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4 IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON ANTENNAS AND PROPAGATION, VOL. 58, NO.

1, JANUARY 2010

A Dual-Linearly-Polarized MEMS-Reconfigurable
Antenna for Narrowband MIMO Communication
Systems
Alfred Grau, Jordi Romeu, Ming-Jer Lee, Sebastian Blanch, Lluís Jofre, Member, IEEE, and Franco De Flaviis

Abstract—The design and characterization is described of a quency. With the introduction of reconfigurable antennas, it
compact dual-linearly-polarized reconfigurable 2-port antenna. is possible to dynamically change these properties. Reconfig-
The antenna can operate in two different selectable linear po- urable antennas work based on the principle that by altering
larization bases, thus being capable of reconfiguring/rotating its
polarization base from vertical/horizontal (0 90 ), to slant the antenna’s physical configuration, the current density on the
45 . The antenna has been implemented on a Quartz substrate, antenna may be controlled in a desirable manner and therefore
and uses monolithically integrated micro-electromechanical its radiation pattern/polarization/frequency can be changed.
(MEM) switches to select between the two aforementioned po- To change the antenna’s physical configuration, one can use
larization bases. The antenna operates at 3.8 GHz and presents microelectromechanical (MEM) switches or active devices
a fractional bandwidth of 1.7%. The interest of the proposed
antenna is two-fold. First, in LOS scenarios, the antenna enables such as diodes or field-effect transistors (FETs). By placing
polarization tracking in polarization-sensitive communication these components in strategic locations over the geometry of
schemes. Second, there are the gains of using it in a multiple-input the antenna, the current paths can be engineered in such a
multiple-output (MIMO) communication system employing way that the resultant radiation patterns of the antenna, or the
orthogonal space-time block codes (OSTBC) to improve the diver- operating frequencies, follow some desired requirements.
sity order/gain of the system in NLOS conditions. These benefits
were verified through channel measurements conducted in LOS There is a fundamental Wheeler-Chu-McLean limitation on
and NLOS propagation scenarios. Despite the simplicity of the the gain as well as hardware limitations when realizing electri-
antenna, the achievable polarization matching gains (in LOS sce- cally small antennas being simultaneously efficient and broad-
narios) and diversity gains (in NLOS scenarios) are remarkable. band. Therefore covering several frequency bands concurrently
These gains come at no expenses of introducing additional receive with a single antenna having enough efficiency and bandwidth
ports to the system (increasing the number of Radio-Frequency
(RF) transceivers), rather as a result of the reconfigurable capa- is a major challenge. As a result, in the literature one can find
bilities of the proposed antenna. reconfigurable antenna designs which do not cover all bands si-
multaneously, but provide narrower instantaneous bandwidths
Index Terms—Antenna diversity, dual-linearly polarized an-
tenna, micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS), multiple-input that are dynamically selectable, such as in [1]–[3]. However,
multiple-output (MIMO) , polarization diversity, reconfigurable having to excite several radiation patterns and polarization states
antenna. concurrently with a single antenna may also be impractical.
Therefore, several designs of pattern [2], [4]–[7] and polariza-
tion reconfigurable antennas exist in the literature.
I. INTRODUCTION
In particular for polarization reconfigurable antennas, [8], [9]
present the design of single-port polarization reconfigurable an-

N EW technologies in communications such as soft-


ware-defined radio (SDR) and radio-frequency (RF)
switches implemented using micro-electromechanical systems
tennas, using PIN diodes, with the capability to reconfigure its
polarization from being left-handed to right-handed circular po-
larization. Other designs with similar characteristics, using PIN
(MEMS), present new challenges and opportunities for antenna diodes, were proposed in [10], [11]. Also [10], [12] introduce
design. Antennas have traditionally been assumed to have a two reconfigurable microstrip patch antennas, using PIN diodes,
fixed radiation pattern and polarization at the operating fre- which are able to select between a circular and linear polariza-
tion. In [13] a polarization MEMS reconfigurable antenna oper-
ating at 26.6 GHz, based on a square shaped microstrip patch,
Manuscript received November 05, 2007; revised July 22, 2009. First pub- and able to select between a circular and linear polarization from
lished November 06, 2009; current version published January 04, 2010. This
the same antenna is presented. Other polarization reconfigurable
work was supported by the National Science Foundation award ECS-0424454
and Project TEC-2007-66698. antennas using MEMS and working in the 2–6 GHz range have
A. Grau, M.-J. Lee, and F. De Flaviis are with the University of California at been proposed in [14]–[16]. These single-fed antennas are in
Irvine, Irvine, CA 92697 USA (e-mail: agrau@alumni.uci.edu; mingjerl@uci.
general used to change the antenna polarization to operate in
edu; franco@uci.edu).
J. Romeu, S. Blanch, and L. Jofre are with the Universitat Politècnica de multiple communication standards.
Catalunya, 08034 Barcelona, Spain (e-mail: romeu@tsc.upc.edu; blanch@tsc. We go one step further in the design of polarization recon-
upc.edu; jofre@tsc.upc.edu). figurable antennas, and we present a compact dual-linearly-po-
Color versions of one or more of the figures in this paper are available online
at http://ieeexplore.ieee.org. larized reconfigurable 2-port antenna. Notice that some prelim-
Digital Object Identifier 10.1109/TAP.2009.2036197 inary simulations of the proposed antenna were first introduced
0018-926X/$26.00 © 2009 IEEE

