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3, MARCH 2007 169

Stubbed Branch Line Balun

Myun-Joo Park and Byungje Lee, Member, IEEE

Abstract—A new impedance transforming balun scheme is

presented based on the branch line structure with stubs on the
vertical branches. The stubbed vertical branch eliminates the
unwanted even mode output and provides only the required balun
output with opposite phase. Also, the use of stubs reduces the
branch lengths by two times the stub length and therefore, helps
to reduce the total size of the proposed balun.
Index Terms—Balun, branch line, stubs.

Fig. 1. Structure of the proposed balun.


B ALUNS are used to transform the unbalanced input into

two balanced outputs and have wide range of applications
in microwave circuits such as balanced mixers, push–pull ampli-
fiers, etc. Among other schemes, the half wave balun and Marc-
hand-type baluns are very popular for this purpose. The half
wave baluns [1] are based on 180 delay lines which are rather
bulky for some circuit applications. The Marchand-type baluns
can be implemented in planar technology using two quarter-
wave coupled lines [2], which have better performance at the
expense of the increased manufacturing complexity.
This letter presents a new balun structure based on branch line
with stubs on vertical branches. The stubbed vertical branches Fig. 2. (a) Even mode (b) odd mode equivalent half circuit of the balun.
are employed to provide the two balanced outputs of the balun
without halfwave delay lines or coupled lines. The unwanted
even mode signal with the same magnitude and phase at the two Furthermore, the open stubs require no vias in the fabrication
outputs can be eliminated by the careful design of the stub and process which makes the proposed balun quite suitable for the
the branch line parameters so that only the balanced mode for the fabrication using low cost planar technology.
balun appear at the outputs with equal magnitude and opposite Just as in the branch line couplers, the proposed branch line
phase. In addition, the use of stubs reduces the length of the ver- balun can be analyzed using the even—odd mode decomposition
tical branch by two times the stub length, which makes it useful method [2] based on the inherent circuit symmetry. The even
for the compact size design of the transmission line baluns. and the odd mode equivalent half circuits are shown in Fig. 2.
In the even mode, an equivalent magnetic wall is formed
II. THEORY along the symmetry plane [3]. Therefore, the stubs are split in
half along the center lines and their impedance values are dou-
The schematic representation of the proposed balun structure is bled, which are equal to the impedances of the accompanying
shown in Fig. 1. The overall circuit topology is quite similar to that vertical branches. Now the even mode equivalent half circuit in
of the branch line coupler with one of its ports open circuited. The Fig. 2(a) shows that the vertical branch and the stub can be com-
horizontal branch lines of the proposed balun have impedance bined with the same impedance to form an equivalent quarter
and are quarter wavelength long. The vertical branches have open wavelength stub. These open ended quarterwave stubs provide
stubs attached at the center. The stubs have half the impedance of the transmission zeros for the even mode outputs. Therefore,
the accompanying branches and lengths 1,2 adjustable only the odd modes are produced at the two outputs of the balun
by design. The lengths of the vertical branch lines are reduced in which corresponds to the balanced output with the same mag-
proportion to the stub length. The branch length reduction rate nitude and opposite phase.
is two times the stub length and therefore, the stubs also play In the odd mode, the stubs are shorted out by the virtual
a significant role in reducing the overall size of the balun. ground formed along the symmetry plane and are completely
removed from the equivalent circuit as shown in Fig. 2(b). The
Manuscript received October 23, 2006. This work was supported by the Min- impedance matching requirement at the input yields the fol-
istry of Information and Communication, Information Technology Research lowing sets of solutions:
Center Support Program, and the Institute of Information Technology Assess-
ment under Contract C1090-0603-0008. (1)
The Authors are with the RFIC Research and Education Center, Kwangwoon
University, Seoul 139-701, Korea (e-mail: mjpark@kw.ac.kr). (2)
Digital Object Identifier 10.1109/LMWC.2006.890445

1531-1309/$25.00 © 2007 IEEE


Fig. 3. Line impedance plot with (a) Z =Z ; Z =Z versus R = Z =Z for

Z =Z = 1 and (b) Z =Z ; Z =Z versus Z =Z for Z = Z (R = 1).

