Sunday, September 10, 2017


The switching is required in many applications at low as well as at high frequency. RF MEMS switches are the specific micro mechanical switches that are designed to operate at RF to mm-wave frequencies. MEMS switches usages some mechanical movement to achieve a closed or open circuit in the Radio Frequency transmission lines. GaAs FET switches do not have sufficient isolations to minimize cross interference and signal jamming from channels is close proximity.  MEMS switches provide high isolation when open, low insertion loss when closed, and can be operated at low power consumption. Because of electromechanical isolation, RF circuit doesn’t leak or couple significantly to the actuation circuit. MEMS are small in size hence it occupies less space in circuit designs so that which was the most required device in the communicating world. Radio Frequency Micro Electro Mechanical Switches (RF MEMS) classification depends on the type of actuation, deflection axis, contact type, circuit configuration, and Structure configuration. The most used RF MEMS mechanical structures are the cantilever beam and the air bridge structures. The presented design here is electrostatically actuated capacitive fixed-to- fixed bridge base capacitive switch.
An air bridge base capacitive RF MEMS is shown here. Gold (Au) is used as a beam material, and Silicon Nitride (Si3N4) with dielectric constant 8.5 is used as a dielectric material. Silicon nitride thin film dielectrics are used in capacitive radio frequency micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) switches since they provide a low insertion loss, good isolation, and low return loss. A capacitor is built up between the fixed electrode and movable electrode. Below are components of MEMS switch
  1. Wafer: This MEMS is fabricated on substrate as silicon, GaAs as active substrates
  2. Bridge: Gold (Au) is used as the membrane material.
  3. Dielectric: Silicon Dioxide(Sio2) is used as insulator
  4. Silicon as substrate
In air bridge type MEMS switch, the beam is fixed at both the ends and voltage is applied in the middle of the beam to note down the displacement of the beam towards the substrate. The displacement is maximum in the middle region when we go on increasing the applied voltage. The actuation voltage or applied voltage or pull in voltage is the maximum voltage at which the electrostatic force becomes superior over mechanical restoring force, causes MEMS device pull down towards the ground plane. Initially the input applied voltage is 1mv there is no deformation in the switch under this condition input is equal to output, but the second case, in addition, a 5v is added to 1mv then there is some electrostatic force is created between the electrodes then the cantilever will deform and touches to ground under this condition the output is zero. The switch closing time depends on the actuation voltage and the opening time depends on the mechanical properties of the switch.
off2.jpgThis RF MEMS Switch is designed and simulated using Finite Element Method (FEM) tool. Finite Element Method (FEM) tools are very helpful to design and simulate the RF MEMS Switch. S- Parameter results are obtained, and examine return loss (S11) and insertion loss (S12) of switches. During the OFF state, the insertion loss is less than zero and return loss is less than 40 dB. Vice versa output graph could be obtained during the ON state simulation of MEMS switches.
on2It is observed from the results that the MEMS switch circuit has an insertion loss (S21) of 0.4 dB and return loss (S11) of about less than 12 dB in the OFF state up to 20 GHz. The switch has an insertion loss (S21) of -25 dB and return loss (S11) of about -0.10 dB in the up state thus exhibiting good switch characteristics.
The simulated E-filed plot and FEM mesh are shown here.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

