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Electronics July 2010 Vol.55 No.19: 20662070

doi: 10.1007/s11434-010-3021-y


A broadband metamaterial cylindrical lens antenna

MA HuiFeng, CHEN Xi, YANG XinMi, XU HongSheng, CHENG Qiang & CUI TieJun*
State Key Laboratory of Millimeter Waves, School of Information Science and Engineering, Southeast University, Nanjing 210096, China

Received March 23, 2009; accepted July 13, 2009

We present a Luneberg-like cylindrical lens antenna experimentally using metamaterials. The cylindrical lens antenna with a
broad bandwidth is made up of the non-resonant I-shaped metamaterial structures. The near-field distributions of the metamaterial
lens antenna are measured using a two-dimensional near-field microwave scanning apparatus, and agree well with the simulation
results. The far-field radiation patterns of the antenna are also presented to show the high-gain performance in the broad band-

metamaterials, broadband, lens antenna

Citation: Ma H F, Chen X, Yang X M, et al. A broadband metamaterial cylindrical lens antenna. Chinese Sci Bull, 2010, 55: 20662070, doi: 10.1007/s11434-010-3021-y

The Luneberg lens antenna [1], which is constructed by a trol the electromagnetic fields and waves, such as the in-
spherically symmetrical dielectric lens, has been widely visible cloaks [57]. In principle, metamaterials can be de-
used in the microwave frequencies. The refractive index of signed to achieve any permittivity and permeability.
the Luneberg lens is varied from 1 to 2 with the rule of In this article, a two-dimensional (2D) metamaterial Lu-
neberg-like lens antenna is presented using metamaterials.
n = 2 ( r R ) , where R is the radius of the lens and
The metamaterials are carefully designed based on
0<r<R. In practice, the lens is approximately made of ho- non-resonant artificial structures [7], whose relative index
mogeneous dielectric and concentrically layered media with of refraction varies from 1.1 to 1.414 accurately. The
different permittivity values. The Luneberg lens can trans- near-field distribution of the 2D metamaterial cylindrical
form the spherical waves from a point source on the lens lens antenna is measured using a 2D near-field microwave
surface (r=R) into plane waves on the diametrically opposite scanning apparatus (2D mapper) [8], and the radiation pat-
side of the lens, and can also focus the incoming plane tern is obtained using near-to-far field transformation. The
waves from any direction to a point on the surface of the experiment results of both near-field distributions and
sphere. Hence one of the main applications of the Luneberg far-field radiation patterns have good agreements with the
lens is in the mobile satellite communications based on the simulation results in a broad bandwidth, showing the
property of high gain and high degree of symmetry. How- high-gain performance of the metamaterial cylindrical lens
ever, the Luneberg lens in practical application is expensive antenna.
and bulky because of the existing materials and the fabrica-
tion technology.
As novel artificial materials, metamaterials have received
1 The designing of the antenna
great attention due to their unusually physical properties and
many potentially attractive applications [27]. One of the In this article, the metamaterial cylindrical lens is designed
most significant characteristics of metamaterials is to con- at the frequency of f=8 GHz and the radius is chosen as
R=49.4 mm. In order to realize the refractive index n of the
* Corresponding author (email: tjcui@seu.edu.cn) Luneberg-like lens, a series of rectangular grids with dif-

Science China Press and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010 csb.scichina.com www.springerlink.com
MA HuiFeng, et al. Chinese Sci Bull July (2010) Vol.55 No.19 2067

ferent lengths are applied to approximate the circle (R=49.4

mm), as shown in Figure 1(a). The width of each rectangu-
lar grid is y=3.8 mm. The refractive-index distribution for
the discrete cylindrical lens is illustrated in Figure 1(b).
Hence the refractive index of each rectangular grid, which
has a gradient distribution along the x-axis, as shown in
Figure 1(b), should be exactly designed using metamateri-
The non-resonant I-shaped structures with broadband
features [7] are chosen to realize the required metamaterials,
as illustrated in Figure 1(c) and 1(d). The metamaterials are
fabricated using printed circuit boards (PCBs). A foam with
the relative permittivity foam=1.2 is applied to fix the PCB
pieces. The responses of the I-shaped metamaterial structure
is shown in Figure 2 in terms of different lengths of g, in Figure 2 The relationship between the geometry of the I-shaped structure
which the foam background (foam=1.2) has been considered and the effective medium parameters.

in the simulation and design, and x=z=3.8 mm, w=0.2

mm, and d=g+2w. In this design, the PCB is the copper-clad
F4B with a thickness of 0.25 mm, and the thickness of the
copper layer is 0.018 mm. As shown in Figure 2, when g is
varied from 0.2 to 2.4 mm, the corresponding relative per-
mittivity r is increased gradually from 1.31 to 2.38, and the
relative permeability r is decreased gradually from 1 to
0.98. Hence the relative refractive index can be varied from
1.15 to 1.52, and the characteristic impedance be varied
from 0.96 to 0.7.
To investigate the broadband property of the non-
resonant I-shaped structures, the corresponding dispersion
curves have been computed with different lengths of g, as
shown in Figure 3. Here, only the real parts of the material
parameters are provided and the imaginary parts are all ap-
proaching zero. From Figure 2, the minimum length of
g=0.2 mm and the maximum length of g=2.1 mm will be Figure 3 The dispersion curves of the non-resonant I-shaped structures
with different lengths of the g.

chosen in the design of lens antenna to realize the minimum

refractive index n=1.15 and the maximum refractive index
n=1.4, respectively. Hence we choose three representative
lengths of g=0.2 mm, 1.6 mm and 2.1 mm for investigation.
As shown in Figure 3, the larger g is, the more dispersion
exists. When g is equal to 0.2 mm and 1.6 mm, the effective
parameters change slowly in the frequencies from 3 GHz to
12 GHz, and the errors can be ignored. When g is equal to
2.1 mm, however, the dispersion is quite serious. Neverthe-
less, the parameters nearly remain the same within the fre-
quency band from 7 to 9 GHz, in which the relative permit-
tivity r is increased slowly from 1.944 to 2.038, and the
relative permeability r is decreased slowly from 0.988 to
0.973. Hence the corresponding characteristic impedance is
varied from 0.78 to 0.76, and the relative refractive index is
Figure 1 The design of metamaterial Luneberg-like lens antenna. (a) The varied from 1.386 to 1.408. Clearly, the non-resonant
discrete rectangular grids approximating a circular Luneberg Lens; (b) the I-shaped structures have the broadband features.
relative refractive index distribution of the approximate Luneberg-like
Based on above discussions, the I-shaped metamaterials
Lens; (c) the experiment sample of the metamaterial lens antenna; (d) the
details of metamaterials in (c). can be used to realize the required refractive-index distribu-