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1, JANUARY 2010

Wideband Bandpass Filter With

Reconfigurable Bandwidth
Alexander Miller, Student Member, IEEE, and Jia-Sheng Hong, Senior Member, IEEE

Abstractthis letter proposes a novel building block for devel- has been gaining more popularity due to their low RF losses and
oping tunable wideband bandpass filters. The proposed circuit dc consumption [6].
block mainly consists of short circuit coupled lines and short In comparison to tunability of center frequency, there has
circuit stubs with pin diodes as tuning elements. This work aims to
demonstrate reconfigurable bandwidth of this type of filter. Two been very little effort made in tunability of bandwidth. A
filters are designed and fabricated; one can be switched between reason for this is the lack of methods to vary the inter-resonator
a fractional bandwidth (FBW) of 16.3% and 35% at a center coupling electronically that is essential for bandwidth control.
frequency of 1.9 GHz, and the other can be switched from a FBW There have been some papers that tackle this subject in a variety
of 27.8% to 37.4% at a center frequency of 1.9 GHz. The insertion
of ways, some concentrating on the tunability of bandwidth at
loss and return loss in the first filter range from 4.17 dB to 0.4 dB
and 27.54 dB to 19.04 dB. The second filter exhibits an insertion a fixed center frequency [7], [8] and others dealing with simul-
loss ranging from 0.73 dB to 0.43 dB and a return loss range from taneous control of both bandwidth and center frequency [9],
31.1 dB to 27.7 dB. The tested filters show good agreement with [10]. On inspection of the literature it is clear that most reported
EM simulations. filter topologies and methods used only apply to narrowband
Index TermsBandpass filter, microstrip filter, tunable filter. applications. However, there is increasing demand for tunable
wideband filters. Typical applications would be receiver mod-
ules and RF converters where filter banks can be replaced by
I. INTRODUCTION such a filter in order to save board space. This letter investigates
DVANCES in many microwave systems and applications a new topology to realise such a filter with a reconfigurable
A with multifunction capabilities means that there is an in-
creasing demand to develop reconfigurable filters. Thus recon-
bandwidth. The tuning elements used are pin diodes, as they
are much less lossy than the varactor diodes, thus limiting the
figurable filters are essential for future wireless communica- degradation in passband width and filter operation.
tion systems across commercial, defense and civil sectors. In all II. FILTER BUILDING BLOCK
these systems reconfigurable filter technologies hold the key to
Shown in Fig. 1 is the proposed filter building block, which
controlling the spectrum of RF signals, eliminating interference mainly consists of short-circuited coupled lines and stubs that
and preserving the dynamic range under any signal receiving have an electrical length of 90 at the center frequency of the
condition. Reconfigurable filters can be realised in a variety of passband. The tunability of the proposed filter is based on the
ways, but no matter what method of tuning is used they must concept that, for a given pair of coupled lines with fixed even-
conserve their transmission and reflection coefficient over the and odd-mode impedance, altering the impedance of the stubs
tuning range specified. They offer many advantages over tradi- alters the coupling and in turn alters the bandwidth, hence, by
tional filter banks, the main being size and flexibility. switching the stubs in and out of the circuit alters the passband
Many tunable filters have been investigated that control the width. It can be shown that the return loss in the passband only
center frequency [1][6]. The tunability of the center frequency depends on the pair of even- and odd- mode impedances and is
independent of the characteristic impedance of the other stubs
is accomplished by varying the electrical lengths of filter res-
(see Fig. 2). This makes bandwidth tuning easy. In addition to
onators; tunability is either continuous or in discrete steps with this advantage, by simply cascading several same filter blocks
the use of varactors or pin diodes. Varactors were initially uti- of this type, a higher order filter that increases the selectivity
lized and as the most popular choices being: Semiconducting while theoretically maintaining the same return loss over the
[1], BST [2] and piezoelectric [3]. Conversely, in order to tune same bandwidth can be built. This trait is very desirable whilst
the center frequency in discrete steps pin diodes are employed designing wideband filters with a reconfigurable bandwidth (see
[5]; however with the introduction of microelectromechanical Fig. 3).
systems switches, tuning the center frequency in discrete steps
To validate the circuit concept described in the above section,
Manuscript received August 03, 2009; revised October 09, 2009. First pub-
lished December 09, 2009; current version published January 08, 2010. This
two reconfigurable filter building blocks were designed, simu-
work was supported by in part by a UK EPSRC Industrial CASE Award. lated and tested.
Alexander Miller and Jia-Sheng Hong are with Department of Electrical,
Electronic and Computer Engineering, School of Engineering and Phys- A. EM Simulation
ical Sciences, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, EH14 4AS, U.K. Email:,
Fig. 4 shows an implemented reconfigurable microstrip filter
Color versions of one or more of the figures in this paper are available online on a substrate with and mm. The pin
at diodes were modeled by using a capacitor of value 0.025 pF for
Digital Object Identifier 10.1109/LMWC.2009.2035958 isolation and a resistor of value of 4 for connection (both these
1531-1309/$26.00 2009 IEEE

