Analysis, Design, and Operation of a Spherical Inverted-F Antenna



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This thesis presents the analysis, design, and fabrication of a spherical inverted-F antenna (SIFA). The SIFA consists of a spherically conformal rectangular patch antenna recessed into a quarter section of a metallic sphere. The sphere acts as a ground plane, and a metal strip shorts the patch to the metallic sphere. The SIFA incorporates planar microstrip design into a conformal spherical geometry to better meet the design constraints for integrated wireless sensors. The SIFA extends a well-established technology into a new application space, including microsatellites, mobile sensor networks, and wireless biomedical implants. The complete SIFA design depends on several parameters, several of which parallel planar design variables. A modified transmission line model determines the antenna input impedance based on the sphere's inner and outer radii, the patch length and width, short length and width, and feed position. The SIFA can be tuned to the desired frequency band by choosing the proper outer radius, after which the antenna can be matched by tuning the short characteristics, patch dimensions, and feed position. The fabricated design was chosen to operate at the MICS band (402-405 MHz), a popular band for biomedically implanted devices. An initial design was constructed with Styrofoam (epsilon r approximately equal to 1) and copper tape. Simulation in HFSS corroborates that SIFA operation incorporates the MICS band, with resonant frequency of 404 MHz and 32 MHz (7.9%) bandwidth. The fabricated prototype performs similarly, with a resonant frequency of 407 MHz and 19 (4.7%) MHz bandwidth. Following fabrication, several modifications were implemented to miniaturize the SIFA and introduce additional functionality. Slot loading and dielectric coating were implemented to achieve SIFA miniaturization. Multiple elements were also introduced to achieve dual band operation and beam steering. A miniaturized SIFA was investigated in several biological media, and a lossy coating implemented to maintain impedance match in several different media, with the goal of retaining a matched impedance bandwidth in the MICS band.