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A Low-Pass Filter Design

using Microstrip


A Project thesis Submitted to Haldia Institute of Technology

In Partial Fulfilment of the Requirements for Degree of
B. Tech in Electronics & Communication Engineering,
West Bengal University of Technology


Asst. Prof. S. Mukherjee

Department of Electronics and Communication Engineering,

Haldia Institute of Technology



This is to certify that the thesis entitled “Low-Pass Filter
Design using Microstrip Filter” submitted by Sarvajeet
Halder and Sourav Sarkar, is absolutely based upon their
work under the supervision of Asst. Prof. S. Mukherjee,
Department of Electronics & Communication Engineering, Haldia
Institute of Technology, and that neither this thesis nor any part
of it has been submitted for any degree/diploma or any other
academic award anywhere before.

Dr. Sunandan Bhunia Asst. Prof. S.Mukherjee

Head of the Department
Department of Electronics &
Electronics & Communication Engineering
Communication Engineering
Haldia Institute of Technology
Haldia Institute of Technology

Certificate of Approval
The foregoing thesis entitled “A Low-Pass Filter Design using
Microstrip” is hereby approved as a creditable study of an engineering
subject carried out and presented in a manner satisfactory to warrants its
acceptance as a pre-requisite for the degree for which it has been submitted.
It is understood that by this approval the undersigned do not necessararily
endorse or approve any statement made, opinion expressed or conclusion
drawn therein but approve the thesis only for the purpose for which it is

Dr. Sunandan Bhunia

Head of the Department
Electronics & Communication Engineering
Haldia Institute of Technology

We would lie to convey our thanks to our project guide Asst. Prof.
S. Mukherjee, Department of Electronics & Communication Engineering, Haldia
Institute of Technology for assisting and guiding us in every step of our project.
The project could not be progressed without your help and guidance.

We would also like to thank Dr Sunandan Bhunia, Head of the Department,

Electronics and Communication Engineering, Haldia Institute of Technology for
allowing us to use the laboratory of the Department.




1. Introduction 2

2. Objective 3

3. Fabrication 3

1. Copper-clad boards 3
2. Thin-film technology 4
3. Thick-film fabrication 4

4. Working Principle 5

1. Richard’s Transformation 5
2. Kuroda Identity 5

5. Microstrip Design 7

6. Realisation of Low-pass Microstrip Filter 11

7. Use of Microstrip Line Calculator Software 14

8. Why microstrips? 15

9. Applications 15

10. Conclusion 16

Bibliography 17

Microstrip Technology utilizes printed metallic strips and other varying
configurations, depending on the circuit itself, on substrates of various
thicknesses and materials. Our vision is to develop a Low pass filter using a
Microstrip. The report for this semester is concentrated mainly on Microstrip
development and technology. The knowledge of microstrip will let us know
about the working principle of microstrip low-pass filters.

1. Introduction
Microstrip is a type of electrical transmission linewhich can be fabricated
using printed circuit board technology, and is used to convey microwave-
frequency signals. It consists of a conducting strip separated from a ground
plane by a dielectric layer known as the substrate. In such a technology
reciprocal and nonreciprocal passive components are obtained by varying
the configuration of the printed metallic strips, while interconnections can
be made on the substrate. Microwave components such as antennas,
couplers, filters , power dividersetc. can be formed from microstrip, the
entire device existing as the pattern of metallization on the substrate.
Microstrip is thus much less expensive than traditional waveguide
technology, as well as being far lighter and more compact. Microstrip was
developed by ITT laboratories as a competitor to stripline (first published by
Grieg and Engelmann in the December 1952 IRE proceedings).

The disadvantages of microstrip compared with waveguide are the generally

lower power handling capacity, and higher losses. Also, unlike waveguide,
microstrip is not enclosed, and is therefore susceptible to cross-talk and
unintentional radiation. For lowest cost, microstrip devices may be built on
an ordinary FR-4(standard PCB) substrate. However it is often found that
the dielectric losses in FR4 are too high at microwave frequencies, and that
the dielectric constantis not sufficiently tightly controlled. For these
reasons, an alumina substrate is commonly used.

On a smaller scale, microstrip transmission lines are also built into

monolithic microwave integrated circuits. Microstrip lines are also used in
high-speed digital PCB designs, where signals need to be routed from one
part of the assembly to another with minimal distortion, and avoiding high
cross-talk and radiation.