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GRAU et al.: A DUAL-LINEARLY-POLARIZED MEMS-RECONFIGURABLE ANTENNA FOR NARROWBAND MIMO 5

by the authors in [17]. In this paper, we include a complete de-


scription of the proposed antenna, we present the design guide-
lines and its characterization through simulated and measured
data. To the knowledge of the authors, the proposed antenna is
the first one of its kind being reported in the literature. Simula-
tion and measurement results show that the antenna is capable to
reconfigure/rotate its polarization base from being vertical/hor-
izontal , to slant . MEM switches have been used
to reconfigure the radiation characteristics of the proposed an-
tenna. The reasons are several. Traditionally diodes and field-ef-
fect transistors (FETs) have relatively larger insertion losses, es-
pecially at higher frequencies, in the order of 0.5 dB or larger.
On the other hand, MEM switches offer a superior technology,
in which the insertion losses are of the order of 0.1 dB [7], [18],
[19]. Both technologies are similar in terms of losses at low fre- Fig. 1. Schematic of the ORIOL antenna. Notice the two input ports and
quencies. However, other advantages of MEMS technology over the structure of the biasing system using radial stubs. Zoom-in of the feeding
systems showing the structure of the MEM switches, referred in the text by
diodes include larger isolation, an almost a negligible DC power SW .
consumption, and most importantly they can be monolithically
integrated within the antenna because they can be fabricated on
cheap substrates such as PCB or Quartz. Thus MEMS switches origin in the z-axis, and is the azimuth angle with origin on
are seen as a powerful technology to be employed in the design the x-axis. Notice that .
of reconfigurable antennas.
In addition, many studies on reconfigurable antennas omit II. ORIOL ANTENNA
to evaluate the gains introduced by these antennas at system
level and in real propagation scenarios. In this paper, we do A. Description
put emphasis on these aspects. In particular, it was found The proposed antenna is a compact dual-linearly-polarized
that the interest of the proposed antenna is two-fold. First, in reconfigurable 2-port antenna. Henceforth, we refer to it as the
line-of-sight (LOS) scenarios, the antenna has polarization octagonal reconfigurable isolated orthogonal (ORIOL) element
tracking capabilities, which are of particular interest when used antenna. The ORIOL antenna consists of a single octagonal mi-
with communications schemes where the polarization orien- crostrip patch, as shown in Fig. 1, in which its two ports al-
tation/matching between the transmit and receiver antennas ways excite two orthogonal polarizations (dual-polarization) of
is critical (such as in phase array architectures). Secondly, in the radiated electric field. This is achieved by exciting the patch
non-line-of-sight (NLOS) propagation scenarios, the antenna from two points located in perpendicular sides of the octagonal
can be used to improve the diversity order (and array gain) patch. We refer to these two polarizations as a polarization base.
of MIMO communications system employing orthogonal Moreover, the antenna has the capability to reconfigure/rotate
space-time block codes (OSTBC). This is done by using het- its polarization base in two different radiation states, that is,
erogeneous polarization configurations among the transmit and from being vertical/horizontal ( or ), to slant
receive antennas [20], [21], and also taking advantage of the (or ), or viceversa, where no-
fact that reflection, diffraction, and scattering affect differently tice that we use the reference coordinate system given in Fig. 1.
each polarization, thus producing signals at the receiver with Each of the ways in which a particular reconfigurable antenna
uncorrelated fading statistics. These benefits are quantified ana- can radiate is defined as a radiation state. We use index to nu-
lytically. Finally, channel measurements conducted in LOS and merate them. If represents the total number of radiation states
NLOS propagation scenarios are used to verify the theoretical in which a reconfigurable antenna can operate, the ORIOL an-
findings. tenna is such that . We use index
The paper is organized as follows: in Section II the proposed to numerate the ports of the ORIOL antenna.
antenna is described and measured parameters are presented. A detailed schematic of the structure of the ORIOL antenna
Section III introduces the system and channel model used to de- with its basic dimensions is shown in Fig. 2(a). Most of the de-
scribe the system level performance of the antenna. Sections IV sign complexity in the ORIOL antenna resides in the feeding
and V presents the theoretical benefits of using the proposed an- structure, thus we proceed to describe it. Notice that each port 50
tenna in LOS and NLOS environments, through a phased array feeding line connects to a quarter wave transformer through
scheme and a MIMO system using OSTBCs, respectively. Per- a high-impedance line which, after a few millimeters, splits into
formance (channel) measurement results are finally presented two high-impedance lines that connect to the octagonal patch
in Section VI. Notation: Throughout this paper we use bold at two adjacent sides. The purpose of these high-impedance
upper-case letters to represent matrices, bold lower-case letters lines is to transform the high input antenna impedance value
to represent vectors, and , and to denote transpose, seen at the edges of the octagonal patch into a 50 impedance
complex conjugate and Hermitian, respectively. represents value. At each location where the high-impedance quarter wave
the solid angle. where is the elevation angle with transformer splits into two lines, we have located four switches,

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6 IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON ANTENNAS AND PROPAGATION, VOL. 58, NO. 1, JANUARY 2010

Fig. 3. Representations of the simulated (using HFSS 10) current distributions


associated with each antenna-port, for the two radiation states. In particular, (a)
J (r ), (b) J (r ), (c) J (r ), (d) J (r ).

