Highly Efficient Planar Antenna System Based on the Planar Waveguide Technology for Low Cost Millimeter-Wave Applications
Abdel Wahab, Wael Mahmoud
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This thesis investigates the integration of planar antennas, such as Dielectric Resonator Antennas (DRAs) to the planar waveguide structure, specifically the Substrate Integrated Waveguide (SIW) for high radiation efficiency millimeter-wave (mm-wave) applications. The SIW is a low cost and low loss technology, since it almost keeps the guided wave inside the structure. Therefore, it is an excellent candidate feeding scheme compared to traditional planar (multi-conductor) structures, such as the Microstrip Line (MSL) and Co-planar Waveguide (CPW) for many planar antennas. It enhances the antenna’s overall radiation efficiency by minimizing the conduction loss, which dominates at the mm-wave frequency band. For this thesis, two different SIW-integrated DRA configurations operating at mm-wave frequency band are presented. The rectangular DRA is excited in its fundamental mode TEδ11 for radiation through a narrow slot cut on the SIW broad wall. However, the coupling slot itself is excited by the SIW TE10 fundamental mode. In addition, the design guidelines, and a parametric study is also conducted on the proposed antenna parameters to investigate their impact on the antenna’s overall performance including the reflection coefficient and radiation pattern (gain). The results are provided within this thesis. The antenna is made of low cost and low loss materials that are available commercially. It is fabricated by using a novel and simple technique, which is compatible with the Printed Circuit Board (PCB) technology. The board is treated as multi-layers composed of the SIW-layer, and DRA element(s) layer, respectively. The fabricated antenna prototypes are tested to demonstrate their validity for real microwave/mm-wave applications. Their reflection coefficients and radiation patterns are measured, and the antenna shows a boresight gain of 5.51 dB and a radiation efficiency of more than 90 % over the operating frequency band of 33-40 GHz. Antenna arrays based on the SIW integrated DRA are investigated for high gain/radiation efficiency applications. Different array configurations such as, linear (series-fed and corporate-fed) and two-dimensional (2D) arrays are presented. The series-fed DRA array is characterized by a single SIW line loaded by DRA-slot pairs, whereas the SIW-power splitter is used to form the corporate-fed DRA array, when loaded by DRA-slot pairs. While the SIW hybrid-feeding scheme (series-feed combined with corporate-feed) is used to form 2D DRA arrays. In this design, the SIW-power splitter is used to split the power equally and in-phase among the sets (rows) of SIW series fed-DRA elements (columns). A simple and generic Transmission Line (T.L.) circuit model is proposed to simplify and expedite the antenna array design process. It is used to calculate the antenna reflection coefficient and radiation pattern (gain). The T.L. model does not take the mutual coupling between the DRA elements into account, since our study shows that its less than -20 dB over the operating bandwidth. However, it is useful and faster than full-wave solvers, such as HFSS, which consumes time and memory due to the huge generated mesh. The developed T.L. circuit model is used to design the antenna array and study the impact of its main designed parameters on the antenna performance. The developed antenna array T.L. model leads to a general design methodology (guidelines). It also allows for optimum array designs for a given set of performance requirements and to have more physical insight into the SIW technology based antenna systems for mm-wave bands. The designed antenna array samples are fabricated and tested within the operating frequency band 33-40 GHz. The series-fed antenna array shows a measured boresight gain of 11.70 dB, and high radiation efficiency, which is more than 90 % over an operating frequency band of 4%. Furthermore, the measured results are compared to these calculated by the proposed T.L. circuit model and full-wave solver. A good agreement between the measured and the HFSS results are observed, especially near the frequency at which the reflection coefficient is minimum. However, some deviation is noticed between the proposed circuit model and the measured results. This deviation is attributed to the discrete nature of the SIW structure that affects the Short Circuit (SC) performance (magnitude and phase), the T.L. lengths, and the mutual coupling between any two adjacent antenna elements. All these issues are handled efficiently and are taken into account by the full-wave solver. Therefore, the measured reflection coefficient agrees with that of the HFSS, except for a very small deviation, caused by the fabrication tolerances and measurement errors. However, the proposed T.L. circuit model is still valid and can easily predict and estimate the resonance behavior and the impedance bandwidth of the proposed antenna arrays in a very short time compared with the full-wave solver.