Microstrip is very similar to striplineand coplanar waveguide, and it is

possible to integrate all three on the same substrate. Microstripis a type of
electrical transmission line which can be fabricated using printed circuit
board technology, and is used to convey microwave-frequency signals. It
consists of a conducting strip separated from a ground plane by a dielectric
layer known as the substrate.

2. Objective
The objective of the project for this semester is limited to the basics which
would give us the concepts required for designing a microstrip low pass

1. Microstrips
2. Determine the impedance and width of the microstrip to be used in
low pass filter
3. Implementation in low pass filter design

3. Fabrication
Materials and fabrication technologies

Broadly speaking there are 3 main technologies for fabricating microstrip


 Copper-clad boards
 Thick-film fabrication, on ceramic substrates
 Thin-film fabrication, on ceramic substrates, other substrates(e.g.
Quartz), and integrated circuits(GaAs, InP, Si, etc)

★ Copper-clad boards
Here,copper is put on large fibre-glass or other woven or PTFE-based
boards, using electrodeposition or rolling.photoresist is usually
applied by laminating a prepared film onto the substrate. It might also
be applied by dipping in a tank,or by spinning(for small circuits). The
photoresistst is then exposed to uv via a mask,and developed.the
copper is then etched away where it is not covered by photoresist.

★ Thick-film fabrication
In this technology,metal and dielectric pastes are applied to a ceramic
base substrate using screen printing.the screen is a fine metal wire
mesh,and it has a photographic emulsion applied.the circuit pattern
is reproduced onto this emulsion layer.during printing,the paste is
squeezed through the mesh where there are emulsion openings onto
the substrate.the paste is then dried and fired at around 850 deg
c.successive layers can be printed to from multilayer circuits.

★ Thin-film technology
In this technology metel deposition technique such as sputting and
evaporation are used,possibly with electroplating as well for increase
metel thickness. The equipment used is relatively expensive,and the
substrate must be in a vacuum in mass production,the need to wait
for the chamber pressure to drop down,and the limited substrate
size,are significant drawbacks.however,thin-film technology gives the
best pattern definition and highest performance if suitable meterials
are used.

4. Working Principle

To accomplish the conversion from lumped and distributed circuit designs,

Richards proposed a special transformation that allows open and short
circuit transmission line segments to emulate the inductive and capacitive
behavior of the discrete components.

The input impedance of a short circuit transmission line of

characteristicimpedance Zo is purely reactive.

Zin= j Zo

tan (βl) = j Zo

tan Θ

Here the electric length Θ can be rewritten in such a way as to make the
frequency behavior explicit. If we pick the line length to be λo/8 at a
particular reference frequency
fo = Vp/λo
the electric length becomes
Θ = (П/4)Ω
On substituting we get
jωL = j Zo
tan ((П/4) Ω) = SZo
similarly jωC = j Yo
tan ((П/4) Ω) = SYo
here S= j tan ((П/4) Ω) is Richards transform

Richards transformation allows us to replace lumped inductors with short

circuit stubs and capacitors with open circuit stubs of characteristic
impedance Zo= 1/ C.


Kuroda Identities (aka Kuroda Transforms) are used to convert a section of

transmission line with an open parallel stub into an electrically equivalent
section of transmission line with a shorted series stub. As a result, an
identical S-parameter matrix is produced that performs the same function.
The technique is handy when designing distributed element circuits where
one configuration is possible and the other is not. Filters are a good

example, because in the physical layout open parallel stubs are difficult (or
impossible) to realize whereas series shorted series stubs are.

For all four transforms, use n2 = 1 + Z2/Z1, and the rectangular boxes are
λ/8 transmission line sections with the indicated characteristic impedances.

Kuroda Identity (Transform) Parallel Capacitor Input

Kuroda Identity (Transform) Series Inductor Input

Kuroda Identity (Transform) Parallel Inductor Input

Kuroda Identity (Transform) Series Capacitor Input

5. Microstrip Design
The Microstrip line it has become the best known and most widely used
planar transmission line for RF and Microwave circuits. This popularity and
widespread use are due to its planar nature, ease of fabrication using
various processes, easy integration with solid-state devices, good heat
sinking, and good mechanical support.

