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Characterization of Dielectric
Materials using Coupled Ring

2.1 Introduction
Material characterization is an important field in microwave engineering and is
used in the system design from high speed circuits to satellite and telemetry
applications. [1]
Every material has a unique set of electrical characteristics that are dependent
on its dielectric properties. A measurement of these properties provides valuable
information to scientists, to properly incorporate the material into its intended
application, such as for more materials designs or to monitor a manufacturing
process for improved quality control. Several measurement techniques for
dielectric characterization have been reported in literature [1-4] and can be
classified as transmission-reflection and resonance techniques. The resonance
techniques do not have the sweep frequency capability, unlike resonance
techniques; the transmission techniques usually have the sweep frequency
ability for the measured frequency range. The transmission and/or reflection
signals are always tested to calculate the dielectric properties of the material.
However, resonance techniques are more accurate than transmission techniques,
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especially in calculating small loss tangent or loss factors, therefore resonance

techniques are widely used.

2.2 Literature Review

Several techniques were developed to characterize the dielectric properties of
materials. These days researchers are working on the characterization of
dielectric materials using different resonance and transmission/reflection
techniques like coaxial line technique, CPW waveguide, Cavity perturbation,
parallel plate capacitor, microstrip line and ring resonator techniques.
M.S. Kheir, H.F Hammad, and A.S Omar designed a ring resonator with a
rectangular waveguide cavity for estimating the dielectric constant of liquids. By
measuring the resonance frequency of the hybrid resonator they calculated the
dielectric constant [1]. Somporn Seewathanapon and his group developed a
folded ring resonator sensor for dielectric constant measurement. The material
was placed in a very compact area, and the response was measured in the
frequency range of 500MHz to 3 GHz [6].
H. Fang et. al. calculated the dielectric constant using ring resonator and they
combined it with the Ansoft HFSS electromagnetic simulation software, to
measure the dielectric constant on the multiple frequency points [10]. A new
technique to characterize the homogeneous dielectric materials using rectangular
shaped perturb cavity was proposed by A.Kumar, S.Sharma and G.Singh. In this
method the samples were placed in the cylindrical form at the center of the

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cavity. The real and imaginary parts of materials permittivity were calculated
using the shift in the resonance frequency [11].
Luiene S. Denenicis et al. also proposed a coplanar waveguide linear resonator
technique for the characterization of dielectric properties of thin films at room
temperature. They deposited thin films of unknown dielectric constant on the
resonator using photolithography and measured the response of s parameters
[12]. For the characterization of dielectric constant, in which a microstrip line
coupled with the fork shaped feed element, to improve the coupling efficiency
were proposed by A.H. Muqaibel and his group members [13].
C.Y. Tan developed a dual resonator, for permittivity characterization. The
microstrip dual resonator consists of two half wavelength resonators, and the
gap between these two resonators was covered with the ferroelectric thin films.
The dielectric constant was calculated by measuring the resonance frequency
and the quality factor. In this method there was some inaccuracy in the
measurements due the air gap between the resonator and the ferroelectric film
Sompain Seewathanopon also developed a microstrip ring resonator for
dielectric constant measurement [15]. Victor F.M.B Melo has also proposed a
new configuration for the ring resonator to determine dielectric permittivity of
printed circuit board with high accuracy operating at higher frequency [16]. Jyh
Seen too, presented a review on transmission/reflection and resonance technique
for the characterization of dielectric constant.

