Artificial Magnetic Materials for High Gain Planar Antennas
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A new method is proposed to enhance the gain and efficiency of planar printed antennas. The proposed method is based on using artificial magnetic materials as a superstrate for planar printed antennas while maintaining the low-profile attractive feature of these antennas. It is found that the antenna's gain increases as the permeability of the superstrate increases. Due to the lack of low-loss natural magnetic materials in the microwave band, designing artificial materials with magnetic properties has become increasingly attractive in recent years. In particular, using magneto-dielectric superstrates reduces the wavelength in the media leading to a miniaturized composite structure (antenna with superstrate). The split ring resonator SRR is used as a unit cell of an artificial magnetic superstrate for a microstrip antenna to enhance the antenna gain and efficiency. Also, in this work, mechanism of operation for artificial magnetic materials is theoretically investigated. Analytical and numerical methods are provided to model the behaviour of these materials. Full-wave analysis of multilayered periodic structures is an expensive computational task which requires considerable computer resources. In this work, a fast analytical solution for the radiation field of a microstrip antenna loaded with a generalized superstrate is proposed. The proposed solution is based on using the cavity model in conjunction with the reciprocity theorem and the transmission line analogy. The proposed analytical formulation reduces the simulation time by two orders of magnitude in comparison with full-wave analysis. The method presented in this work is verified using both numerical and experimental results for the case of a patch antenna covered with an artificial 3D periodic superstrate. Another useful feature of a microstrip antenna covered with superstrate is controlling the direction and beamwidth of the main beam of the antenna. Beam steering has been traditionally implemented in antenna arrays using phase shifters which result in complex and expensive structures and suffer from high loss and mass. This work provides a novel method to steer the main beam of a patch antenna by partially covering it with a high refractive index superstrate. The beam steering of a single patch is possible because of the dual-slot radiation mechanism of the microstrip antenna (according to the cavity model). Full-wave simulations, analytical modeling and experiments are provided to support the proposed technique of beam steering in planar antennas.