antenna , the switches must be simul-


taneously in the ON state and the switches in
the OFF state, such that the patch is excited from locations
(from port 1) and (from port 2), as shown in Fig. 2(a). In this
case, the excited current distributions are ,
as shown in Fig. 3(c) and (d). Reconfiguring the location of the
input feeding point along the edge of the antenna, at points ,
, , , results in reconfiguring the polarization of the ORIOL
antenna. Because these points are separated by an angular dis-
tance of 45 , the two desired polarization bases can be excited.
Fig. 2. In (a) the basic dimensions of the ORIOL antenna are being shown and
Table I summarizes the logic that relates the radiation states of
(b) represents a zoom-in of the feeding system and the series MEMS-switch the ORIOL antenna to the electrical state of the MEM switches
structure. in order to excite a particular current distribution
one the ORIOL antenna.
Let us define now as the normalized far-
denoted by , as shown in Fig. 1. field radiation pattern at the port of the ORIOL antenna,
For a proper operation of the antenna, the activation of these when the antenna is operated in the radiation state. Notice
switches has to guarantee that the currents do not pass trough the that, is the radiation pattern associated with the current
two split high-impedance lines simultaneously, but only through distribution . In the first radiation state of the ORIOL
one of them. I.e., the switches must be con- antenna , the distribution currents
trolled simultaneously, to ensure that in the first radiation state produce the radiation patterns . The polar-
of the ORIOL antenna they be both in the electrical ization of these radiation patterns in the -axis direction
state ON, thus exciting the patch from locations (from port 1) is and thus the polarization base referred to pre-
and (from port 2), as shown in Fig. 2(a). Logically, in this ra- viously as the vertical/horizontal (or ), is excited. On
diation state, the switches must be both in the the other hand, in the second radiation state of the ORIOL an-
electrical state OFF. If we use to denote the current tenna , the distribution currents pro-
distribution excited from the input port when the ORIOL duce the radiation patterns , which in the
antenna is set in the radiation state, then in the radiation -axis direction are polarized in the directions
state the current distributions excited on the octagonal . This corresponds to the second polar-
patch are . Simulated plots (using HFSS 10 ization base of slant . The polarization of these radiation
[22]) of the aforementioned current distributions are shown in patterns in the -axis direction and its relation to the
Fig. 3(a) and (b). In the second radiation state of the ORIOL electrical state of the MEM switches, is summarized in Table I.

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GRAU et al.: A DUAL-LINEARLY-POLARIZED MEMS-RECONFIGURABLE ANTENNA FOR NARROWBAND MIMO 7

TABLE I
CORRESPONDENCE TABLE BETWEEN THE ORIOL ANTENNA RADIATION STATES AND THE REQUIRED STATE OF THE MEM SWITCHES TO EXCITE A PARTICULAR
POLARIZATION, RADIATION PATTERN AND CURRENT DISTRIBUTION

B. Structure of the Switches and Bias Networks

The feeding and biasing structures, as well as the non-ideal


isolation capabilities of switches, were previously found to have
measurable effects on the polarization of the excited fields. In
our case, the switches were implemented with MEMS tech-
nology. In particular, the switch used in this work is a capacitive
MEM switch whose structure is based on a double-supported
suspended membrane over a microstrip line, and was developed
during previous research studies within our group [7], [18], [19],
Fig. 4. Picture of the ORIOL antenna fabricated on a Quartz substrate, and
[23], [24]. The basic dimensions of the used MEM switch are zoom in of one of the four MEM switches (SW ).
given in Fig. 2(b). In addition, the gap of the metal bridge is 5
, the thickness of the membrane is 0.5 , and the diam-
eter of the membrane holes is 10 . Notice that the switches C. Fabrication
are composed of two series-MEM switches in se- The ORIOL antenna was fabricated on a Quartz substrate. A
ries (instead of one single series-MEM switch), as shown in picture of the antenna and a zoom in of one of the four MEM
Fig. 1. The reason for this is to improve signal isolation and switches is shown in Fig. 4. The thickness of the
reduce the coupling of currents on the lines that need to be dis- Quartz substrate is , with relative dielectric con-
connected, in each antenna radiation state. At 3.8 GHz, the iso- stant , and dissipation factor . The
lation achieved with a single series-MEM switch was found to fabrication process is that developed by the authors and exten-
be around 16 dB [18], while with two series-MEM switches sively described in [19]. The metal used to pattern the microstrip
in series the isolation level was increased up to 23 dB. Given patch and the bias networks is gold with a thickness of 0.5 .
the above isolation level, and to compensate the effect of the
feeding and biasing structures, the exact locations of the four D. Scattering Parameters
input points ( , , , , shown in Fig. 2(a)) were then varied Figs. 5 and 6, show the simulated and measured scattering
along the edge and optimized such that the two desired polariza- parameters, at the input ports of the ORIOL antenna, over a fre-
tion bases ( and slant ), could be excited. By doing quency spanning from 3.5–4 GHz, in the radiation states
this, the produced radiated fields have a clean polarization (in and , respectively. In both states, there exists a good iso-
the direction) that deviates from the desired one by less lation level between ports of about 30–32 dB and the return loss
than 2 . is above 15 dB in any port. As commented in Section II-B, such
Finally, notice that the proposed antenna uses a total of eight large isolation values allow the ORIOL antenna to radiate with
monolithically integrated series MEM switches, which are a very small deviation from the desired polarization. In fact,
strategically located in the microstrip feeding structure of the as it will be shown in the next sections, the co-cross polariza-
antenna to achieve the desired reconfigurable capabilities. The tion level is around 18–30 dB. The 10 dB return loss bandwidth
actuation voltage of the used MEMS was 30 V. Although this of the ORIOL antenna is 1.7%, and its resonant frequency is
required voltage can be a drawback for certain applications, 3.82 GHz. Notice that in applications with specific bandwidth
electrostatically activated MEMS switches are suitable for very requirements, several well known techniques could be used to
low power consumption applications. expand the bandwidth of this antenna, such as using smaller per-
The bias networks are used to activate or deactivate the MEM mittivity substrates, or changing the excitation mechanism of
switches. These networks are composed of DC control lines and the patch antenna, among other.
radial open stubs, which are specifically designed to assure that
the RF signals do not penetrate on the bias networks, that is, to E. Radiation Patterns
create open circuits at RF frequencies. Basically, both the ra- Fig. 7 shows the simulated and measured normalized far-field
dial open stubs and the microstrip transmission lines that con- radiation patterns of the ORIOL antenna at any of its two ports,
nect the radial stubs to either the octagonal patch or the MEM in the radiation states and , for the (x-axis)
switches, are quarter-wave transformers [25], which translate cut plane. Fig. 8 shows the same quantities for the
the open-circuit of the radial stubs to the biasing points. Fig. 2(a) (y-axis) cut plane. At both figures, in the radiation state
shows the location of the bias networks on the surroundings of [sub-figures (a)–(b)], the co-polar component for port
the ORIOL antenna and its basic dimensions. (a) is set in the direction , and at port (b) the co-polar