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In the resonance technique materials are characterized using dielectric and

cavity perturbation techniques. Also in the transmission/reflection technique
different types of resonators are used to characterize the materials. Resonance
techniques cannot be used to determine dielectric constant over a frequency
range whereas in the reflection techniques it is possible [17].
Serhan Yamaeli, Coner Ozdemir, Ali akdagii had presented a method to
determine the dielectric constant of microwave PCB substrate. In this a bandpass
microstrip filter, designed on PCB substrate, was used [18]. P. A. Bernard et al.
have calculated the permittivity of dielectric materials using a microstrip ring
resonator. In this method material was placed in the form of a slab on the
resonator and by the variation of line capacitance of multilayer microstrip
transmission line, the permittivity of material substrate was computed [19]. A
model for calculating the dielectric constant was also developed by Sofin and
Aiyer [20]. In this a resonator was designed at 10 GHz; it is a very useful
technique for the grain moisture sensing. Andrew R. Fulford designed a
pair of microstrip Tee resonator, with different impedance resonating element,
which were used to extract conductor-sheet resistance and dielectric properties
[21]. To measure the moisture and dielectric constant of soil, microstrip ring
resonator had also been developed by Komal Sarabandi and Eric S.Li. Here they
placed the resonator between the soil content and then determine the value of
real and imaginary part of the permittivity by measuring the s parameter and the
quality factor [22].

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Sushanta Sen, presented a cavity perturbation technique for microwave

characterization of dielectric constant with the modified cylindrical cavity,
which was suitable for low dielectric materials only [23]. Elenea Semouhkina
and researchers applied a FDTD method to simulate the s parameters of ring
resonator and calculate the dielectric constant of alumina and rutile substrate

This chapter deals with the dielectric constant measurements and theoretical
analysis of spirulina and ferrite, which are in, liquid and powder phase
respectively, using CRR and SRR resonators.

2.3 Design of Ring Resonator

Closed ring resonators (CRRs) and split ring resonators (SRRs) are designed on
a PCB substrate having dielectric constant (r) 5.5. Ring resonators are coupled
through a gap to the microstrip line, satisfying the resonance condition:
Where, R is the mean radius of the ring and n is the harmonic order of
resonance. The dimension of ring resonator is calculated using well known
expression given in Literature [3].
In order to calculate the radius of the ring, guided wavelength is computed using
the following relation

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is guided wavelength, c is the speed of light, f is desired frequency

is the effective dielectric constant which is given by


is relative dielectric constant, w is width of the ring and d is the

substrate thickness.
For a given characteristic impedance

and dielectric constant

, w/d ratio

can be found by using

Feedline length and coupling gap are computed using the following relations:
Feed line length =


And, Coupling gap



Calculated mean radius of ring is 15.85 mm, feedline length is 24.9 mm, width
of the feedline is 1.77 mm, and coupling gap is 0.4108 mm as shown in Table
2.1. Inner and outer radius of the ring is calculated by subtraction and addition
of the half of width of microstrip to the mean radius respectively.
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Inner radius
Outer radius

Table 2.1 Dimension of the CRR and SRR

Feed line length

24.9 mm

Width of the feed line

1.77 mm

Coupling Gap

0.4108 mm

Total length of the substrate

84.16 mm

Total width of the substrate

41.08 mm

Radius of first ring

Inner radius

14.97 mm

Outer radius

16.74 mm

Radius of second ring

Inner radius


Outer radius

8.811 mm

Radius of third ring

Chapter 2

Inner radius

3.075 mm

Outer radius

4.845 mm

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Coupling between the feed line and the ring is taken into consideration because
its capacitive effect can change the resonance frequency significantly [8]. The
coupling gap between the feed lines represents network capacitance C and a
shunt circuit consisting of inductance (Lr) and capacitance (Cr) represents the
ring. In the split ring resonators, one more network capacitance C is added in the
shunt circuit of the ring. Fig: 2.1(a) & 2.1(b) shows the closed coupled and split
ring resonators.



Figure 2.1(a) and (b): Split and closed coupled ring resonators of the wavelength , /2 and /4
with the coupling gap 0.41 mm

2.4 Experimental and Theoretical Analysis

Two materials, Spirulina Platensis-Gietler in semisolid phase and Ferrite in
powder phase are subjected to microwave characterization for calculation of
dielectric constants and loss tangent in the L-band. The study of response of the
CRR and SRR without the Spirulina Platensis-Gietler and Ferrite are followed
by the frequency response of the CRR and SRR with Spirulina Platensis-Gietler
and Ferrite have been studied. 1mm thin layer of sample is loaded onto the
resonators and characterization of the sample is done using shift in resonance.

