to fabricate

=> easy to troubleshoot

Disadvantages:

=> lower power handling capacity and higher losses comparing

with waveguide

=> poor isolation among adjacent lines

=> unwanted radiation in uncovered configuration

=> higher losses