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8 IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON ANTENNAS AND PROPAGATION, VOL. 58, NO. 1, JANUARY 2010

III. SYSTEM MODEL

A. System

In order to evaluate the performance of the ORIOL antenna


at system level, we first present our system and channel model.
Consider a communication system with one ORIOL antenna at
the transmitter in a fixed radiation state, let us assume in the ra-
diation state , such that its polarization base is always ver-
tical/horizontal . At the receiver, assume one ORIOL
antenna which can change its radiation state such that it can se-
lect a polarization base of or . Thus, we can define
the following two possible channel propagation states (CPSs)
for our system.
• CPS 1: transmit ORIOL antenna in the configura-
tion and receive ORIOL antenna in the configura-
tion.
Fig. 5. Simulation (gray lines) and measurement (black lines) of the ORIOL • CPS 2: transmit ORIOL antenna in the configura-
antenna scattering parameters in the radiation state p = 1. tion and receive ORIOL antenna in the .
where we use index to numerate them. The ORIOL
antenna arrangements for the two CPSs are illustrated in Fig. 9.
Notice that in this work, we do not use reconfigurability at the
transmitter. We assume also perfect knowledge of the channel
matrix at the receiver only. Because the ORIOL antenna is a
2-port antenna, the proposed system model can be analyzed as
a MIMO communications system with transmit ports
and receive ports (2 2 system). For the sequel, we use
index and to numerate the ports of the transmit and receive
ORIOL antenna, respectively.
We define now as the channel matrix in the
propagation state, given by

(1)

where denotes the channel coefficient containing


the gain and phase information of the paths between the
transmit port of the ORIOL antenna and the receive port
of the ORIOL antenna, during CPS .

Fig. 6. Simulation (gray lines) and measurement (black lines) of the ORIOL B. Channel Model
antenna scattering parameters in the radiation state p = 2.
With the Ricean K-factor, , defined as the ratio of deter-
ministic to scattered power, the channel matrix can be ex-
component is set in the direction . In the polarization state panded into
[sub-figures (c)–(d)], at port (c) the co-polar
component is set in the direction , and at port
(d) the co-polar component is set in the direction .
(2)
The measured maximum gain is 4.9 dBi. This value is relative
low for a patch antenna, but it can be explained from the fact
that the metal thickness (0.5 ) is a fraction of the skin depth. where the entries are in general correlated complex
Notice that the gain could be easily improved by depositing a Gaussian random variables with zero-mean. These variables
thicker metal layer. Finally, the cross-polarization component are used to describe the scattering nature of the (NLOS) prop-
is always below 18 dB in any port in any of the two state, for agation channel. On the other hand, the entries of are
the two cut planes. The radiation patterns have been measured deterministic variables which describe the LOS component of
at the resonant frequency of 3.82 GHz. the channel. can be directly computed from the transmit

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GRAU et al.: A DUAL-LINEARLY-POLARIZED MEMS-RECONFIGURABLE ANTENNA FOR NARROWBAND MIMO 9

Fig. 7. Co (solid line) and cross (dotted line) polarization components of the normalized radiation pattern for the  cut plane. In the polarization state p =0 =1
=1
(a), (b), at port n (a) the co-polar component is set in the direction y , and at port n =2 p
(b) the co-polar component is set in the direction x. In the polarization
=2 =1 ( + ) 2 =2
(0 + ) p2
state p (c), (d), at port n (c) the co-polar component is set in the direction y x = , and at port n (d) the co-polar component is set in the
direction y x = . Measurements are in black color, and simulations in gray color.

and receive antenna radiation patterns and the propagation loss , it can be used to perform polarization tracking in polar-
factor of the LOS component [26], [27], as follows: ization-sensitive communication schemes, such as phased array
architectures. Phased array architectures have been shown to be
the optimal transmission technique when [30], [31],
(3) that is in LOS conditions where the channel matrix is given by
. The advantage of phased array schemes
where and are the angle-of-departure (AoD) and the over other architectures is that only long-term channel state
angle-of-arrival (AoA) of the LOS path component with respect information consisting of the relative location of the transmitter
to the local coordinate systems at the transmitter and receiver, and receiver, needs to be sent back to the transmitter. However,
respectively, and are the maximum gain associated with one drawback of phased array using dual-linearly-polarized
the and ports of the transmit and receive ORIOL an- antennas is the antenna orientation. Having an unexpected
tennas, respectively, and is the distance between the trans- polarization misalignment between the transmit and receive
mitter and the receiver. Notice that denotes the radiation states antennas may cause important losses on the Signal-to-Noise
of the receive ORIOL antenna, in the CPS. Unless specified Ratio (SNR) of the system. The use of circularly polarized
otherwise, we use . antennas is sometimes proposed to overcome this limitation,
For the scattering component of the channel, we assume the because they do not require any alignment [8]. However, these
Kronecker channel model described in [28] ((2)). This channel antennas have the inconvenience that the axial ratio (which
model has been widely used in the literature and in several IEEE is a measure of the quality of the circularly polarized waves)
standards (such as IEEE 802.11n) [29]. Contrary to [29], we do tends to increase rapidly as the scanning angle from boresight
not model the power delay profile (i.e., narrowband assumption) increases, thus rendering serious reductions on the SNR on
and Doppler effects, since we aim to measure the performance these angles. In addition, the axial-ratio bandwidth for mi-
gains due to the spatial diversity provided by the ORIOL an- crostrip antennas is normally much smaller than the 10 dB
tenna. bandwidth. On the other hand, MEMS technology enables us to
IV. POLARIZATION-TRACKING USING THE ORIOL ANTENNA design linearly-polarized reconfigurable antennas that can track
IN LOS ENVIRONMENTS the polarization of the incoming waves, such as the ORIOL
antenna, and thus solve the problem of antenna orientation
Due to the capability of the ORIOL antenna to reconfigure
without having to use circularly-polarized antennas.
its polarization base from being vertical/horizontal to slant

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10 IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON ANTENNAS AND PROPAGATION, VOL. 58, NO. 1, JANUARY 2010

Fig. 8. Same representation as in Fig. 7, but for the  = 90 cut plane. Measurements are in black color, and simulations in gray color. (a) State p = 1 at port
n = 1; (b) state p = 1 at port n = 2; (c) state p = 2 at port n = 1; (d) state p = 2 at port n = 2.

