A study of planar inverted-F antennas in a dielectric enclosure
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Demand for small and low-profile antennas has greatly increased due to the desire for miniaturisation of modern-day mobile radio electronic terminals. Such an antenna is often integrated into the dielectric casing of a terminal, or independently enclosed within a dielectric radome to provide a protection from operating environments and keep the system more compact. However, the dielectric casing or radome may interact strongly with the antenna and result in losses in performance. The primary focus of this dissertation is to investigate and enhance the performance of Planar Inverted-F Antennas (PIFAs) when enclosed in dielectric casings or radomes for applications in mobile radio communications. PIFAs have attracted much interest due to their small volume, low profile structures and electrical characteristics compatible with existing specifications, making it a promising candidate for mobile radio applications. Therefore, the design of a single band PIFA on a finite ground plane, operating in the 900 MHz band is first presented. It is found that the effect of the finite ground plane must be considered to achieve an optimum performance of the PIFA. Then the performance of this antenna in the presence of a dielectric cover layer is investigated and evaluated in terms of resonant frequency, bandwidth and efficiency. In this study, the dielectric layer represents the dielectric casing of a device where the antenna is much closer to the top part of the casing than to the other side parts whose effect can then be ignored. Computer simulations of performance are based on the Method of Moments (MOM) and have been validated by measurements. This study shows that a dielectric cover layer will strongly interact with the antenna with the result that the antenna performance may move outside the design specifications.Therefore, it is concluded that the dielectric cover layer must always be taken into account in the design stage. In addition, the input and radiation characteristics of a PIFA enclosed within a rectangular dielectric radome for both the 900 MHz and 2400 MHz frequency bands are analysed using the MOM. This research concentrates on the effect of each individual part of the rectangular dielectric radome on the overall performance. It is observed that each individual part has a different degree of effect on both the input and radiation characteristics of the PIFA, and that the effect is more significant at the higher frequency band. The study indicates that the effect of the dielectric radome on the performance of the antenna can be minimised by carefully choosing its location and orientation within the radome. Another indication is that an optimised dielectric radome design can both miniaturise the antenna and at the same time improve the bandwidth without sacrificing other performance parameters such as the gain. Furthermore, an analytical approach based on the Transmission Line Model (TLM) is applied to estimate the input characteristics of a PIFA having a dielectric cover layer. The results calculated based on this approach are compared with MOM computed results. A reasonably good agreement between them has been demonstrated. It is suggested that the TLM model could form part of an efficient Computer Aided Design (CAD) tool for design engineers to provide initial design parameters.Finally, a new dual-band PIFA is proposed. A design example for the Industrial, Scientific and Medical (ISM) frequency bands of 900 MHz and 2400 MHz is given. Measurement validation of the design is presented. The influence of the dielectric cover layer on the resonant frequency, bandwidth, gain and radiation patterns of this antenna is also examined by simulation. In this study, it is found that a simple capacitive disk arrangement not only provides a single feed for dual-band operation but also gives flexibility to allow individual control of the two desired band resonances.
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