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Smith Chart

The Smith chart is one of the most useful graphical tools for high

frequency circuit applications. The chart provides a clever way to

visualize complex functions and it continues to endure popularity

decades after its original conception.

**From a mathematical point of view, the Smith chart is simply a
**

representation of all possible complex impedances with respect to

coordinates defined by the reflection coefficient.

Im(Γ )

The domain of definition of the

1 reflection coefficient is a circle of

Re(Γ ) radius 1 in the complex plane. This

is also the domain of the Smith chart.

**© Amanogawa, 2000 - Digital Maestro Series 137
**

Transmission Lines

**The goal of the Smith chart is to identify all possible impedances on
**

the domain of existence of the reflection coefficient. To do so, we

start from the general definition of line impedance (which is equally

applicable to the load impedance)

V (d ) 1 + Γ (d )

Z( d ) = = Z0

I (d ) 1 − Γ (d )

**This provides the complex function Z( d ) = f {Re ( Γ ) , Im ( Γ )} that
**

we want to graph. It is obvious that the result would be applicable

only to lines with exactly characteristic impedance Z0.

**In order to obtain universal curves, we introduce the concept of
**

normalized impedance

Z(d ) 1 + Γ (d )

z( d ) = =

Z0 1 − Γ (d )

**© Amanogawa, 2000 - Digital Maestro Series 138
**

Transmission Lines

**The normalized impedance is represented on the Smith chart by
**

using families of curves that identify the normalized resistance r

(real part) and the normalized reactance x (imaginary part)

z ( d ) = Re ( z ) + j Im ( z ) = r + jx

Let’s represent the reflection coefficient in terms of its coordinates

Γ ( d ) = Re (Γ ) + j Im ( Γ )

**Now we can write
**

1 + Re ( Γ ) + j Im ( Γ )

r + jx =

1 − Re ( Γ ) − j Im ( Γ )

1 − Re 2 ( Γ ) − Im2 ( Γ ) + j 2 Im ( Γ )

=

(1 − Re ( ))

Γ

2

+ Im 2

(Γ )

© Amanogawa, 2000 - Digital Maestro Series 139

Transmission Lines

**The real part gives
**

Add a quantity equal to zero

1 − Re

2

( Γ ) − Im 2 ( Γ )

r=

(1 − Re ( Γ ))2 + Im2 ( Γ ) =0

r ( Re ( Γ ) − 1 ) + Re

2

( 2

(Γ ) − 1 ) + r Im 2

( Γ ) + Im ( Γ ) +

2 1

1+ r

−

1

1+ r

=0

r ( Re ( Γ ) − 1 )2 +

(Re 2

(Γ ) − 1 ) +

1

1 + r

+ (1 + r ) Im ( Γ ) =

2 1

1+ r

2 r r

2

1

(1 + r ) Re ( Γ ) − 2 Re ( Γ ) + + (1 + r ) Im ( Γ ) =

2

1 + r (1 + r )

2 1+ r

( )

2 2

⇒

Re ( Γ ) − r

+ Im

2

(Γ ) =

1 Equation of a circle

1 + r 1+ r

**© Amanogawa, 2000 - Digital Maestro Series 140
**

Transmission Lines

The imaginary part gives

**Multiply by x and add a
**

2 Im ( Γ ) quantity equal to zero

x=

(1 − Re ( Γ ))2 + Im 2 ( Γ )

=0

x

2 (1 − Re ( Γ ))2 + Im 2 ( Γ ) − 2 x Im ( Γ ) + 1 − 1 = 0

(1 − Re ( Γ ))2 + Im 2 ( Γ ) − 2 Im ( Γ ) + 1 = 1

x x

2

x

2

2 2 1 1

(1 − Re ( Γ )) + Im ( Γ ) − Im ( Γ ) + 2 = 2

2

x x x

2

⇒

( Re ( Γ ) − 1 ) + Im ( Γ ) −

2 1

=

1

Equation of a circle

x x

2

**© Amanogawa, 2000 - Digital Maestro Series 141
**

Transmission Lines

**The result for the real part indicates that on the complex plane with
**

coordinates (Re(Γ), Im(Γ)) all the possible impedances with a given

normalized resistance r are found on a circle with

Center =

r

1+ r

,0 { } Radius =

1

1+ r

As the normalized resistance r varies from 0 to ∞ , we obtain a

family of circles completely contained inside the domain of the

reflection coefficient | Γ | ≤ 1 .