Fig. 9. ORIOL antenna arrangements for the two channel propagation states of the proposed system. (a) Channel propagation state 1 (p = 2): V-H to V-H. (b)
Channel propagation state 2 : V-H to 45 degrees. (p = 1) +0

For simplicity we limit our analysis to the 2 2 system is the average transmit power from all transmit ports. The
described in Section III, using one transmit and one receive received spatial vector can be written as follows
ORIOL antenna. However, the conclusions are valid for phased
array structures with an arbitrary number of transmit and receive
antennas. Let us define as the transmitted vector, given (5)
by where is the received spatial of additive white
Gaussian noise (AWGN) vector. Using (3) and (5), the com-
bined received signal can then be expressed as follows:
(4)

where the same symbol is sent from the two ports of the (6)
transmit ORIOL antenna. The variance of is given by
, where is the average energy per data symbol Notice that the operation in (6) consists of directly combining
at the transmitter. On the other hand, where the signals from all the receive ports, as it is similarly done in

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GRAU et al.: A DUAL-LINEARLY-POLARIZED MEMS-RECONFIGURABLE ANTENNA FOR NARROWBAND MIMO 11

analog phased arrays through an external power combining net- V. DIVERSITY GAIN ENHANCEMENT USING THE ORIOL IN
work. Assume that and are also the maximum gain NLOS ENVIRONMENTS
direction of the transmit and receive antennas, and that As shown in [21], [32], in NLOS propagation scenarios, re-
. Finally, using (6), the average receive SNR of the configurable antennas (such as the ORIOL antenna) can be used
system in the CPS , denoted by , can be written as to improve the diversity order of a MIMO system using orthog-
onal space-time block codes (OSTBC) [33], where OSTBCs are
a kind of widely used modulation schemes designed for quasi-
static flat fading channels. These systems have been shown to
be excellent schemes in NLOS propagation scenarios ,
because they provide maximum diversity gain with very simple
decoding complexity. In these systems, the instantaneous SNR
at the input of the decoder, , can be written as [33]
(7)

where represents the noise power. To illustrate the (10)


benefits of the ORIOL antenna, assume in this section,
a third CPS, given by: CPS 3: transmit ORIOL an-
tenna in the configuration and receive ORIOL where we define , with and
antenna in the configuration. Notice that in is the average transmit power from all transmit antennas. We
the CP3, , define the average array gain (in the CPS ) of such system
as . This quantity gives us an insight
and . Therefore and no on the average received signal power as a result of coherently
power is being delivered. On the other hand, for the other combining the signals propagating through the channel from
two CPSs, it holds that the transmit antennas to all the receiving antennas. Notice that
and , and therefore OSTBC systems, in contrast to phased array architectures, are
. Thus, a phased array system using reconfig- not sensitive to antenna orientation, because the SNR is pro-
urable ORIOL antennas at the receiver, will pick the radiation portional to the summation of the squared absolute values of
state of the receiving antennas that maximizes the receive SNR, the channel coefficients. The reconfigurable capabilities of the
that is , thus tracking the polar- ORIOL antenna can be used to improve the array gain (and
ization of the transmit antennas. Notice that since the transmit the diversity order) of such systems. A simple way to do it is
and receive ORIOL antennas can be oriented randomly, other by allowing the system to select, among the two CPS given in
combinations of polarization bases between the transmitter and Section III, the CPS that maximizes the receive SNR [21]. We
the receiver may arise, however, those will produce SNR value denote the optimal state by . Assume an ideal NLOS prop-
within and . To summarize, for a non-reconfigurable agation scenario and that we use the Alamouti OSTBC [34].
dual-polarized phased array architecture, the ratio of worst to Assume for now that the channel matrices and , cor-
best SNR is responding to the two possible CPSs, are iid Gaussian random
matrices with zero-mean and unit-variance entries. Then, for
the proposed reconfigurable MIMO system using OSTBCs, the
SNR is given by
(8)

while for a reconfigurable dual-polarized phased array architec- (11)


ture using the ORIOL antennas, such ratio is
where . The average SNR at the
decoder, , is henceforth given as
(9)
(12)
which means that the percentage of power received varies in
between 50% and 100%, instead of 0% to 100% in the former where it is possible to find a close-form expression for
case. As shown above, the ORIOL antenna does not completely , given by
solve the problem of polarization mismatch in linearly polar-
ized phases array architectures, but proves the fact that recon-
figurable antenna technology can be used to solve this problem.
To solve the problem completely, one would need to use a po-
larization reconfigurable antenna in which the polarization base
can be changed at smaller angular steps than 45 , which is a (13)
feasible feature.

