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Novel Tag Antenna Design for UHF RFID

Applications
A. Hamani, R. Touhami

M.C.E. Yagoub

Instrumentation Laboratory
Faculty of Electronics and Informatics, U.S.T.H.B
Algiers, 16111, Algeria

School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science


University of Ottawa
Ottawa, ON, K1N 6N5, Canada

AbstractIn this paper, a novel miniaturized UHF RadioFrequency Identification (RFID) tag dipole antenna is proposed.
Its original structure consists on a series of parallel arms
connected to a perpendicular line at their ends. This
configuration allows decreasing the physical length of the dipole
antenna. A short stub is used at the input to provide a flexible
impedance tuning. Two antennas were designed with different
sizes. The first antenna, designed for both North American and
European bands, has a size of 76.5 mm times 16 mm. The second
designed antenna operates in the North American band and has a
size of 48.5 mm times 25.5 mm. The two antennas exhibit
respective efficiencies of 85 per cent and 74 per cent, making
them suitable for RFID applications.
Keywords Antenna; radiation efficiency; RFID; UHF.

I.

second operates in the North American band and is


characterized by a smaller size and an efficiency of 74 %.
II.

ANTENNA STRUCTURE

The proposed RFID tag antenna is shown in Figure 1. It


consists of a series of parallel arms connected to a
perpendicular line at their ends. This configuration allows
decreasing the physical length of the dipole antenna. A
meander T-matching network is used. It can be adjusted to
tune the input impedance. The proposed antenna is designed
on FR4 substrate with a thickness of 0.8 mm and a relative
dielectric constant of 4.4. The copper thickness is 17 m. The
geometrical parameters of the design are shown in Figure 1.

INTRODUCTION

In recent years, radiofrequency identification (RFID)


systems have attracted much attention, particularly in the
ultra-high frequency (UHF) band [1]. A RFID system consists
of a transponder (tag) and a reader, which communicate
through electromagnetic waves. The tag antenna should be
small in size and simple in structure to be inexpensive and
easy attachable to objects. However, its miniaturization affects
its gain and radiation efficiency. Consequently, the maximum
communication range between the reader and the tag is
influenced. Therefore, it is necessary to achieve a compromise
between size reduction and performance of the tag antenna
[2]. Also, good impedance matching must be achieved to
assure a maximum power transfer between the antenna and the
tag chip. Generally, a modified dipole structure technique is
used to reduce the size of the RFID tag antenna. A meanderline, folded and fractal dipole structure can be used to reduce
the size of the tag antenna without significantly degrading its
performance [3]-[5]. However, these tag antennas are not
broad in bandwidth and cover only one region UHF RFID
band. Also, they are not small enough in size.
In this paper, a novel UHF RFID dipole antenna is
proposed. It uses a modified T-matching network to easy tune
its input impedance. To demonstrate our approach, two
antennas with two different sizes were designed. The first
exhibits a wide operating band of 860-938 MHz (at S11 -10
dB), which allows covering both North American and
European UHF RFID bands with an efficiency of 85 %. The

Fig. 1: Geometry of the proposed dipole antenna.

III.

PARAMETRIC STUDY

A parametric study was performed to investigate the


performance of the proposed design. Figure 2-a shows the
variation of the antenna length L as function of the width W
and the number of parallel arms N. L was adjusted to tune the
antenna design at 915 MHz. Also, the short-stub was
optimized to conjugately match the antenna impedance to the
UHF Gen2 G2XM chip impedance, Zchip = (25 - j145) at
915 MHz [6]. We see that the length of the proposed antenna
can be reduced by increasing its width.
When W = 17 mm and N = 9, the length necessary to tune
the antenna at 915 MHz is L = 74 mm. But, when W is
increased to 28 mm while keeping N constant, the needed
length is only L = 40 mm. Note that the length can be also
reduced by increasing the number of parallel arms, but the
variation is not significant: In fact, by keeping W = 17 mm, L

978-1-4673-5820-0/13/$31.00 2013 IEEE

was reduced from 74 mm to only 68 mm for an increase of N


from 9 to 15.

On the other hand, the horizontal line current is the main


source of radiation from the proposed antenna.

On the other side, size reduction can degrade the antenna


radiation efficiency (Figure 2-b).

(a)
(a)

(b)
(b)

Fig. 3: Real (a) and imaginary (b) parts of the proposed antenna as function of
the geometrical parameters L5 and d.

Fig. 2: Proposed antenna: (a) Length, (b) radiation efficiency, as function of


the width W and the number of arms N.

So a tradeoff should be achieved to optimize the antenna


performance along with its physical size.
The input impedance of the proposed antenna can be also
easily tuned by adjusting the short-stub parameters. Figure 3
shows the antenna impedance as function of two short-stub
parameters, i.e., L5 and d. In this study, the antenna is tuned at
915 MHz with a size of 4726 mm2. It can be seen that the
real and the imaginary parts of the antenna impedance is
increasing as L5 increases. Also, the real part is decreasing as d
increases, but the imaginary part is less sensitive to d. When
L5 = 5mm and d = 1mm, the antenna impedance is Zant = (74 +
j 210) but it changes to (16 + j 220) as d increases to 3
mm.
IV.

