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A metamaterial-based electronically controlled transmission-line structure is presented and demonstrated as a novel leaky-wave (LW) antenna with tunable radiation angle and beamwidth functionalities. This structure is in essence a composite right/left-handed (CRLH) microstrip structure incorporating varactor diodes for fixed-frequency voltage-controlled operation. Angle scanning at a fixed frequency is achieved by modulating the capacitances of the structure by adjusting the (uniform) bias voltage applied to the varactors. Beamwidth tuning is obtained by making the structure nonuniform by application of a nonuniform bias voltage distribution of the varactors. A rigorous analysis based on an extension of the CRLH concept is proposed and the corresponding dispersion curves, obtained by equivalent-circuit formulas with LC parameters extracted from full-wave simulation, are shown. A 30-cell LW antenna structure, incorporating both series and shunt varactors for optimal impedance matching and maximal tuning range, is designed. This prototype exhibits continuous scanning capability from 50° to -49° by tuning the bias voltages from 0 to 21 V at 3.33 GHz. A maximum gain of 18 dBi at broadside is also achieved. In addition, it provides half-power beamwidth variation of up to 200% with comparison to the case of uniform biasing. The effect of intermodulation due to the nonlinearity of the varactors is shown to be negligible for antenna applications. The antenna is tested in a 10-Mb/s binary phase-shift key transmission link and successful recovery of the baseband data is demonstrated.
Microwave Theory and Techniques, IEEE Transactions on (Volume:52 , Issue: 12 )
Date of Publication: Dec. 2004