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12 IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON ANTENNAS AND PROPAGATION, VOL. 58, NO. 1, JANUARY 2010

where in our case, and is the VI. MEASUREMENT RESULTS


coefficient of , in the expansion of
A. Measurement Setup
To compute the received power (or SNR) for any of the two
aforementioned architectures, one needs to collect the ampli-
(14)
tude and phase information of the channel coefficients .
This information can be extracted using a virtual array technique
A more general expression of can be found in [28] (VAT) [37]. Using this method, two antennas are moved along
for the case in which the ports of a reconfigurable antenna are distinct linear trajectories, virtually creating the transmit and
allowed to be reconfigured independently of each other (as it is receive arrays of a particular MIMO system. For each CPS ,
not the case in the proposed antenna). For the sake of complete- the coefficients are then computed by switching among
ness, in [28] it is also shown that the diversity order of such a the ports of the transmit and receive antennas, then sending a
system would be . Notice that the expression given above single tone at the operating frequency of the antennas (3.8 GHz
is a simplification of that given in [28]. in our case), and measuring the propagated signal with a vector
In general, and , are correlated Gaussian random network analyzer connected to both the transmit and receive
matrices, and therefore the expression of given in (13) antennas. In our case, the experiments were conducted within
represents an upper-limit. In addition, the diversity order of the a room with several metallic objects and walls, as shown in
system would be larger than but smaller than [28]. Fig. 10. For the NLOS measurements, the two robotic arms that
Correlation may appear due to the characteristics of the antenna move the antennas, were placed in a NLOS configuration and
or lack of scattering richness in the propagation channel. As- separated by a distance of approximately 6 m. During the LOS
suming for now an ideal NLOS environment (uniform transmit measurements, they were placed in a LOS configuration and
and receive power spectrums), we can estimate the transmit and separated by a distance of 1.5 m. Two ORIOL antennas were
receive correlation matrices from the measured radiation pat- used, one being installed in the transmit arm and the other in the
terns only [28], [35]. That is, the entries of the transmit correla- receive arm. During the measurements, the transmit and receive
tion matrix, as defined in [28], are given by ORIOL antennas were moved at steps of and , respec-
tively. One thousand realizations of the channel matrices
and were collected. The samples of the channel matrices
and were sequentially obtained on a time-invariant
(15) channel. To verify the time-invariant channel assumption, the
correlation among two sequentially obtained sets of samples of
was measured and found to be 0.98.

and the entries of the receive correlation matrix among CPSs B. Polarization-Tracking Measurements in LOS Environments
and are computed by
In this section the presented measurement results are
conducted in a LOS environment. Fig. 11 shows the mea-
sured cumulative distribution function (CDF) of the quantity
(in dB), which is proportional
(16) to the receive SNR, for the phased array architecture using one
transmit ORIOL antenna (with fixed radiation state ) and
one receive ORIOL antenna, as described in Section IV, in each
where for simplicity we assume and . Equation (17) of the CPSs. Notice that in the CPS 1, when the polarizations
summarizes the receive envelope correlation values computed of the transmit and receive antennas are perfectly aligned, the
from the measured 3D normalized far-field radiation pattern. receive power is maximum. In the CPS 3, when the polarization
As shown, because in the proposed system using the ORIOL misalignment is maximum, the receive power drops about 8 dB.
antenna , then and , are correlated Notice that the receive power in the CPS 3 is not zero, which
Gaussian random matrices. However, notice that the correlation can be explained by the fact that the channel is not ideally
values are small enough ( 0.7) to provide significant diversity LOS, and the radiated polarizations by the ORIOL antennas
gain, as commented in [36], and as it was verified through mea- may deviate from the ideally desired ones by about 2 , as
surements commented in Section II-B. For the same reason, the receive
power in CPS 2 only drops about 1.75 dB below that of CPS
1. However, the trend of the measurements agree well with the
findings presented in Section IV.

C. Diversity and Capacity Gain Measurements in NLOS


Environments
(17) The performance gains of a MIMO system using OSTBCs
and reconfigurable ORIOL antennas are now verified through

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GRAU et al.: A DUAL-LINEARLY-POLARIZED MEMS-RECONFIGURABLE ANTENNA FOR NARROWBAND MIMO 13

TABLE II
CORRESPONDENCE TABLE BETWEEN THE CPS IN CASE 1 AND THE REQUIRED STATE OF THE MEM SWITCHES TO EXCITE A PARTICULAR POLARIZATION
AND RADIATION PATTERN

channel measurements in a NLOS environment. Two cases are


considered:
• Case 1: system described in Section III;
• Case 2: system described in Section III where the receive
ORIOL antenna is followed by an external switch that se-
lects one of the two output ports according to the receive
SNR.
Notice that while case 1 can be analyzed as a 2 2 MIMO
system with two CPSs, case 2 can be analyzed as a 2 1 MIMO
system with four CPSs. Tables II and III describe the logic that
relates the CPSs, the electrical state of the MEM switches, the
active port selected by the external switch (case 2 only), and
the excited radiation pattern and polarization, for case 1 and 2,
respectively.
We first investigate the correlation properties of the measured
channel. From the measured channel coefficients it is possible
to estimate the transmit and receive correlation matrices. In par-
ticular for the receive correlation matrix, it is given by

(18)

for any value of . Equations (19) and (20)

Fig. 10. Layout and dimensions of the room where the LOS and NLOS mea-
surements were conducted.