QFN Package Simulation

he Quad Flat No-lead (QFN) package is a CSP (plastic encapsulated package) with a copper lead frame substrate. QFN type package is one of the most cutting-edge IC packaging technologies in the electronics. The QFN is a leadless package where electrical contact to the PCB is made by soldering the leads on the bottom surface of the package to the PCB, instead of the conventional formed perimeter gull wing leads.
qfn1The QFN-type package is known for its small size, cost-effectiveness and good production yields. QFN also possess certain mechanical advantages for high-speed circuits including improved co-planarity and heat dissipation. The QFN has pins on 4 edges of the bottom surface of the package. The QFN can have either a square or rectangle body as well as symmetric or asymmetric terminal patterns. The QFN was introduced to replace the gull wing lead Quad Flat Package (QFP) because the component leads are embedded in the plastic and cannot be bent during handling to insure consistent assembly attachment.
qfn24×4 [mm] 16 Pin QFN
Design is shown below . This QFN package has 16 pin.  Metal thickness is 0.15 mm and  plastic encasement is 0.15 thick. Defining a substrate stack up  for QFN is pretty straightforward. The mold encapsulations are defined by dielectric bricks and the leads are defined by vias. The top side graphic shows the side view of package that is mounted on PCB. The bottom picture shows the details of leads, bondwires, and the chip, in this case, a thin film circuit.
QFN Electromagnetic simulation model and result
The input and output transmission lines on the PC board are connected to the package leads. On the top of die paddle, qfn3.jpga thin film circuit with a thru transmission line is attached to see the package performance. Double bonding with a compensated bond pads are used to improve the frequency performance here. With this typical interconnect scheme, the simulation results show that the package can be used up to qfn4.jpg15GHz when the required input and output return loss are around -20dB.
Package performance can be further improved by Increasing the width of input/output transmission lines to make 50ohm impedance  or use two lead frames instead of single to minimize the transitional impedance profile and split the double bonding to the two lead frames.

Sunday, May 14, 2017


A pillbox antenna is a linearly polarized cylindrical reflector embedded between two Parallel plates. It is usually fed by a waveguide. The pillbox is part of a family of antennas called fan beam antennas which produce a wide beam in one plane and a narrow beam in the other. The pillbox antenna can be dual polarized and is also a relatively wide bandwidth antenna.
pil1.jpgThe advantages of using a pillbox antenna for radar applications are
  • It is easy to design and the cost of production is low.
  • It is dually-polarized and it is also a wide band antenna.
  • It has a high power handling capability
The pillbox feed is traditionally located at the focal point of the reflector. For symmetrical antennas this is located in the middle of the aperture. Either a pin or waveguide feed can be used, depending on the system requirements. Further variations of these feeds can be found through the use of stubs which are used to obtain better impedance matching and reflector illumination, not discussed in this dissertation.
Pillbox Antenna with Waveguide Feed
Below is Pillbox antenna designed at 39 GHz. The feed is a waveguide feed. The pil2.jpgwaveguide feed is first designed separately from the system. Flares are attached to the sides and optimized for the best reflection coefficient. Once the optimal configuration is obtained, the waveguide is used as a feed in the pillbox structure. Larger flares generally give a better reflection coefficient, but effectively increase the aperture of the waveguide, lowering the beam-width. The maximum gain of antenna is 25.6 dBi. Antenna polar plot (phi=90 degree) and E-field plot is shown below in figure.
The parabolic reflector reflects rays incident on its center directly back to the feed, this together with the narrow beam-width of the waveguide causes the majority of the energy to be reflected back into the waveguide, resulting in the impedance mismatch. One solution to this problem is to design the waveguide to have a wider beam-width and to radiate less energy in the centre through the use of stubs. Enlarging the pillbox width should also decrease the amount of energy reflected back into the feed.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

RFID Tag and Reader Antenna Design Techniques

RFID stands for Radio-Frequency Identification. The RFID device provides a unique identifier for that object and just as a bar code or magnetic strip the RFID device must be scanned to retrieve the identifying information.

RFID System Working Principal

A RFID system has three parts:
  1. A scanning antenna
  2. A transceiver with a decoder to interpret the data
  3. A transponder – the RFID tag – that has been programmed with information
RFID Systems
In most of RFID system, tags are attached to all items that are to be tracked. These tags are made from a tiny tag-chip that is connected to an antenna. The tag chip contains memory which stores the product’s electronic product code (EPC) and other variable information so that it can be read and tracked by RFID readers anywhere. An RFID reader is a network connected device (fixed or mobile) with an antenna that sends power as well as data and commands to the tags. The RFID reader acts like an access point for RFID tagged items so that the tags’ data can be made available to business applications.

RFID Frequency Band Allocation

There are a number of RFID frequencies, or RFID frequency bands that systems may use. There are a total of four different RFID frequency bands or RFID frequencies that are used around the globe.