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Fig. 1. Proposed Filter Building Block for Reconfigurable Bandwidth.

Fig. 4. Implemented filter with switchable stubs (narrowband stubs).

Fig. 2. Theoretical response showing change of bandwidth with change of

impedance of stub (Z = 10
;  =  = 90 , 0
Z = 110:4
; Z = 18:8

Fig. 5. Performance of Filter with Narrowband stubs.

Fig. 3. Theoretical filter response with two blocks cascaded (Z =

0 70
; Z = 4:5
0 85
; Z = 110:4
; Z = 18:8

values are extracted from the data sheet for the PIN diode used).
For practical implementation, depending on a set of even- and Fig. 6. Performance of Filter with Wideband stubs.
odd- mode impedances implemented, impedance transformers
may or may not be needed at the terminals for a matching pur- even and odd mode phase velocities also cause the spurious re-
pose. The initial dimensions of the circuits were obtained using sponse at 4 GHz; the next spurious response should be at 6 GHz,
Microwave Office [11] and finalized using EM software, Sonnet i.e., 3 . This is due to the fact that microstrip are not pure TEM
[12]. The dimensions of the stubs are mm transmission lines. There is also a very slight degradation in the
and mm (narrowband stubs) while the cou- bandwidth performance due to the bias lines being connected
pled lines have a gap mm, mm and in the middle of the coupled lines. The bias lines slightly de-
mm. In this case, the impedance transformer crease the coupling and, hence, decrease the bandwidth of the
has a width and length of 0.6 mm and 24.8 mm, respectively. response.
In Fig. 4, just replacing the narrowband stubs with two wide- In the on state of the narrowband stub configuration there
band stubs mm and mm), is more losses associated with the response; this is due to the
we obtain the second reconfigurable filter block. The simulated isolation scheme used in order to suppress any unwanted spikes
performances of these two filters are summarized in Table I, in the passband due to fringing. By placing the diode half way
with the simulated and measured performance being illustrated up the stub means there is a bigger current at this point, hence,
in Figs. 5 and 6. more losses are involved. By simply using one diode for isola-
There are some shifts in the center frequencies, which are ac- tion a spike was seen near the passband which would be detri-
counted for by unequal even and odd mode electrical lengths and mental to filter operation. Many cases were tried the first being
some effect from the bias circuit. Furthermore, these unequal that a diode at the bottom of the stub and one at the top. This

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of short-circuited coupled lines and the coupling between the

two lines is controlled by switching short circuit stubs in and out
the circuit. The demonstrated filters show good agreement be-
tween measured and simulated results with reconfigurable band-
widths ranging from 16% to 37%. This topology also offers a
good precursor to a filter with the potential to simultaneously
control the bandwidth and center frequency, which is subject to

Fig. 7. Fabricated reconfigurable filter blocks; (a) with narrowband Stubs, V. ACKOWLEGEMENTS
(b) with wideband stubs.
The authors would like to thank A. Burdis and C. Bird at
SELEX Sensors & Airborne Systems Ltd. for their support and
means that any spike occurring would occur at 2 fo. However, encouragement.
this introduced far too much losses due to the current being at a
maximum value at the via hole. It was found that by moving the
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