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Title:Characteristic Modes for Impedance Matching and Broadbanding of Electrically Small Antennas
Author(s):Adams, Jacob J.
Director of Research:Bernhard, Jennifer T.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Bernhard, Jennifer T.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Cangellaris, Andreas C.; Franke, Steven J.; Jin, Jianming
Department / Program:Electrical & Computer Eng
Discipline:Electrical & Computer Engr
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):electrically small antenna
characteristic modes
quality factor
circuit model
spherical antenna
conformal printing
Abstract:Antennas smaller than a quarter wavelength are fundamentally constrained in a variety of ways. One of the more problematic limitations is that the antenna's bandwidth declines sharply as the size of the antenna decreases. Myriad studies have sought antennas that perform close to the fundamental limits, and they use a patchwork of good and bad design approaches. Our primary goal is to describe a new, complete framework to model the fundamental behavior of small antennas. We base our analysis in characteristic mode theory which allows us to decompose the antenna behavior into the behavior of a few well-defined modes. Using this decomposition we can better understand, design, and analyze small antennas. First, we explain a unified approach to model the antenna input impedance, rather than the haphazard array of approaches that are currently used. Using our model for the input impedance, we are then able to establish the conditions under which a small antenna can be effectively impedance matched, and analyze some simple methods for matching an antenna without using an external matching network. Through this study, we find that near-optimum modes actually exist in nearly every geometry but are often masked by higher order modes. From this result, a new design paradigm is proposed in which designs seek to couple into these existing modes and match using the simple methods described herein, rather than creating ever more complex and impractical structures. We also design and fabricate two novel, spherical, electrically small antennas, the TM10 antenna and the spherical meanderline antenna. Both of these antennas exhibit quality factor close to the lower limit, and hence, a near-optimum bandwidth. The spherical meanderline antenna is particularly well-suited for automated fabrication and can achieve bandwidth comparable to the best known values. In collaboration with materials scientists, we demonstrate the spherical meanderline antenna, which is one of the first microwave structures printed on a curved surface using a direct-ink write process. Finally, to circumvent some of the bandwidth limitations imposed on small antennas, we propose an approach to design multimode antennas. Estimates are derived for the bandwidth increases that can be achieved with this approach to antenna broadbanding, and a simple figure of merit is suggested. A case study in broadbanding the TM10 antenna provides some idea of what types of modal combinations are practical. Finally, a multimode spherical meanderline antenna matched with the simple techniques described herein is designed and fabricated.
Issue Date:2011-05-25
Rights Information:Copyright 2011 Jacob J. Adams
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-25
Date Deposited:2011-05

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