RFID Antennas

As part of the design of the RFID antenna, parameters such as the radiation resistance, bandwidth, efficiency, and Q all need to be considered, so that the resulting design for the RFID antenna meets the requirements and allows the required level of performance to be achieved. RFID antennas are tuned to resonate only to a narrow range of carrier frequencies that are centered on the designated RFID system frequency.
The RFID antenna propagates the wave in both vertical and horizontal dimensions.  The field coverage of the wave and also its signal strength is partially controlled by the number of degrees that the wave expands as it leaves the antenna.  While the higher number of degrees means a bigger wave coverage pattern it also means lower strength of the signal. Passive RFID tags utilize an induced antenna coil voltage for operation. This induced AC voltage is rectified to provide a voltage source for the device. As the DC voltage reaches a certain level, the device starts operating. By providing an energizing RF signal, a reader can communicate with a remotely located device that has no external power source such as a battery. According to the different functions in the RFID system, the RFID antennas can be divided into two classes: the tag antenna and the reader antenna.


Tag Antenna

Tag antennas collect energy and channel it to the chip to turn it on. Generally, the larger the tag antenna’s area, the more energy it will be able to collect and channel toward the tag chip, and the further read range the tag will have. Tag antennas can be made from a variety of materials; they can be printed, etched, or stamped with conductive ink, or even vapor deposited onto labels.  The tag antenna not only transmits the wave carrying the information stored in the tag, but also needs to catch the wave from the reader to supply energy for the tag operation. Tag antenna should be small in size, low-cost and easy to fabricate for mass production. In most cases, the tag antenna should have omnidirectional radiation or hemispherical coverage. Generally, the impedance of the tag chip is not 50 ohm, and the antenna should realize the conjugate match with the tag chip directly, in order to supply the maximum power to the tag chip.  Tag antenna may be the signal turn or multiple turns as shown here.

Reader Antenna

Reader antennas convert electrical current into electromagnetic waves that are then radiated into space where they can be received by a tag antenna and converted back to electrical current.

RFID Antenna Design

This design RFID system is used to track object placed on the storage rack. In this system, there is two component of RFID.
rfid6RFID Reader: this component is fit on the shelf  and connected to data base computer system
RFID Tag: this component along with planar antenna is placed in tracking objects placed in store
When a particular object placed on the shelf or removed from the shelf, information of that object is automatically updated in database computer. The antenna is optimized to increasing the read accuracy and shortening the optimization phase. One more RFID transponder antenna designed at 13.5 MHz is shown below.

Planar Antenna for Ultra High Frequency (UHF) RFID Handheld Reader

This antenna consists of a microstrip-to-coplanar stripline transition, a meandered driven dipole, a closely-coupled parasitic element, and a folded finite-size ground plane. This Antenna is suitable for RFID handheld readers.


Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Helical (Helix) Antenna Design

The helix antenna is a travelling wave antenna, which means the current travels along the antenna and the phase varies continuously. Helix antennas (also commonly called helical antennas) invented by John Kraus give a circular polarized wave.  Helix antennas are referred to as axial-mode helical antennas. The benefits of this helix antenna are it has a wide bandwidth, is easily constructed, has real input impedance, and can produce circularly polarized fields. There are two mode of circular polarization in helix antenna.
Left handed helix antenna: In left handed helix antenna if you curl left hand fingers around the helix, thumb would point up. The waves emitted from this helix antenna are Left Hand Circularly Polarized.
Right handed helix antenna: In right handed helix antenna if you curl right hand fingers around the helix, thumb would point up. The waves emitted from this helix antenna are Right Hand Circularly Polarized
The minimum number of turns for a helix is between 3 and 5. There are many online tools available to calculate design parameter of helical antenna.

Design parameters for Helical Antenna

  • D – Diameter of a turn on the helix antenna.
  • C – Circumference of a turn on the helix antenna (C=pi*D).
  • S – Vertical separation between turns for helical antenna.
  • α  – Pitch angle, which controls how far the helix antenna grows in the z-direction per turn
  • N – Number of turns on the helix antenna.
  • H – Total height of helix antenna, H=NS.

Broad-Band Helix Antenna Design

Below is example of one Helix antenna that work at central frequency 1.35 GHz.
Radius-20 mm
Wire Radius – 2 mm
Number of Turn – 12
Height – 400 mm
Rotation- RHS
Helix antennas of at least 3 turns will have close to circular polarization in the +z direction when the circumference C is close to a wavelength.
The helix antenna functions well for pitch angles between 12 and 14 degrees. Typically, the pitch angle is taken as 13 degrees.