Fig. 4. Performance of of the balun with varying stub lengths (a) output balance
where is the impedance transformation ratio be- and (b) return loss (solid line:  =  = 0, dashed line:  =  = =6,
tween the source and the load. Once the stub lengths dotted line:  =  = =4, dash-dotted line:  =  = =3; R =
are selected, the three line impedances remain as de- 1; Z =Z = 1.5).
sign parameters. One of them can be chosen freely and then the
other two can be determined from the previous two equations.

Fig. 3 shows some representative design data for the proposed
balun as calculated from (1) and (2).
In these plots, the stub lengths are fixed at one eighth of the
wavelength 4 . These data are also useful to
obtain results for arbitrary stub lengths by simply scaling the
impedance by tan and by tan with no change in
. This can be easily identified by direct substitution into (1)
and (2).
Fig. 3(a) shows the branch impedance variation
for various load to source impedance ratio for Fig. 5. Layout of the designed balun (Units:mm).
fixed . These impedances can further be adjusted by
different selection of as shown in Fig. 3(b). It shows the
impedance variation for the different selection of for fixed the proposed balun according to the specific requirement for
load impedance of 1 . As increases, the different applications.
other impedances also increase, which can be used to adjust the A prototype balun has been designed based on the proposed
overall impedance level of the transmission lines to convenient scheme. The stub lengths are set to one eighth of the wavelength
values for manufacturing in the balun construction. 4 and this makes the vertical branches quarter
A balun should provide the balanced (output-of-phase, wavelength long as well as the horizontal branches. The line
equal magnitude) outputs while maintaining good impedance impedances are selected as 54.3 120
matching at the input. These performances are compared with 60 for 50- source and load impedances 1 .
varying stub lengths in Fig. 4. Without stubs 0, The above prototype design is fabricated using microstrip
the structure corresponds to a halfwave balun, which shows lines on a teflon substrate with thickness 0.8 mm, and dielec-
the greatest bandwidth along with the largest size penalty. tric constant 2.5 at the center frequency of 1 GHz. The layout is
As the stub length is increased, the total size of the balun is given in Fig. 5 including 50- feed lines connected to each port.
reduced at the expense of some bandwidth. Therefore, some The scattering parameters are measured through SMA connec-
tradeoff is possible between the bandwidth and the size of tors attached at the ends of the feed lines.

netic simulation results by commercial software [4] are also

shown with scattered marks. The simulation and measurement
shows good agreements. The overall response shows the proper
balun characteristic with two 3 dB outputs in 180 out of phase
near the center frequency. In the magnitude response shown in
Fig. 6(a), the magnitude difference between the two outputs is
maintained within 0.15 dB over 140 MHz bandwidth. The
180 output phase difference between the two outputs is ob-
served almost exactly at the center frequency and the deviation
(minimum to maximum) is maintained below 5 over 230 MHz

This letter presented a new structure for the impedance trans-
forming balun using branch line scheme with open stubs. The
stubbed vertical branches remove the unnecessary even mode
signal components and provide only the desired output signals
for the balun. Also, the use of stubs contributes to reduce the
size of the balun. The resulting balun has a simple structure and
is suitable for low cost fabrication with planar technology.

Fig. 6. Frequency response of the designed balun (a) magnitude [solid line
j j
(measured) and circles (simulated)]: S31=S21 , dashed line (measured) [1] R. Sturdivant, “Balun designs for wireless, mixers, amplifiers and an-
j j
and crosses (simulated): S31 , dotted line (measured) and squares (simu- tennas,” Appl. Microw., vol. 5, pp. 34–44, Summer 1993.
j j
lated): S21 , dash-dotted lines (measured) and triangles (simulated): S11) [2] K. S. Ang, Y. C. Leong, and C. H. Lee, “Analysis and design of
(b) phase[solid line (measured) and squares (simulated)]: S31 0 S21, miniaturized lumped-distributed impedance transforming baluns,”
dashed line (measured): S31, dotted line (measured): S21). IEEE Trans. Microw. Theory Tech., vol. 51, no. 3, pp. 1009–1017,
Mar. 2003.
[3] D. M. Pozar, Microwave Engineering, 2nd ed. New York: Wiley,
Fig. 6 shows the performance of the designed balun. Mea- [4] Moment-Method Based EM Simulation and Optimization Package,
sured results are plotted in lines and the full-wave electromag- IE3D, Zealand Software, Inc., 2006.