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International Journal of Antennas and Propagation
Volume 2015, Article ID 328208, 8 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2015/328208
Research Article

A Butterfly-Shaped Wideband Microstrip Patch Antenna for Wireless Communication

1Department of Information Service & Intelligent Control, Shenyang Institute of Automation, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Faculty Office VII, Nanta Street No. 114, Shenhe District, Shenyang 110016, China
2University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China

Received 23 May 2014; Revised 2 September 2014; Accepted 22 September 2014

Academic Editor: Renato Cicchetti

Copyright © 2015 Liling Sun et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

A novel butterfly-shaped patch antenna for wireless communication is introduced in this paper. The antenna is designed for wideband wireless communications and radio-frequency identification (RFID) systems. Two symmetrical quasi-circular arms and two symmetrical round holes are incorporated into the patch of a microstrip antenna to expand its bandwidth. The diameter and position of the circular slots are optimized to achieve a wide bandwidth. The validity of the design concept is demonstrated by means of a prototype having a bandwidth of about 40.1%. The return loss of the butterfly-shaped antenna is greater than 10 dB between 4.15 and 6.36 GHz. The antenna can serve simultaneously most of the modern wireless communication standards.

1. Introduction

Microstrip patch antennas have found many applications in wireless communication systems because of their properties as low profile, light weight, low cost, and easy fabrication [1]. These applications include UMTS (Universal Mobile Telephone System), synthetic aperture radar (SAR), and radio-frequency identification (RFID) systems [24]. However, typical microstrip patch antennas present a narrow bandwidth. Various methods have been accomplished to improve the bandwidth of microstrip antennas. These methods include the adoption of thick substrates, the employment of parasitic elements, either in coplanar or stack configuration, the shaping of the radiant patch, or the inclusion of suitable slots. This last approach is particularly attractive because it can provide excellent bandwidth improvement maintaining a single-layer radiating structure to preserve the antenna’s low characteristic profile. The successful examples include E-shaped patch antennas [57], U-slot patch antennas [810], V-slot patch antennas [11, 12], and L-probe patch antennas [1315]. By using these methods, the bandwidth of these microstrip antennas could exceed 30%.

Recently, high-speed wireless computer networks have attracted the attention of researchers, especially in the 5-6 GHz band. This band can cover the frequencies of the high-speed wireless computer networks (e.g., IEEE 802.11a) [16] and the RFID UHF band in North America [17]. Such networks have the ability to provide high-speed connectivity (>50 Mb/s) among notebook computers, PCs, personal organizers, and other wireless digital appliances. Although current 5 GHz wireless computer network systems operate in the 5.15–5.35 GHz band, future systems may make use of the 5.725–5.825 GHz band in addition to the 5.15–5.35 GHz band, for even faster data rates. Furthermore, an antenna with a wider operating band is more suitable to operate in complex environments, such as buildings, factories, hospitals, railway stations, and airports, where the field propagation is dominated by many scattering processes due to obstacles (furniture, walls, openings, etc.) [18]. Therefore, further enhancement of the performance of microstrip antennas to cover the demanding bandwidth is necessary.

Hence, this work presents a novel single-patch wideband microstrip antenna with air gap for the requirement of RFID systems (5.8 GHz) and high-speed wireless computer networks (5 GHz). The patch geometry is cut into a butterfly shape which offers satisfactory performances by only adjusting the diameter of the radiant arms and the position of the circular slots. In addition, the frequency band and the return loss can be adjusted by these parameters independently. The numerical simulations are performed using HFSS software. A comprehensive parametric study has been carried out to understand the effects that the different geometrical parameters have on the electromagnetic performance of the proposed antenna. Using the parametric study, a wideband butterfly-shaped antenna with 40.1% bandwidth, having a return loss greater than 10 dB in the frequency band between 4.15 and 6.36 GHz, has been designed. These characteristics are very desirable for RFID systems and high-speed wireless computer networks.

