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Appl. Phys.

15, 393--397 (1978)

Applied Physics
@ by Springer-Verlag 1978

Nonlinear Wave Propagation along Periodic-Loaded Transmission Line

D. JSger and F.-J. Tegude
Institut fiir Angewandte Physik, Universitgt, D-4400 Miinster, Fed. Rep. Germany Received 26 September 1977/Accepted27 November 1977

Abstract. A high frequency transmission line periodicaIly loaded with varactor diodes is presented to study nonlinear wave propagation. The nonlinearity and dispersion characteristics are experimentally and theoretically analysed. Experimental results on shock wave formation and harmonic frequency generation are found to be in good agreement with theoretical predictions. The influence of dispersion on second-harmonic frequency generation is particularly discussed yielding large values of the efficiency.
PACS: 84, 85.30

In the last few years increasing interest has been given to the study of nonlinear wave propagation along distributed or lumped variable-capacitance transmission lines. This is because of possible technical applications in harmonic frequency generators or parametric amplifiers for microwave integrated circuits [1, 2], and of their unique feature to serve as a useful prototype for experimental investigations of nonlinear wave phenomena with dispersion [-3, 4]. In particular, in case of the nonlinear distributed Schottky contact microstrip line it has been predicted that a sinusoidal excitation leads to shock wave formation if the dispersion and dissipation are negligible, the frequency generation has been studied by an analysis of the spectrum [5]. Experimental results on those lines could not confirm the estimated conversion efficiency of about 36% for frequency doubling as consequence of the large losses within the semiconductor [2]. On the other hand, it has been indicated that the efficiency should essentially approach a value of nearly 100 % if the energy flow into the undesired harmonics is prevented employing a low-pass filter [6]. The dispersion due to the filter characteristics, however, should be taken into account as has been done for some special lumped networks for which a periodic variation of second harmonic amplitude has been calculated [7]. Lumped variable-capacitance transmission lines which are very useful for experimental

investigations are till now mainly applied to some fundamental research on solitary wave propagation [3,

In this paper a novel nonlinear transmission line is proposed, a "semi-lumped" line where only varactors are used as lumped elements thus leading to excellent high frequency characteristics. Furthermore, due to its very simple structure, various interesting experiments are easily performed. From their results the nonlinearity and dispersion behaviour of the line are deduced and compared with theory to yield the assumption for the mathematical treatment of the nonlinear wave propagation. The shock wave formation is quantitatively analysed and the frequency spectrum is determined. Finally the influence of the dispersion on the second-harmonic generation is discussed.

1. Nonlinearity and Dispersion

In the inset of Fig. 1 a one section (length I = 3 cm) of the nonlinear "semi-lumped" transmission line (total length : 220 cm) is outlined : A Lecher type wire line - one wire parallel stretched above a metallic ground plane - - with characteristic impedance Z o = 223 f~ and free space phase constant P0 is loaded with a highquality varactor diode (BB 142, ITT) so that a symmetrical T-section results. The diode is characterized by its equivalent series resonant circuit with induc-



D. Jgger and F.-J. Tegude

~,~/x 4 Vott 700 600
+0,5 L . .


S./x 3Volt ,.~ 2 Volt


f . MHz 400
. .





~ ~, I Vott

- o, 5 ~ . . . . . .

~ ....

-"--.~-'~-~ - - - " ~ - . . . . .

-~. . . . . . . . . . . .

:- .....