In simple terms, Microstrip is the printed circuit version of a wire over a

ground plane, and thus it tends to radiate asthe spacing betweenthe ground
plane and the strip increases. A substrate thickness of a few percent of a
wavelength (or less) minimizes radiation without forcingthe strip widthto
betoo narrow.

 In contrast to Stripline, the two-media nature (substrate discontinuity)

of Microstrip causes its dominant mode to be hybrid (Quasi-TEM) not
TEM, with the result that the phase velocity, characteristic
impedance, and field variation in the guide cross section all become
mildly frequency dependent.
 The Microstrip line is dispersive. With increasing frequency,the
effective dielectric constant gradually climbs towards that of the
substrate, so that the phase velocity gradually decreases. This is true
even with a non-dispersive substrate material (the substrate dielectric
constant will usually fall with increasing frequency).
 In Microstrip development a new concept of Effective Dielectric
Constant εeff was introduced, which takes into account that most of
the electric fields are constrained within the substrate, but a fraction
of the total energy exists within the air above the board.

 The Effective Dielectric Constant εeff varies with the free-space
wavelength λ0. The dispersion becomes more pronounced with the
decreasing ratio of strip width to substrate thickness, W/h.
Dispersion is less pronounced as the strip width becomes relatively
wider, and the Microstrip line physically starts to approach an ideal
parallel-plate capacitor. In this case we get: εr ~ εeff· The Effective
Dielectric Constant εeff is expected to be greater than the dielectric
constant of air(ε = 1) and less than that of the dielectric substrate.

In this expression shielding is assumed to be far enough from the

Microstrip line.

 Effective Dielectric εeff can be obtained by static capacitance

 If the static capacitance per unit length is C with partial
dielectric filing, and Co with dielectric removed, we get εeff =
 Guided Wavelength in Microstrips is given by:
λ0 / √ εeff where λ0 is the wavelength in free space
 The same as in Stripline case, in Microstrip fundamental mode the hot
conductor is equipotential (every point in it is at the same potential).
 A simple but accurate equation for Microstrip Charateristic Impedance

 The characteristic impedance of the Microstrip line changes slightly

with frequency (even with a non-dispersive substrate material). The
characteristic impedance of non-TEM modes is not uniquely defined,
and depending on the precise definition used, the impedance of
Microstrip either rises, falls, or falls then rises with increasing
frequency. The low-frequency limit of the characteristic impedance is

referred to as the Quasistatic Characteristic Impedance, and is the
same for all definitions of characteristic impedance.
 Microstrip frequency limitation is given mainly by the lowest order
transverse resonance, which occurs when width of the line (plus
fringing field component) approaches a half-wavelength in the
dielectric. Have to avoid using wide lines.
 For very wide lines, the fields are almost all in the substrate, while
narrower lines will have proportionally more field energy in air.
 Propagation Delay for a given length in a Microstrip line is only
function of εr:

 Any practical Microstrip line has following Sources of Attenuation, due

a. Finite conductibility of the line conductors.
b. Finite resistivity of the substrate and its dumping phenomena.
c. Radiation effects.
d. Magnetic loss plays a role only for magnetic substrates, such as
 Waveguides and Striplines have no radiation losses, while in
Microstrip case (since the Microstrip is an open transmission line)
radiation effects are present at any discontinuity section.
 For Microstrip using high dielectric materials εr and accurate
conductor shape and matching, conductor and dielectric losses are
predominant in relation to the radiation losses. In practice, it has
been found that the Microstrip impedance with finite ground plane
width (Zo) is practically equal to the impedance value with infinite
width ground plane (Zi), if the ground width Wg is at least greater
than 3*W.

 Microstrip’s primary advantages of low cost and compact size are
offset by its tendency to be more lossy than Coaxial Line, Waveguide,
and Stripline.
 Radiation Losses depend on the dielectric constant, substrate
thickness, and the circuit geometry.
 The lower the dielectric constant, the less the concentration of energy
in the substrate region, and, hence, the greater the radiation losses.
 The real benefit in having a higher dielectric constant is not only
reducing radiation losses but also that the package size decreases by
approximately the square root of the dielectric constant.
 One way to lower the loss of Microstrip line is to suspend the

substrate over the air:

The air between the bottom of the substrate and the ground plane contains
the bulk of the electromagnetic field. The insertion loss of the Microstrip is
reduced because, air essentially has no dielectric loss compared to standard
circuit board substrates, and in addition, the width of the Microstrip line
increases because of the lower effective dielectric constant. Wider lines have
lower current density, and thus, lower ohmic loss.