Im(Γ )

r=1 r=5

r=0

Re(Γ )

r = 0.5 r →∞

**© Amanogawa, 2000 - Digital Maestro Series 142
**

Transmission Lines

**The result for the imaginary part indicates that on the complex
**

plane with coordinates (Re(Γ), Im(Γ)) all the possible impedances

with a given normalized reactance x are found on a circle with

Center = 1 ,

1

x { } Radius =

1

x

As the normalized reactance x varies from -∞ to ∞ , we obtain a

family of arcs contained inside the domain of the reflection

coefficient | Γ | ≤ 1 .

Im(Γ )

x=1

x = 0.5 x →±∞

Re(Γ )

x=0

x = - 0.5

x = -1

© Amanogawa, 2000 - Digital Maestro Series 143

Transmission Lines

Basic Smith Chart techniques for loss-less transmission lines

Given Z(d) ⇒ Find Γ(d)

Given Γ(d) ⇒ Find Z(d)

**Given ΓR and ZR ⇒ Find Γ(d) and Z(d)
**

Given Γ(d) and Z(d) ⇒ Find ΓR and ZR

**Find dmax and dmin (maximum and minimum locations for the
**

voltage standing wave pattern)

Find the Voltage Standing Wave Ratio (VSWR)

Given Z(d) ⇒ Find Y(d)

Given Y(d) ⇒ Find Z(d)

**© Amanogawa, 2000 - Digital Maestro Series 144
**

Transmission Lines

Given Z(d) ⇒ Find Γ(d)

**1. Normalize the impedance
**

Z (d ) R X

z (d ) = = + j = r+ j x

Z0 Z0 Z0

2. Find the circle of constant normalized resistance r

3. Find the arc of constant normalized reactance x

4. The intersection of the two curves indicates the reflection

coefficient in the complex plane. The chart provides

directly the magnitude and the phase angle of Γ(d)

Example: Find Γ(d), given

Z ( d ) = 25 + j 100 Ω with Z0 = 50 Ω

**© Amanogawa, 2000 - Digital Maestro Series 145
**

Transmission Lines

**1. Normalization 3. Find normalized
**

reactance arc

z (d) = (25 + j 100)/50 1

x = 2.0

= 0.5 + j 2.0

2. Find normalized 05

resistance circle 2

3 50.906 °

r = 0.5

0.2

0 0.2 0.5 1 2 5

**4. This vector represents
**

the reflection coefficient

-0.2

Γ (d) = 0.52 + j0.64

|Γ (d)| = 0.8246 -3

∠ Γ (d) = 0.8885 rad

-0 5

-2

= 50.906 °

-1

1.

0.8246

© Amanogawa, 2000 - Digital Maestro Series 146

Transmission Lines

Given Γ(d) ⇒ Find Z(d)

**1. Determine the complex point representing the given
**

reflection coefficient Γ(d) on the chart.

2. Read the values of the normalized resistance r and of the

normalized reactance x that correspond to the reflection

coefficient point.

3. The normalized impedance is

z (d ) = r + j x

and the actual impedance is

Z(d) = Z0 z ( d ) = Z0 ( r + j x ) = Z0 r + j Z0 x

**© Amanogawa, 2000 - Digital Maestro Series 147
**

Transmission Lines

Given ΓR and ZR ⇐⇒ Find Γ(d) and Z(d)

**NOTE: the magnitude of the reflection coefficient is constant along
**

a loss-less transmission line terminated by a specified load, since

Γ (d ) = Γ R exp ( − j 2β d ) = Γ R

**Therefore, on the complex plane, a circle with center at the origin
**

and radius | ΓR | represents all possible reflection coefficients

found along the transmission line. When the circle of constant

magnitude of the reflection coefficient is drawn on the Smith chart,

one can determine the values of the line impedance at any location.

The graphical step-by-step procedure is:

**1. Identify the load reflection coefficient ΓR and the
**

normalized load impedance ZR on the Smith chart.

© Amanogawa, 2000 - Digital Maestro Series 148

Transmission Lines

**2. Draw the circle of constant reflection coefficient
**

amplitude |Γ(d)| =|ΓR|.