} -',~


'N\ . \
N 10V~
I I i




~,-, %u

"N~. ~ . ~-x-3Volt . ~'x 4 Volt

I i


f-2 106. MHz-2



Zo, ~o




/~ I, rod

Fig. la and b. Dispersion for the nonlinear transmission line in the small-signal regime, parameter is the reverse bias Vo. (a) Plot of frequency against phase angle per section. The curves are calculated from (4). A typical T-section of the "semi-lumped" transmission line is scetched in the inset. (b) Plot corresponding with (6) which yields L 1 and ft. The equivalent lumped T-section with L=flolZo/m is shown in the inset

tance L 1 = 3.5 n H and voltage-dependent capacitance C. The nonlinearity of the diode as obtained by measurements is for the following sufficiently good approximated by

constant ? of the periodic-loaded transmission line are derived

Z= Zo

[sin rioI + 0.5Zoa)C*(cos flol- 1)] 1/2 fiol+O.5ZoooC,(co s fiol+ 1)] '


(3) (4)

C( V)= Cofl - a V ) ,
where V signifies, the applied ac voltage and C o = 21.85(1 + Vo/VD)- */2 [ p F ] ,


cosh ?1/= cos fiol-0.5ZocoC* sin flol.

the capacitance of the operating point with reverse dc bias Vo and diffusion potential VD=0.9V. 5 denotes the nonlinearity parameter 5 = [2(Vo + VD)]- t The small-signal characteristics of the transmission line are determined from the reciprocal two-port transfer matrix of the T-section

Equations (3) and (4) indicate that the line exhibits several pass and stop bands. Moreover, it is interesting to note at this point that in case of Lt = 0(4) is a wellknown dispersion relation in solid-state physics [-8]. For the following treatments and the described experiments the lowest pass band co__<c% may only be considered since Co>fiol/Zoco is valid within the frequency range co < 2[(L + 4L1)Co] - 1/2 = coc


where A and B are given by, respectively, [cosh U rio l/2) A = ~Zo,sinh(j fiol/2)

Z o sinh (j rio 1/2) ) cosh(J fiol/2) .'

C* = C(1 - ~ 2 L 1 C )- 1.


denotes the effective capacitance of the resonant circuit of the diode and co = 2rcf the angular frequency. From (2) the characteristic impedance Z and propagation

with L = flolZo/co is the inductance of the air line section. Hence the left-hand side of (4) may be rewritten as cosh (fl) = cos fll and fl is introduced as the phase constant of the transmission line. Equation (4) then describes the dispersion. In Fig. la the experimental results of the dispersion behaviour are given, parameter is the reverse bias Vo. The curves are calculated from (4). As can be seen, the experimental points agree very well with the theory. F r o m the above-mentioned assumptions and parameters it is furthermore deduced that within the lowest pass band (4) is reduced to cos fil = 1-0.5ZocoC*fiol.


Nonlinear Wave Propagation along Transmission Line The validity of (6) is demonstrated in the plot of Fig. lb. The extrapolation of the straight lines onto the ordinate yields L~ and the points of intersection with the dashed line where (cos i l l - 1) ~= - 0 . 5 holds give co~, cf. Fig. la. Thus a more detailed equivalent circuit which corresponds with (6) may be derived. It is shown in the inset of Fig. lb: Within the lowest pass-band one section of the "semi-lumped" transmission line may be described by a lumped T-section. It is worthwhile to mention finally that the dispersion relation (6) can be approximated by
x=Ocm x= 20cm


x =40cm

x =60 c m

fil = aco + bco 3

0 20 n sec t

with a=(LCo) 1/2 and b=O.5a(Ll +L/12)C o up to frequencies of about 0.8o) c.

Fig. 2. Shock wave development with sinusoidal excitation. f = 40 MHz, 1/= 4.2 V, V = 4 V, 5 = 0.102V- 1. Parameter is distance o from input, in normalizedform s =0.61 at x = 60 cm with s = f/. ~. Some numerical results can be found in [5, 6]. In Fig. 2 experimental results performed on the "semi-lumped" transmission line are shown which agree very well with the theoretical predictions up to distances of about x = 50 cm : The leading edge of the sine wave clearly steepens and the waveform becomes more and more triangular. From (12) the steepness is given by (V/f/)~ = ( 1 - s)- 1 at z = 0 indicating a discontinuity at s = 1 where the shock front is developed. At x=-60cm (s=0.61), however, the waveform in Fig. 2 shows that the third term of (10) becomes dominant at the peaks and that the dispersion takes place. It is therefore concluded that due to dispersion no shock wave will form along such lines. Nevertheless up to about s~0.5 the solution (12) may be used. In order to examine this statement a more quantitative comparison is carried out in the following by a Fourier analysis. Equation (12) yields