(19)

(20)

summarize the measured receive envelope correlation for case


1 and case 2, respectively, computed using (18). From our mea-
surements we observe that thus and ,
are correlated Gaussian random matrices. Notice that the enve-
lope correlation values follow similar trends to those obtained
Fig. 11. Measured CDF of the quantity for a phased array architecture using X from the measured radiation patterns assuming an ideal NLOS
one transmit (with fix radiation state) and one receive ORIOL antenna, for the
three CPSs described in Section IV. These measurements were conducted in a scenario (see (17)). This is in agreement with the fact that the
LOS environment. measurements are conducted in a NLOS environment (non-ideal

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14 IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON ANTENNAS AND PROPAGATION, VOL. 58, NO. 1, JANUARY 2010

TABLE III
CORRESPONDENCE TABLE BETWEEN THE CPS IN CASE 2 AND THE REQUIRED STATE OF THE MEM SWITCHES AND EXTERNAL SWITCH TO EXCITE A PARTICULAR
POLARIZATION AND RADIATION PATTERN

Fig. 12. Measured CDF of (in dB), for case 1. Solid lines represent the G Fig. 13. Measured CDF of G (in dB), for case 2. Solid lines represent the
CDF curves of G in each one of the CPSs, while the dashed line represents the CDF curves of G in each one of the CPSs, while the dashed line represents the
CDF curve after selecting the optimal CPS, for each measured sample. NLOS CDF curve after selecting the optimal CPS, for each measured sample. NLOS
measurements. measurements.

but) with rich scattering objects. In both cases, from the On the other hand, the average incremental array gain, ,
channel measurements. computed as
1) Diversity Gain: Fig. 12 and Fig. 13 show the measured
CDF of (in dB), for cases 1 and 2, respectively. In Fig. 12
(22)
(case 1), the received power is that collected from the two
ports and combined using maximal-ratio-combining (MRC).
is equal to 0.74 dB and 1.77 dB, for cases 1 and 2, respectively.
In Fig. 12 (case 2), the received power is that collected from a
These diversity gains come at no expenses of introducing ad-
single port after selecting the optimal radiation state and port
ditional receive ports to the system (increasing the number of
of the receiving ORIOL antenna. In both figures, the solid
radio-frequency (RF) transceivers), but rather as a result of the
lines represent the CDF curves of in each CPSs, while the
reconfigurable capabilities of the ORIOL antenna. Using (13),
dashed line represents the CDF curves of after selecting
the theoretical values of the average incremental array gain as-
the optimal CPS, for each measured sample.
suming that and are iid Gaussian random matrices,
We define now the incremental array gain, , as the ratio
are 1 dB and 2.5 dB, for cases 1 and 2, respectively. Notice that
of received power, at a probability of , using the reconfig-
the measured average values are slightly below those predicted
urable ORIOL antenna and selecting the optimal CPS to
through theory, which has to do with the fact that in our case,
the received power in any of the states. can be expressed the channel matrices and are correlated Gaussian
as random matrices. Also notice that the received power in case 1
is larger that in case 2. This has to do with the fact that in case
1 we are combining the received power from two ports using
(21) MRC, while in case 2 only one receiving port is available after
the external switching mechanism. On the other hand, due to
the fact that in case 2 not only the optimal radiation state of the
Notice that is in fact the diversity gain of the system as ORIOL antenna is selected but also the optimal output port, the
a result of using the ORIOL reconfigurable antenna. In case 1, incremental array gain is logically larger than in case 1. For the
is equal to 1.13 dB, and in case 2 it equals 3.86 dB. sake of completeness, the above curves are finally compared to

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GRAU et al.: A DUAL-LINEARLY-POLARIZED MEMS-RECONFIGURABLE ANTENNA FOR NARROWBAND MIMO 15

Fig. 15. Measured CDF of the system capacity (in bits/s/Hz) for case 1. Solid
Fig. 14. Simulated bit-error rate vs. SNR curves for the case 1 of the proposed lines represent the CDF curves of the capacity in each one of the CPSs, while
system, using the Alamouti code and binary phase-shit key (BPSK) modulation. the dashed line represents the CDF curve after selecting the optimal CPS, for
each measured sample. NLOS measurements.

those of a Single-Input Single-Output (SISO) system (1 1),


consisting in using only the port 1 in the transmit and receive is equally distributed among the transmit antennas, is de-
ORIOL antennas, and not allowing the receive ORIOL antenna fined as
to reconfigure its states.
In Fig. 12 and Fig. 13, each CPS guarantees a different level
of received power. This can be explained by the fact that re- (23)
flection, diffraction, and scattering affect differently each polar-
ization [26]. Notice that in these figures the channel matrices In both figures, the solid lines represent the CDF curves of the
are not normalized and correspond to those directly ex- capacity in each one of the CPSs, while the dashed line repre-
tracted from measurements. sents the CDF curve after selecting the optimal CPS, for each
Finally, Fig. 14 shows the bit-error (BER) rate vs. SNR measured sample. As shown in Fig. 15 and Fig. 16, the capacity
curves for the proposed system (case 1), using the Alamouti gain, computed as the increase on the system capacity at a 10%
code [34] and Binary Phase-Shift Key (BPSK) modulation. To probability due to the benefits introduced by using the recon-
obtain these curves we have conducted Monte Carlo simulations figurable ORIOL antenna, is equal to 0.44 bits/s/Hz and 1.86
using the Kronecker channel model given in Section III-B and bits/s/Hz, for cases 1 and 2, respectively. These capacity gains
the measured complex correlation values associated with those result from the increase in received power, as commented in
given in (19). Notice that the diversity order (defined as the Section VI-C-1. Finally, notice that when using (23), the channel
slope of the curves when ) of the MIMO-OSTBC matrices have also been normalized according to [38].
system using the ORIOL antenna is larger than that of a
non-reconfigurable system with the same number of transmit VII. CONCLUSION
and receive ports. In fact, at a BER probability of , the A compact dual-linearly-polarized reconfigurable 2-port an-
improvement on the SNR is about 2.1 dB. These curves are tenna was designed, fabricated and tested. Measurements have
compared also with that of an ideal reconfigurable system in shown that the antenna is capable of reconfiguring/rotating its
which and are iid. In all the cases, the channel polarization base from being vertical/horizontal , to
matrices have been normalized according to [38]. Notice that slant . The antenna has been implemented on a Quartz sub-
the diversity order of the system using the ORIOL antenna is strate, and uses monolithically integrated micro-electromechan-
in between and , due to the fact that ical (MEM) switches to select among the two aforementioned
, and in particular it is approximately equal to polarization bases. MEMS technology has been chosen in this
6, which is equivalent to the diversity order of a 2 3 MIMO work because MEM switches are able to offer small insertion
system using OSTBCs. However, only two receive RF trans- loss, large isolation, almost a negligible DC power consump-
ceivers are needed in the system using the ORIOL antenna. tion, and most importantly they can be monolithically integrated
Therefore, from a cost perspective, reconfigurable antennas, within the antenna because they can be fabricated on cheap sub-
such as the ORIOL antenna, allow us to build cheaper RF front strates such as PCB or Quartz. The return loss level seen at the
ends. antenna ports was found to be always above 15 dB, and the
2) Capacity Gain: Fig. 15 and Fig. 16 show the CDF of the isolation among ports larger than 30 dB. The measured max-
system capacity (in bits/s/Hz) for cases 1 and 2, respectively. imum gain is 4.9 dBi and the fractional bandwidth 1.7%. The
The system capacity, , assuming that the transmitted power system level performance of the ORIOL antenna has also been