3. Starting from the point representing the load, travel on

the circle in the clockwise direction, by an angle

2π

θ= 2βd = 2 d

λ

4. The new location on the chart corresponds to location d

on the transmission line. Here, the values of Γ(d) and

Z(d) can be read from the chart as before.

Example: Given

ZR = 25 + j 100 Ω with Z0 = 50 Ω

find

**Z( d ) and Γ( d ) for d = 0.18λ
**

© Amanogawa, 2000 - Digital Maestro Series 149

Transmission Lines

Circle with constant | Γ | 1

05

zR

ΓR

2

3

0.2

θ=2βd

= 2 (2π/λ) 0.18 λ

∠ ΓR

0 1 2

= 2.262 rad

0.2 0.5 5

= 129.6°

-0.2 θ

Γ(d) = 0.8246 ∠-78.7° Γ (d)

-3

= 0.161 – j 0.809 z(d) -2= 0.236 – j1.192

-0 5

Z(d) = z(d) × Z0 = 11.79 – j59.6 Ω

-1

z(d)

**© Amanogawa, 2000 - Digital Maestro Series 150
**

Transmission Lines

**Given ΓR and ZR ⇒ Find dmax and dmin
**

1. Identify on the Smith chart the load reflection coefficient

ΓR or the normalized load impedance ZR .

2. Draw the circle of constant reflection coefficient

amplitude |Γ(d)| =|ΓR|. The circle intersects the real axis

of the reflection coefficient at two points which identify

dmax (when Γ(d) = Real positive) and dmin (when Γ(d) =

Real negative)

3. A commercial Smith chart provides an outer graduation

where the distances normalized to the wavelength can be

read directly. The angles, between the vector ΓR and the

real axis, also provide a way to compute dmax and dmin .

Example: Find dmax and dmin for

ZR = 25 + j 100 Ω ; ZR = 25 − j100Ω (Z0 = 50 Ω )

© Amanogawa, 2000 - Digital Maestro Series 151

Transmission Lines

ZR 25 j 100 ( Z0 50 )

Im(ZR) > 0 2β dmax = 50.9°

1

dmax = 0.0707λ

05

ZR

ΓR

2

3

0.2

∠ ΓR

0 0.2 0.5 1 2 5

-0.2

-3

-2

-0 5

2β dmin = 230.9°

-1 dmin = 0.3207λ

**© Amanogawa, 2000 - Digital Maestro Series 152
**

Transmission Lines

ZR 25 j 100 ( Z0 50 )

Im(ZR) < 0 2β dmax = 309.1°

dmax = 0.4293 λ

1

05

2

3

0.2

0 0.2 0.5 1 2 5

∠ ΓR

-0.2

ΓR -3

-2

-0 5

ZR

2β dmin = 129.1°

dmin = 0.1793 λ

-1

**© Amanogawa, 2000 - Digital Maestro Series 153
**

Transmission Lines

Given ΓR and ZR ⇒ Find the Voltage Standing Wave Ratio (VSWR)

The Voltage standing Wave Ratio or VSWR is defined as

Vmax 1 + Γ R

VSWR = =

Vmin 1 − Γ R

**The normalized impedance at a maximum location of the standing
**

wave pattern is given by

1 + Γ ( dmax ) 1 + Γ R

z ( dmax ) = = = VSWR!!!

1 − Γ ( dmax ) 1 − Γ R

**This quantity is always real and ≥ 1. The VSWR is simply obtained
**

on the Smith chart, by reading the value of the (real) normalized

impedance, at the location dmax where Γ is real and positive.

**© Amanogawa, 2000 - Digital Maestro Series 154
**

Transmission Lines

The graphical step-by-step procedure is:

**1. Identify the load reflection coefficient ΓR and the
**

normalized load impedance ZR on the Smith chart.

2. Draw the circle of constant reflection coefficient

amplitude |Γ(d)| =|ΓR|.

3. Find the intersection of this circle with the real positive

axis for the reflection coefficient (corresponding to the

transmission line location dmax).

4. A circle of constant normalized resistance will also

intersect this point. Read or interpolate the value of the

normalized resistance to determine the VSWR.