The paper is organized as follows. Section 2 details the structure and the characteristics of the proposed butterfly-shaped patch antenna. In Section 3, numerical and experimental results, which demonstrate the performance advantages of the proposed butterfly-shaped patch antenna, are presented. Finally, the conclusion is drawn in Section 4, which also summarizes the main contributions of this work.

2. Antenna Geometry

The geometry of the proposed patch antenna is shown in Figure 1. The antenna consists of a butterfly-shaped metallic patch suspended, by means of a 5.5 mm thick air gap (), over an 80 × 80 mm2 ground plane. The patch is centered at the middle of the ground plane. The antenna is fed with a coaxial probe at position from the geometric center of the microstrip line. The feed point is welded at the 50 Ω SMA coaxial connector. The butterfly-shaped patch consists of two symmetric small loops and of 3/4 loops linked together (see Figure 1). Moreover, the width and the length of the microstrip line exciting the antenna, the inner radii , , and the outer radii , of both metallic loops forming the radiating arms have to be optimized. An interconnecting line of length and width , excited at a distance from the origin, is employed to match the antenna input impedance to the coaxial feeding line, resulting in a return loss greater than 10 dB in a wide frequency band (over 5-6 GHz). The geometrical dimensions of the antenna (see Figure 1) are 2.35 mm, 21.79 mm, = 3.85 mm, = 15.29 mm, = 20.22 mm, = 8.70 mm, and = 10.09 mm.

Figure 1: Schematic representation of the proposed butterfly-shaped patch antenna. (a) Top view, (b) lateral view.

3. Results and Discussion

In this section, a comprehensive parametric study and a comparison between the numerical and experimental results, including the antenna radiation patterns, are provided and discussed in detail.

3.1. Parametric Study

For a better understanding of the electromagnetic behavior of the proposed butterfly-shaped patch antenna, a parametric analysis with respect to some antenna geometrical parameters has been performed. To do that, the High Frequency Structure Simulator (HFSS) software was employed.

Figures 28 show the frequency behavior of the magnitude of the reflection coefficients as a function of the length , the width , the outer diameters and , the inner diameters and , and the feed position , respectively. As shown in Figures 2, 3, and 4, the length , the width , and the feed position can reasonably modify the impedance matching. Among the four parameters of the inner and outer diameters, namely, , , , and , and play a vital role in determining the resonant frequency as well as the bandwidth of the antenna, as shown in Figures 5 and 8, while the parameters and can effectively adjust the return loss, as depicted in Figures 6 and 7.

Figure 2: Frequency behavior of the magnitude of the reflection coefficients as a function of the width with = 21.79 mm, = 3.85 mm, = 15.29 mm, = 20.22 mm, = 8.70 mm, and = 10.09 mm.
Figure 3: Frequency behavior of the magnitude of the reflection coefficients as a function of the length with = 2.35 mm, = 3.85 mm, = 15.29 mm, = 20.22 mm, = 8.70 mm, and = 10.09 mm.
Figure 4: Frequency behavior of the magnitude of the reflection coefficients as a function of the feed position with = 2.35 mm, = 21.79 mm, = 15.29 mm, = 20.22 mm, = 8.70 mm, and = 10.09 mm.
Figure 5: Frequency behavior of the magnitude of the reflection coefficients as a function of the inner diameter with = 2.35 mm, = 21.79 mm, = 3.85 mm, = 20.22 mm, = 8.70 mm, and = 10.09 mm.
Figure 6: Frequency behavior of the magnitude of the reflection coefficients as a function of the outer diameter with = 2.35 mm, = 21.79 mm, = 3.85 mm, = 15.29 mm, = 8.70 mm, and = 10.09 mm.
Figure 7: Frequency behavior of the magnitude of the reflection coefficients as a function of the inner diameter with = 2.35 mm, = 21.79 mm, = 3.85 mm, = 15.29 mm, = 20.22 mm, and = 10.09 mm.
Figure 8: Frequency behavior of the magnitude of the reflection coefficients as a function of the outer diameter with = 2.35 mm, = 21.79 mm, = 3.85 mm, = 15.29 mm, = 20.22 mm, and = 8.70 mm.