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In the first step, complex permittivity and loss tangent of the substrate are
calculated. Loaded quality factor QL is computed using the following relation:
Where f0 is the resonance frequency, f is the 3dB bandwidth. Unloaded quality
factor is estimated using:

Where QU is the unloaded quality factor which depends on total insertion loss
(IL) of the system. Total loss of the resonator is inverse of loaded quality factor,
which is the sum of losses due to the dielectric component, conducting
component and the losses of the resonator without any external load. QD which
is the direct measure of the loss tangent of the materials loaded to the resonator
is calculated using following expression:

In the present study conductor, loss is neglected due to very high conductivity of
the copper deposited on the substrate.
The loss tangent tan(substrate) is calculated using the following relation
where e is the energy filling factor which is the ratio of average energy stored
in the specimen to the average energy stored in resonant structure. The

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following relation relates loss tangent in equation (2.15) to the real and
imaginary part of permittivity:


Is the dielectric constant of the substrate of CRR and SRR.

The inaccuracy of the dielectric constant of the substrate does not affect the
measurement because the effect of the substrates dielectric constant gets
cancelled as shown by the equation (2.17):

Using eq. (2.5), eq. (2.7) can be re-written as:


where is energy filling factor of sample and


are energy filling factors

of substrate with sample and only substrate respectively. Values of the filling
factor are chosen empirically on the basis of transmission loss and values of
quality factor on loading the resonator with sample.

2.5 Results and Discussions

Figure: 2.2 show the simulated results for Spirulina Platensis-Gietler (in
semisolid Phase) and Ferrite (in powder phase) using CST microwave studio
software for coupled 1, 2 and 3 CRR at 1.5GHz. Resonance frequency response

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of 1CRR of length , 2CRR of length and /2 and 3CRR of length , /2 and

/4 with and without Spirulina Platensis-Gietler (in semisolid phase) and Ferrite
(in powder phase), is shown in figure 2.3, are measured by the vector network
analyzer (ZVA 50 Rohde & Schwartz). Figure 2.4 show simulated results in
which the shift in frequency response of 1SRR of length , 2SRR of length
and /2 and 3SRR of length , /2 and /4 with and without Spirulina PlatensisGietler in semisolid phase respectively. Figure 2.5 shows experimental results of
the shift in frequency of 1SRR of length , 2SRR of length and /2 and 3SRR
of length , /2

and /4 with and without Spirulina Platensis-Gietler (in

semisolid phase) and ferrite (in powder phase) respectively.

Figure 2.2: Simulated results with CRRs, ____CRR without any load, _ _ _ _ CRR loaded with
Ferrite, CRR loaded with Spirulina.

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Figure 2.3: Experimental results with CRRs, ______CRR without any load _ _ _ _ CRR loaded
with Ferrite and - - - - - CRR loaded with Spirulina.

Figure 2.4: Simulated results with SRRs, _____SRR without any load, _ _ _SRR loaded
with Ferrite and SRR loaded with Spirulina.

Figure 2.5: Experimental results with SRRs, ____ SRR without any load, _ _ _ _ SRR loaded
with Ferrite and - - - - - SRR loaded with Spirulina.

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Extracted values of effective dielectric constant for Spirulina Platensis-Gietler

and Ferrite, from simulation and experiment are given in table 2.2. The
predicted results for CRR are within 5% accuracy and the SRR accuracy
factor is around 10%. The results clearly show that, the closed ring resonators
have better accuracy as compared to the split ring resonators.