2. Shock Wave Formation

In case of small nonlinearity - 5 1 ? ~ 1 in (1) where f/ denotes the ac voltage amplitude - - and weak dispersion - - co<0.8coc so that (7) h o l d s - the wave propagation along the "semi-lumped" transmission line is described by the following nonlinear partial differential equation [-8]

Vx~ - [Vtt - ~ ( V2)u] LCo/I 2

= v=,(L1 + L/12)c0 (s)

where subscripts denote partial differentiations with respect to distance x and time t. Obviously, the righthand side of(8) is caused by the dispersion. To solve (8) it is advantageous to employ a (~, z) transformation [-5, 7]

= 0.5&o ~ o x / l ,
= c o t - co LI/-UCTox/I


V,(s) = 2 J,(ns)/ns


assuming a sine wave excitation V = f/sin cot at x =0. This transformation enables one to accomplish an integration with respect to z so that (8) yields 2V~ - (V2)~+ [2co2(L1 + L/la)Co/a ] V~, = 0 (10)

for the amplitude V, of the n-th harmonic normalized to f/, J, denotes the Bessel function of pt kind and order n. From (13) one obtains the following approximations for the first three harmonics (s < 1)
[71(8 ) ,~ 1 - -

(14) etc.

provided that the line is initially uncharged. If now the dispersive Fourier components of the propagating wave have only negligible amplitudes the third term of (10) may be omitted and the following expression for shock wave formation is derived V~- VV~= 0 , (11)

Vg(S) ~ s(1 - s2/3)/2, V3(s)~se(1- 9s2/16)/8,

which has already been given in [-5] for the lossy Schottky contact microstrip line. The solution of (11) is well-known, namely V = f/sin (z - sV/P) (12)

As can be seen, the amplitudes decrease with increasing order and increase at low values of s according to s. - 1. Therefore from sinusoidal excitation of the line the Fourier components along the nonlinear transmission line may be described by (13) at most up to s ~ l where the shock front formation, of course, is prevented owing to the onset of dispersion. Figure 3 shows a comparison of the experimentally determined

' _ iv, '

D. J~ger and F.-J. Tegude

0 y -10 m -20 -30 -40 -50 0

2 --

amplitudes of the Fourier components with the theoretical results of (13). As can be seen for s~<0.5, (13) is a very good approximation for the nonlinear wave propagation.

3. Second-Harmonic Generation

' [ / I I



Fig. 3. Experimental results of the Fourier spectrum up to the fifth harmonic, two input frequencies. The curves are calculated from (13). [z= 1.73 V, V o = 4 u , 6=0.102V -~


- -


190 MHz ....... 210 MHz ......... 230 MHz


/ 7/



/. /





In this section the second-harmonic generation is analysed in order to find out whether any practical nonlinear transmission line with large values of the efficiency can be imagined. From (14) one immediately concludes: If dispersion is ignored the efficiency of second-harmonic generation comes close to a maximum value of about 30 % (s,~ 1) which is in agreement with the numerical results in [5]. The efficiency cannot be increased since a large amount of input energy is spread among the undesired harmonics n > 2. As has been indicated in a recent paper, a low-pass filter should be advantageous to increase the efficiency [2]. The proposed nonlinear transmission line exhibits low-pass characteristics within the lowest pass band and should therefore be useful for experimental examinations. In the theoretical treatment the dispersion must now be taken into account. Equation (8) is solved by a Fourier expansion neglecting harmonics n > 2 and assuming small nonlinearity and weak dispersion, cf. [7] for example. The phase difference between first and second harmonic is signified by O = O 0 + A ~ x where A/?=/~(2e))-2/?(co) is a measure for the dispersion. With the transformation (9) one obtains VIV2 [/sinO, (V1); = - 211 - (,o2(L 14-- L/12)Co] 1/2 V~ P'sinO. (V2); = 211 - 4co2(L1 + L/12)Co] ~/2 (15)