Figure 9 depicts the surface current distribution excited on the butterfly-shaped antenna at the frequencies of 4.4 GHz, 5.5 GHz, and 6.2 GHz, respectively. In particular, from Figure 9(a), it appears that, at 4.4 GHz, the current distribution concentrates on the radiating arms close to the exciting microstrip line. This current behavior is due to the increment of the current path caused by the removal of the inner circles of the 3/4 loops forming the radiating arms while, at 5.5 GHz, a typical λ/2 resonant antenna current distribution is excited in the radiating arms (see Figure 9(b)). Finally, at 6.6 GHz all the metallic surfaces of the antenna are affected by the surface current as it appears from Figure 9(c).

Figure 9: Current distribution of the proposed antenna at different frequencies.
3.2. Measurement Results

The photograph of the antenna prototype is shown in Figure 10. The butterfly-shaped patch and the extended ground plane have been manufactured using conductive copper tape with 1 mm thickness. The simulated and measured reflection coefficients of the antenna are shown in Figure 11. The measurements are performed using an Agilent E5071C network analyzer. Considering a bandwidth of −10 dB, the experimental value of the relative bandwidth to the center frequency (5.5 GHz) is 40.1%, while the corresponding value obtained by numerical simulation is of about 41.7%. A good agreement between the simulated and experimental results is observed. It addition, it can be noticed that the antenna has sufficient bandwidth to cover the requirement of the RFID systems and the wireless computer networks.

Figure 10: Photograph of the proposed antenna.
Figure 11: Measured and simulated frequency behavior of the magnitude of the reflection coefficient.
3.3. Antenna Radiation Pattern

The tridimensional radiation pattern of the proposed antenna, computed at 5.8 GHz, is shown in Figure 12. The antenna radiates nearly unidirectionally from the top side of the ground plane. Figure 13 shows the simulated antenna gain for frequencies across the operating bands. The range of the antenna gain is 4.0–8.6 dBi. In particular, at 5.8 GHz the corresponding gain is 8.3 dBi, while at 5.0 GHz it is 4.4 dBi. Therefore, the antenna has a good performance in this frequency band. The measured and simulated radiation patterns in the -plane (-plane) and -plane (-plane) are shown in Figures 14 and 15. It can be seen that there is a good agreement between the measured and simulated results. The measured and simulated radiation patterns in these three frequencies within the bandwidth are approximately stable.

Figure 12: 3D gain pattern at 5.8 GHz.
Figure 13: Computed antenna gain versus frequency.
Figure 14: Simulated and measured radiation patterns of the antenna at 4.4 GHz, 5.5 GHz, and 6.2 GHz in the -planes.
Figure 15: Simulated and measured radiation patterns of the antenna at 4.4 GHz, 5.5 GHz, and 6.2 GHz in the -planes.

4. Conclusion

A wideband butterfly-shaped microstrip patch antenna for RFID systems and high-speed wireless computer networks has been presented. The return loss is greater than 10 dB from 4.15 to 6.36 GHz (40.1% bandwidth). The performance is more than that required to meet the demanding bandwidth specifications useful to cover the 5-6 GHz frequency band. At the same time, using an air gap, the antenna offers a wide band and presents limited dielectric losses. All these features are very useful for worldwide portability of wireless communication equipment. The comprehensive parametric study provides a good insight into the effects that the geometrical parameters have on the behavior of the proposed antenna. This analysis can provide the guidance on the design and optimization of the novel butterfly-shaped microstrip patch antenna, whose bandwidth can be easily tuned by properly adjusting the position and the diameter of the circular slots. Excellent agreement between the experimental measurements and the numerical results has been obtained.

Conflict of Interests

The authors declare that there is no conflict of interests regarding the publication of this paper.

Authors’ Contribution

Liling Sun and Maowei He contributed equally to this work.

Acknowledgments

This research is partially supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China under Grants 61105067, 61174164, 61203161, and 51205389 and the Strategic Cooperation Project of Foshan and Chinese Academy of Sciences under Grants 2011BY100383, 2012HY100523, and 2012HY100643.

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