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In this paper, a polarization agile planar antenna is presented by using tunable liquid crystal (LC) material. The antenna includes a 2 × 2 dual-fed microstrip patch array and two separate feeding networks for each feeding of the dual-fed antenna. The polarization state of the antenna can be controlled continuously between dual linear and dual circular polarizations depending on a differential phase shift between the antenna feedings. The feeding networks are implemented in inverted microstrip line topology with the liquid crystal material as a tunable dielectric. A desired differential phase shift is obtained between the feeding networks by tuning the LC material. Thus, no additional tunable components are required according to proposed antenna topology. Additionally, owing to the continuous tuning of the LC material, any polarization state between the circular and linear ones are achievable. The antenna prototype is designed at 13.75 GHz. The measured return losses are greater than 10 dB in a frequency range of 13.5 to 15 GHz for different polarization states. Far-field pattern measurements are performed, which confirm the continuous tuning of the antenna polarization. Specifically, the measured antenna patterns are presented for ±45° linear and right-handed circular polarizations. The prototype can be fabricated in a larger size with more radiating elements and can be efficiently scaled for higher operating frequencies at the Ka-or W-band since the LC material features even lower dielectric losses at higher frequencies.
Date of Publication: Jan. 2013