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

The proposed antenna was designed with two different


sizes, respectively 76.516 mm2 and 48.525.5 mm2. Figure 4
shows the current distribution on the first designed antenna at
915 MHz. In this Figure, the current in the vertical arms is
smaller than the rest of the radiating area. Also, in the majority
of these arms, there are two opposite directions of current.
This makes the radiation generated by the vertical arms low.

Fig. 4: Current distribution at 915 MHz.

The simulated input impedance Zant of the first designed


antenna is plotted in Figure 5. It exhibits a value of (24 + j138)
at 915 MHz, near to the complex conjugate value of the
measured UHF Gen2 RFID G2XM chip input impedance.
Figure 6 shows the simulated return loss of this antenna with
HFSS and CST, where a good agreement between them have
been achieved. With a -10 dB return loss, the operating band is
about 860 to 938 MHz.
Figure 7 shows the simulated radiation patterns along yz,
xz and xy planes at 915 MHz for the first antenna, with an
omnidirectional radiation in yz plane. A bidirectional radiation
is achieved in xz and xy planes. Figure 8 shows that the
antenna radiates bidirectionally from both sides of substrate.
The simulated directivity, gain and efficiency for the first
design at 915 MHz are 2 dB, 1.37 dB and 85 %, respectively.

Fig. 5: First antenna: real and imaginary parts of the impedance.

Fig. 8: 3-D gain pattern at 915 MHz for the first antenna.

The simulated results of the second proposed antenna are


shown in Figure 9 and Figure 10. As for the first design, this
antenna was matched to the chip input impedance of Zchip. The
operating band of the second designed antenna is 901-929
MHz (at S11 -10 dB).
The radiation pattern of this antenna is similar to the first
design. The main difference between them is the value of the
gain and the radiation efficiency. The simulated gain and total
efficiency of the second antenna are 0.62 dB and 74 %,
respectively. We can observe that the gain and the radiation
efficiency in the second design are smaller than the first
antenna.
As reported in Table I, a successful comparison was
achieved vs. existing works, demonstrating the proposed
designs.

Fig. 6: First antenna: return loss.


0
-30

-2.00

30

-30

-9.00

-60

60

-16.00

-2.00

30

-9.00

-60

60

-16.00

-23.00

-23.00

-90

90 -90

-120

-120

120
-150

90

150

120
-150

150

-180

-180

yz-plane

xz-plane
0
-30

0.00

30

-10.00

-60

60

-20.00
-30.00

-90

90

-120

120
-150

150
-180

xy-plane
Fig. 7 : The gain patterns at 915 MHz for the first proposed antenna.

Fig. 9: Second antenna: real and imaginary parts of the input impedance.

geometrical parameters of the proposed antenna. The size of


the presented antenna can be tuned and reduced by adjusting
its geometrical parameters. Two antennas with two different
sizes were designed to operate in the UHF RFID band.
With a size of 76.516 mm2, the first antenna is
characterized by a wide operating band of 860 MHz to 938
MHz (at S11 -10 dB), which allows covering both the North
American and the European UHF RFID bands.
The second designed antenna operates in the North
American band and has a size of 48.525.5 mm2.
The two antennas exhibit respective efficiencies of 85 %
and 74 %, making them suitable for RFID applications.
Fig. 10: Second antenna: return loss.
TABLE I.

Ref.
[3]
(Simulated)
[4]
(Simulated)
[5]
(Simulated)
This work
(Simulated)

REFERENCES

SIZE AND PERFORMANCE COMPARISON WITH PUBLISHED


WORKS.

[1]

Size comparison (LxW)


(at resonance frequency)
86x20 mm2
(915 MHz)
64.1x17.8 mm2
(912 MHz)
93.14x12 mm2
(900 MHz)
76.5x16 mm2
(915 MHz)
48.5x25.5 mm2
(915 MHz)

[2]

V.

Bandwidth
comparison
45 MHz
(S11 - 10 dB)
10 MHz
(S11 - 10 dB)
50 MHz
(S11 - 10 dB)
78 MHz
(S11 - 10 dB)
28 MHz
(S11 - 10 dB)

CONCLUSION

A novel tag dipole antenna for UHF RFID applications


was presented. The size, the radiation performance and the
input impedance were investigated as function of the

[3]

[4]

[5]

[6]

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Sydanheimo, and M. Kivikoski, Design and RFID signal analysis of a
meander line UHF RFID tag antenna, IEEE Antenna and Propag. Soc.
Int. Symp., July 2008, pp. 1-4.
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by a short-stub for UHF RFID application, IEEE Antenna and Propag.
Soc. Int. Symp., July 2008, pp. 1-4.
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