Simulated Result

Antenna is simulated using Finite-Difference Time domain (FDTD) technique. Below is simulated return loss and field plot.
Helix_gainAntenna radiation pattern ( Far Field data plot) is shown below . Antenna Gain is around 15 dB .
There are many other form of Helix antenna like  quadrifilar helix antenna.The Quadrifilar Helix Antenna has 4 excitations and  each element driven a progressive 90 degrees in phase. Then  Bifilar helix is constructed using two volutes with an equal number of turns, and their starting points positioned 180° apart. The ends of the volutes are connected with a shorting wire which adds to the structural integrity of the antenna.

Helix Antenna Array

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Signal Integrity Analysis of USB 3.0 Data Bus

USB 3.0
USB(Universal Serial Bus) is the most popular connection used to connect a computer to devices such as digital cameras, printers, scanners, and external hard drives. USB is a cross-platform technology that is supported by most of the major operating systems. UART is a computer hardware device that translates data between parallel and serial forms (SerDes). A dual UART (Universal asynchronous receiver/transmitter), or DUART, combines two UARTs into a single chip. The universal asynchronous receiver/transmitter (UART) takes bytes of data and transmits the individual bits in a sequential fashion. At the destination, a second UART re-assembles the bits into complete bytes. Each UART contains a shift register, which is the fundamental method of conversion between serial and parallel forms. Serial transmission of digital information (bits) through a single wire or other medium is less costly than parallel transmission through multiple wires. Below is USB 3.0 onboard interconnect and stack of ground and power nets.
SERDES is a high-speed serial data link used in integrated circuits (ICs) to serialize the parallel data and transfer it at a much faster rate. A typical SERDES architecture looks like a communication set-up with a transmit and a receive side. At transmit side, a PLL generates the fast clock necessary to drive the serializer. A clock and data recovery (CDR) circuit recovers a clock from the transmitted serial data and retimes the data at the receive side. One advantage of using SERDES is reduced clock skew, so data can be sent at the GHz rate. The main disadvantage in SERDES is timing jitter, the deviation of the actual signal transition from the expected transition in time. Timing skew is not a problem in serial interface because in each data lane, there is only one differential signal in each direction, and there is no external clock signal since clocking information is embedded within the serial signal itself.
usbs2.jpgEM simulated data is extracted for USB data group signals and combined with USB connector EM Data. Simulated result of USB connector to USB controller chip is shown here. This data is combined with other channel components for full channel simulation. From this analysis, important factors from a Signal Integrity point of view (e.g., impedance matching, reflection, attenuation, impedance mismatch, propagating delay, crosstalk, and alignment shapes of connectors) are analyzed.
As shown here, without any equalization eye is closed and after applying RX equalization eye is open and meeting USB specification. The idea behind equalization is to use the voltage levels of the other bits to correct the voltage level of the current bit. Due to the inter-symbol interference (ISI) from the frequency dependent loss of the channel, the eye of the received signals is totally closed, and the clock and data cannot be recovered from the severely distorted signals. After the equalizer, the eye of the equalized signals is opened.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Printed Conformal Antenna Design