 Suspending Microstrip means that the separation between the signal

and ground paths increases, and so does the Microstrip’s tendency to
radiate, particularly at discontinuities such as corners. From this
reason, suspended Microstrip mostly is used only up to a few GHz.
 In a Microstrip line, conductor losses increase with increasing
characteristic impedance due to the greater resistance of narrow
strips. Conductor losses follow a trend that is opposite to radiation
loss with respect to W/h.
 Important to remember, a smaller strip width leads to higher losses.
 Very simple method for measuring the Dielectric Attenuation constant
is based on the Comparison Technique.
1. Two Microstrip lines with identical electrical characteristics but
different lengths are used.
2. Their insertion losses are measured.

3. The difference between two values of insertion loss is used to evaluate
the dielectric attenuation constant.
4. This procedure avoids the systematic errors caused by radiation and
coaxial-to microstrip transitions.
 The Power Handling capacity of a Microstrip is limited by heating
caused because of ohmic and dielectric losses and by dielectric
breakdown. An increase in temperature due to conductor and
dielectric losses limits the Average Power of the Microstrip line, while
the breakdown between the strip conductor and ground plane limits
the Peak Power. A metallic enclosure is normally required for most
Microstrip circuit applications, such as Microstrip Filters. The
presence of conducting top and side walls will affect both, the
characteristic impedance Zc and the effective dielectric constant εeff.
 In practice, a rule of thumb may be applied in the Microstrip Filter
design to reduce the effect of metallic enclosure: the height up to the
cover should be more than eight times the substrate thickness, and
the distance to walls more than five times the substrate thickness.

6. Realisation of Low-pass
Microstrip Filter
Design a low pass filter for fabrication using microstrip lines.

The specifications are:

cutoff frequency=4GHz of impedance of 50 ohm.

Using Richard’s Transformation, we have

ZoL= L=3.3487 and Zoc=1/ C=1/0.7117=1.405

Using Kuroda identity to convert S.C series stub to O.C shunt stub.

We have
Z2 1
Z1 / n 2  Z oL  3.3487 And Z 2 / n2  Zo  1 
Z1 3.3487

Z2 1
Thus, n2  1   1  1.299
Z1 3.3487

Substitute again, we have

Z1  n 2 Z oL  1.299  3.3487  4.35 And Z 2  Z o n2  11.299  1.299

O.C shunt S.C series
stub stub

d d Z1/n2=ZoL d

Z1 Z2/n2=Zo



Z1=1.299x50 Zoc=1.405x50 Z1=1.299x50

=64.9 =70.3 =64.9

/8 /8
Z2=4.35x50 ZL=50
/8 Z2=4.35x50
=217.5 /8 =217.5 /8

50 50
217.5 217.5

/8 /8

/8 64.9 70.3 64.9

7. Use of Microstrip Line Calculator

This is a software for the calculation of width of the microstrip line.


★ Zo=50Ω, W=0.2532mm
★ Zo=70.3Ω, W=0.1106mm
★ Zo=64.9Ω, W=0.1387mm

8. Why microstrips?
They have the following advantages:

(a) Compatibility with the microwave active devicesthat can be very easily
mounted on the substrate (b) Enormous reduction in volume and weight
(c) Increase in reliability
(d) Reduction in cost
(e) Mass production

9. Applications
Microstrip circuits find extensive applications in radar systems, microwave
communication links, satellite communication systems, wireless and mobile
communication systems, medical equipment, etc.

10. Conclusion
For this semester, we emphasised more on:

1. Microstrips
2. Working principle of microstrip low-pass filter
3. Determination of unknown impedance
4. Determination of width of microstrip filter

But we are optimistic that we would be able to simulate and design a low-
pass filter using a microstrip.

This project not only helped us for understanding filters theoretically but
also helped us to understand a new way of implementation of filters using
microstrips. It would be quite challenging and interesting to see whether we
would be able to imply our theoretical knowledge and design a low-pass