Fig. 4. Experimental results of periodical variation of second harmonic amplitude with distance. V = 2.8 V, V0 = 4 V, 5 = 0.102 V - 1


'3 N -r-

/ /x

To solve (15) and (16) two limiting cases are discussed. If the dispersion is sufficiently small so that Aft ~ 0 (15) is divided by (16) and integrated. Setting again s = ~V the following expressions are obtained v t (s) = [co sh (s/2)] and

1,0 o


// ,/


Vz(s ) = tanh (s/2),


Ic, cm

Fig. 5. Plot of f - 3 against lc, the coherence length, according to (21). Parameter are those of Fig. 4

where Oo=rC/2 has been derived from initial conditions. Equation (18) shows that the efficiency of second-harmonic generation, in principle, reaches nearly 100 %. If, on the other hand, weak dispersion occurs an approximate solution of (15) and (16) can be revealed

Nonlinear Wave Propagation along Transmission Line


assuming that 1/1 remains a constant [7]. The solutions then become
1 sin~Afix


s V2(x)= 2

1 [l_4m2(Ll+L/12)Co]l/2,


0 = 0.5Afix + 7z/2.


Equation (19) reveals that Vz varies periodically with distance in consequence of the dispersion, V2 exhibits first maxima at half the "coherence length" l~= 27~/A~, to optimize the amplitude it is necessary to make lc as large as possible, i.e. to reduce the dispersion, In the lirnit 1 ~ o o (18) would result. A/~ may be evaluated from (7) which yields Ic= [24rc2(L, + L/12)C o ]/LCTof 3] - 1 (21)

In this paper a set of experimental results on harmonic frequency generation along a "semi-lumped" nonlinear transmission line is presented. The measurements are found to agree well with theoretical calculations based upon the equivalent circuit of the line. In this way it is demonstrated that, for example, the efficiency of second-harmonic generation may only reach practical values if optimum conditions are fulfilled: A low-pass filter structure prevent the propagation of the undesired harmonics, then under negligible dispersion a value of nearly 100 % can be achieved. From the analysis of the nonlinearity and the dispersion of the transmission line it is concluded that the wave propagation as described by the nonlinear partial differential equation should be very similar to the solitary wave propagation of the well-known Korteweg-de Vries (KdV) equation. Experimental results on this subject are given in a forthcoming paper.
1. D.J~iger, J.P.Becker: Appl. Phys. 12, 203--207 (1977) 2. K.Everszumrode, B.Brockmann, D.J~ger: Arch. Electr. Ubertrgg. 31, 212--215 (1977) 3. J.Kolosick, D.L.Landt, H.C.S.Hsuan, K.E.Lonngren: Appl. Phys. 2, 129--131 (1973) 4. R.Hirota, K.Suzuki: Proc. IEEE 61, 1483--1491 (1973) 5. W.Rabus: Arch. Electr. Ubertrgg. 28, 1-11 (1974) 6. K.Everszumrode: Wellenausbreitung auf nichtlinearen SchottkyKontakt-Leitungen, Thesis, University of Mi.inster (1975) 7. A.C.Scott: Active and Nonlinear Wave Propagation in Electronics (John Wiley & Sons, New York, 1970) Ch. 5 8. D.J~iger: Appl. Phys. 16, (1978) to be published

Figure 4 shows the experimentally determined variation of second-harmonic amplitude with distance in agreement with (19). The input frequency is defined by the requirement that the third harmonic lies above the cutoff frequency. The minima of V2 determine the coherence length 1 Figure 5 shows a plot of f - 3 c. against lc the slope of which yields 1.0.10"- 27 Hz -3 cm-1 in excellent agreement with the numerical result of (21).