Example: Find the VSWR for

ZR1 = 25 + j 100 Ω ; ZR2 = 25 − j100Ω (Z0 = 50 Ω )

**© Amanogawa, 2000 - Digital Maestro Series 155
**

Transmission Lines

Circle with constant | Γ | 1

zR1

05

2

3 Circle of constant

conductance r = 10.4

0.2 ΓR1

0 0.2 0.5 1 2 5

-0.2 ΓR2

z(dmax )=10.4

-3

-2

-0 5

zR2

For both loads

-1

VSWR = 10.4

**© Amanogawa, 2000 - Digital Maestro Series 156
**

Transmission Lines

Given Z(d) ⇐⇒ Find Y(d)

Note: The normalized impedance and admittance are defined as

1 + Γ (d ) 1 − Γ (d )

z( d ) = y( d ) =

1 − Γ (d ) 1 + Γ (d )

Since

λ

Γ d + = −Γ ( d )

4

λ

1 + Γ d +

λ 4 1 − Γ (d )

⇒ z d + = = = y(d )

4 λ 1 + Γ (d )

1− Γ d +

4

**© Amanogawa, 2000 - Digital Maestro Series 157
**

Transmission Lines

Keep in mind that the equality

λ

z d + = y( d )

4

**is only valid for normalized impedance and admittance. The actual
**

values are given by

λ λ

Z d + = Z0 ⋅ z d +

4 4

y( d )

Y ( d ) = Y0 ⋅ y( d ) =

Z0

where Y0=1 /Z0 is the characteristic admittance of the transmission

**© Amanogawa, 2000 - Digital Maestro Series 158
**

Transmission Lines

line.

The graphical step-by-step procedure is:

**1. Identify the load reflection coefficient ΓR and the
**

normalized load impedance ZR on the Smith chart.

2. Draw the circle of constant reflection coefficient

amplitude |Γ(d)| =|ΓR|.

3. The normalized admittance is located at a point on the

circle of constant |Γ| which is diametrically opposite to the

normalized impedance.

Example: Given

ZR = 25 + j 100 Ω with Z0 = 50 Ω

find YR .

**© Amanogawa, 2000 - Digital Maestro Series 159
**

Transmission Lines

**Circle with constant | Γ | 1
**

z(d) = 0.5 + j 2.0

Z(d) = 25 + j100 [ Ω ]

05

2

3

0.2

0 0.2 0.5 1 2 5

θ = 180°

-0.2

= 2β⋅λ/4

-3

-2

-0 5 y(d) = 0.11765 – j 0.4706

Y(d) = 0.002353 – j 0.009412 [ S ]

z(d+λ/4)-1= 0.11765 – j 0.4706

Z(d+λ/4) = 5.8824 – j 23.5294 [ Ω ]

**© Amanogawa, 2000 - Digital Maestro Series 160
**

Transmission Lines

**The Smith chart can be used for line admittances, by shifting the
**

space reference to the admittance location. After that, one can

move on the chart just reading the numerical values as

representing admittances.

**Let’s review the impedance-admittance terminology:
**

Impedance = Resistance + j Reactance

Z = R + jX

Admittance = Conductance + j Susceptance

Y = G + jB

On the impedance chart, the correct reflection coefficient is always

represented by the vector corresponding to the normalized

impedance. Charts specifically prepared for admittances are

modified to give the correct reflection coefficient in correspondence

of admittance.

**© Amanogawa, 2000 - Digital Maestro Series 161
**

Transmission Lines

**Smith Chart for
**

Admittances

y(d) = 0.11765 – j 0.4706

-1

-0 5 Negative

Γ

-2 (inductive)

susceptance

-3

-0.2

5 2 1 0.5 0.2 0

0.2

3

Positive

(capacitive)

2 susceptance

05

1

z(d) = 0.5 + 2.0

**© Amanogawa, 2000 - Digital Maestro Series 162
**

Transmission Lines

**Since related impedance and admittance are on opposite sides of
**

the same Smith chart, the imaginary parts always have different

sign.

**Therefore, a positive (inductive) reactance corresponds to a
**

negative (inductive) susceptance, while a negative (capacitive)

reactance corresponds to a positive (capacitive) susceptance.

Numerically, we have

1

z= r+ jx y= g+ jb=

r+ jx

r− jx r − jx

y= = 2

( r + j x )( r − j x ) r + x2

r x

⇒ g= 2 2

b=− 2

r +x r + x2

© Amanogawa, 2000 - Digital Maestro Series 163

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