Table 2.2 Experimental and simulation results of dielectric constant of

spirulina platensis-Gietler and Ferrite calculated using different types of

Dielectric Constant of
spirulina platensisGietler
Type of ring

Dielectric constant of
( ' )

( )







CRR of length





CRR of length





CRR of length ,




SRR of length





SRR of length





SRR of length ,





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Higher sensitivity of CRR can also be explained by lumped element circuits of

the ring. In the circuit, C1 and L1 represent the capacitance and inductance
between the two rings. The quality factor of the parallel RLC circuit is
calculated using the following equation:

where C is the total capacitance and, L is the total inductance and Q is quality
factor of the parallel RLC circuit.
In the ring resonators, L1 and C1 are the mutual inductance and capacitance
between the rings respectively and Lr, Lr1, Lr2 are the inductance of the rings of
length ,


, by using these capacitance and inductance, CT, LT RT,

and Q the total capacitance, total inductance, total resistance of the ring and
quality factor of the ring can be calculated as shown in figure 2.6.

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Figure: 2.6 a (i), (ii) and (iii) Structures and the equivalent lumped circuits of the 1CRR, 2CRR,
3CRR respectively.

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Figure: 2.6 b (i), (ii) and (iii) Structur and the equivalent lumped circuits of the 1SRR, 2SRR,
3SRR respectively.

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The preceding equations and the equivalent circuit diagrams elucidate the reason
for higher sensitivity of CRR as compared to SRR. The effective capacitive
reactance of the rings increases due to additional gap capacitance resulting in
higher losses and poor sensitivity.
This could be the reason for lowest sensitivity in 3-SRR. Further, from the
theoretical model it is clear that due to the presence of split, inductance
decreases in SRR as compared to CRR, therefore the Q of the circuit also
decreases as shown in table 2.3. Thus the capacitance gap plays an important
role in deciding the sensitivity.
Reported dielectric constant of Lithium Zinc Titanium (LiZnTi) Ferrite and
Spirulina Platensis-Gietler is 15 and 1.9 respectively [6], [7]. Experimentally
measured dielectric constant of Ferrite and Spirulina Platensis-Gietler is 14.17
13.68 and 1.76-1.92 with accuracy of 5% using closed ring resonator.
Dielectric constant values using SRR are in the range of 15.1-13.6 for ferrite and
1.74-2.04 for Spirulina Platensis-Gietler respectively, with 10% accuracy as
shown in table 2.2 and 2.3.
Value of 1 for Spirulina Platensis-Gietler was 0.014, for Ferrite was 0.1 and
value of 2 for substrate were 0.04, lower value of filling factor in case of
Spirulina Platensis-Gietler is also confirmed with decrease in Q values and in
case of ferrite filling factor is greater than the value of filling factor of substrate
due to which quality factor increases. Quality factor value, which is a direct
measure of energy stored in dielectric materials, is tabulated in table 2.4.

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Table 2.4 Quality factor of unloaded and loaded CRRs and SRRs

Type of ring


Quality Factor



CRR of length
CRR of length




CRR of length ,




SRR of length




SRR of length




SRR of length ,




Comparison of Q values as observed the in present work with the perturbation

technique as reported by other groups [9] [10], is given in table 2.5.

Table 2.5 comparison of the achieved accuracy in the present method with
the cavity perturbation methods


Chapter 2


Closed Ring Resonator


Split Ring resonator


Cavity Perturbation [9]


Cavity Perturbation [10]


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2.6 Conclusion
The technique elaborated in this chapter presents, the comparative study of
dielectric characterization of closed and split ring resonator. Two different kinds
of samples via ferromagnetic sample in powder form and bio sample in semi
liquid form were taken. The analysis shows that measured values of dielectric
parameters using CRR were more accurate than SRR. Experimental results were
validated by simulations of the experimental design on the CST Microwave
Studio. The method proposed herein can be used for the dielectric
characterization of liquids and solids in powder phase.

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