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16 IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON ANTENNAS AND PROPAGATION, VOL. 58, NO. 1, JANUARY 2010

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ACKNOWLEDGMENT formance improvement for an wideband OFDM using alamouti coded
heterogeneous polarization antennas,” in Proc. Comput. and Commun.
The authors are thankful for the support of the Balsells fel- ISCC, Jun. 2004, vol. 2, pp. 702–707.
lowships and the California-Catalonia Engineering Innovation [21] A. Grau, J. Romeu, S. Blanch, L. Jofre, H. Jafarkhani, and F. D. Flaviis,
“Performance enhancement of the alamouti diversity scheme using po-
Program 2004–2005. larization-reconfigurable antennas in different fading environments,” in
Proc. IEEE Antennas and Propag. Society Int. Symp., Jul. 2006, pp.
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of mutual coupling in MIMO and diversity systems,” in Proc. IEEE munications Department, UPC, where he is currently
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[37] R. J. E. , O. Fernandez, and R. P. Torres, “Empirical analysis of a 2 2 an Associate Professor. His research interests are an-
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Lluís Jofre (M’78) was born in Barcelona, Spain, in
1956. He received the M.Sc. (Ing) and Ph.D. (Doctor
Ing.) degrees in electrical engineering (telecommu-
nications engineering) from the Technical University
of Catalonia (UPC), Barcelona, in 1978 and 1982, re-
spectively.
From 1979 to 1980, he was a Research Assistant
with the Electrophysics Group, UPC, where he
worked on the analysis and near-field measurement
of antenna and scatterers. From 1981 to 1982, he
was with the Ecole Superieure dElectricite, Paris,
Alfred Grau was born in Barcelona, Spain, in 1977. France, where he was involved in microwave antenna design and imaging
He received the Telecommunications Engineering techniques for medical and industrial applications. In 1982, he was appointed
degree from the Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya Associate Professor with the Communications Department, Telecommunica-
(UPC), Barcelona, Spain in 2001 and the M.S. tion Engineering School, UPC, where he became a Full Professor in 1989.
degree and Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering From 1986 to 1987, he was a Visiting Fulbright Scholar at the Georgia Institute
from the University of California at Irvine (UCI), in of Technology, Atlanta, working on antennas, and electromagnetic imaging
2004 and 2007, respectively. and visualization. From 1989 to 1994, he served as Director of the Telecom-
He is currently working as a Scientist at Broadcom munication Engineering School (UPC), and from 1994 to 2000, he was UPC
Corporation. His research interest are in the field Vice-rector for Academic Planning. His research interests include antennas,
of miniature and integrated antennas, multi-port scattering, electromagnetic imaging, and wireless communications. He has
antenna (MPA) systems, MIMO wireless commu- published more than 100 scientific and technical papers, reports, and chapters
nication systems, software defined antennas, reconfigurable and adaptive in specialized volumes. During 2000 and 2001, he was a Visiting Professor
antennas, channel coding techniques, microelectromechanical systems with the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, Henry Samueli
(MEMS) for RF applications, and computer-aided electromagnetics. School of Engineering, University of California, Irvine, where he focused on
antennas and systems miniaturization for wireless and sensing applications.

Jordi Romeu was born in Barcelona, Spain, in 1962.


He received the Ingeniero de Telecomunicacin and Franco De Flaviis was born in Teramo, Italy, in
Doctor Ingeniero de Telecomunicacin degrees, both 1963. He received the Laurea degree in electronics
from the Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya (UPC), engineering from the University of Ancona, Italy,
in 1986 and 1991, respectively. in 1990, and the M.S. degree and Ph.D. degree
In 1985, he joined the Photonic and Electromag- in electrical engineering from the University of
netic Engineering Group, Signal Theory and Com- California at Los Angeles (UCLA), in 1994 and
munications Department, UPC, where he is currently 1997 respectively.
a Full Professor and is engaged in research on an- In 1991, he was an Engineer with Alcatel working
tenna near-field measurements, antenna diagnostics, as a researcher specializing in the area of microwave
and antenna design. He was a Visiting Scholar at the mixer design. In 1992, he was a Visiting Researcher
Antenna Laboratory, University of California, Los Angeles, in 1999, on a NATO at the UCLA working on low intermodulation mixers.
Scientific Program Scholarship, and in 2004 at University of California Irvine. Currently, he is an Associate Professor in the Department of Electrical and Com-
He holds several patents and has published 35 refereed papers in international puter Engineering, University of California Irvine. His research interests are in
jounals and 50 conference proceedings. the filed of computer-aided electromagnetics for high-speed digital circuits and
Dr. Romeu was grand winner of the European IT Prize, awarded by the Euro- antennas, microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) for RF applications fabri-
pean Commission, for his contributions in the development of fractal antennas cated on unconventional substrates such as printed circuit board and microwave
in 1998. laminates.

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