Conformal Antenna

In many applications pertaining to missile, satellite, spacecraft and aircraft a directive antenna mounted on a curved body is required. Conforming the antenna to the surface save space and is often essential for structural reasons. An antenna that conforms to a surface whose shape is determined by considerations other than electromagnetic; for example, aerodynamic or hydrodynamic called conformal Antenna. Microstrip antenna technology is most suitable for conformal applications because of their ability to conform to non-planar structures. Microstrip antenna patches are placed above what may be characterized as a conducting plane with a dielectric substrate separating the patch from the conducting planeThe properties of such an array depend strongly on whether it is small compared to the radius of curvature of the mounting body, in which case it behaves nearly like a planner array or whether it is comparable or large to the radius.
The conformal antenna may be put in the belly of aircraft then there is no need of radome. Besides this, shaping and resolution can be improved by using the conformal antenna as more elements can be accommodated. In conformal antenna, it is found that resonance frequency is same for various curvatures. However, as curvature increases, the pattern broadens.  The aperture design of the conformal array is predicted on the knowledge of the patterns and coupling coefficients in the mutual coupling environment. The analysis and synthesis of the conformal array are slightly more complicated than a linear array with uniform spacing because the array elements point in different directions.
Antenna Design
For the analysis of conformal array antennas, the knowledge of the mutual coupling among the radiating elements and the radiation patterns of individual elements are essential ingredients. The first step in the analysis of conformal antennas is to find the electromagnetic field on the surface or in space in the presence of an arbitrarily shaped body. If the geometry is complex there are several reliable numerical procedures, e.g. the moment method, that is available for solving the radiation problem.
conf2The best way to design conformal antenna is first to design rectangular patch antenna of an array of microstrip patch antenna, then conform this geometry over a curved surface and re-optimize design. As resonant frequency does not change with a curved surface, same dimensions of the patch of the planar surface are modeled over a cylindrical surface. Patch dimensions and width of the feed line are calculated is the same way as of microstrip antenna array. Final optimization is carried out using Electromagnetic CAD software.
conf3.jpgThis is example of one 220-element waveguide-fed microstrip patch array.To reduce the feed loss, a slotted waveguide is used instead of the main feed line to feed the microstrip patch array. To simplify the manufacturing procedure, the slots of the waveguide are etched on the ground plane of the dielectric substrate, and the etched ground plane serves as the upper wall of the waveguide. The cover of this planar array is made of the dielectric substrate and its relative dielectric constant is the same as that of the dielectric substrate under the patch array. The slotted waveguide is excited by a coaxial probe at the center of the bottom wall of the waveguide. The two ends of the waveguide are shorted.
After optimizing rectangular array, this is converted to conformal antenna array as shown below.
conf6.pngSimulated result of this conformal antenna using Finite Time domain Difference ( FDTD) is shown below. The main advantage of this center-fed structure is that it avoids beam squint with frequency. The slotted waveguide is regarded as a linear array, and each waveguide-fed subarray is supposed to be an element of this linear array. If this linear array is end-fed, confessedly, the beam squints with frequency. The center-fed slotted waveguide is equivalent to a two-element linear array, and each array element is an end-fed linear array whose array elements are waveguide-fed subarray.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Time Domain Reflectometry (TDR) Analysis of Transmission Lines

ime Domain Reflectometry is the analysis of a conductor lines (interconnects)by sending a pulsed signal into the conductor, and then examining the reflection of that pulse. A TDR transmits a short rise time pulse along the conductor. If the conductor is of a uniform impedance and is properly terminated, the entire transmitted pulse will be absorbed in the far-end termination and no signal will be reflected toward the TDR. Any impedance discontinuities will cause some of the incident signal to be sent back towards the source. By examining the polarity, amplitude, frequencies and other electrical signatures of all reflections; tampering or interconnect discontinuity may be precisely located

Time Domain Reflectometry is the analysis of a conductor lines (interconnects) by sending a pulsed signal into the conductor, and then examining the reflection of that pulse. A TDR transmits a short rise time pulse along the conductor. If the conductor is of a uniform impedance and is properly terminated, the entire transmitted pulse will be absorbed in the far-end termination and no signal will be reflected toward the TDR. Any impedance discontinuities will cause some of the incident signal to be sent back towards the source.
By examining the polarity, amplitude, frequencies and other electrical signatures of all reflections; tampering or interconnect discontinuity may be precisely located.

TDR Analysis Need in Signal Net

TDR : Working Principle

With TDR, step pulse voltage is input into the transmission circuit and the voltage reflected in the transmission circuit is measured over time. The characteristic impedance of the circuit board is then calculated from the voltage drop in the reflected voltage.

TDR Simulation Result of Transmission Line in Smart phone from USB to Chip

TDR Pulse (step waveform) is very important. Rise Time value specifies the rise time of incident TDR pulse. The resolution of a TDR measurement system is directly related to the rise/fall time of the incident pulse. Rise time is specified with either a 10%-90% or a 20%-80% definition.

For example, consider a 20* timestep rise time for a 10%-90% definition, there will be 20 time steps between the time where the waveform has a value of 0.1 to the time it reaches a value of 0.9.

Initial glitch on TDR response Since the instantaneous TDR response is directly calculated from V/I, it reveals the initial glitch on TDR response. It is due to the zero current flowing through at the time = 0