The design and realisation of electronically tunable dielectric resonator microstrip filters

Virdee, Bal Singh (1996) The design and realisation of electronically tunable dielectric resonator microstrip filters. Doctoral thesis, University of North London.


Many of todays' sophisticated communication systems, particularly those operating in the microwave frequency range, have a growing demand for highly selective and frequency agile filters with fast tuning rates. At microwave frequencies above 2GHz, filters that combine both tuning speed and high selectivity are difficult to realise. Unloaded Q values in the range of 1000 are required for reasonable selectivity. At present, these requirements with the exception of tuning speed are mainly fulfilled by electronically tuned filters employing yttrium iron garnet (YIG) resonators. An alternative solution to this problem is to utilise high-Q dielectric resonators (DRs) in-conjunction with an appropriate tuning mechanism to realise tunable filters. DRs can provide unloaded Q-factors comparable to waveguide resonators (typically 10,000 @ 10GHz), but at a substantially lower weight and smaller volume. DRs are also compatible with a microstrip environment which eliminates the need for microstrip to waveguide adaptors. This thesis is devoted to the study of the design and realisation of electronically tuned microwave filters employing dielectric resonators.

Knowledge of the values of the coupling coefficient between a pair of DRs is essential for the design of both the bandpass and bandstop filters using these resonators. This necessitates the use of an accurate expression for the coupling coefficient which was derived by performing an electromagnetic analysis on the DR structure. This analysis also took into account the effects of the actual circuit environment such as the resonator support spacer and the dimensions of the enclosure. The experimental data presented shows very good agreement with the computed data.

Novel techniques for the tuning of the DR operating in its fundamental mode are presented. These tuning configurations incorporating GaAs varactor diodes have been investigated to determine a circuit which greatly perturbs the DR fundamental mode. The amount of tuning that can be obtained by these methods exceeds more than 60MHz of the unperturbed value of resonant frequency with acceptable amount of Q-factor degradation. These tuning characteristics are superior to similar devices reported to date. A simple analytical expression is also derived for determining the tuning range of such a structure.

Techniques for the design of novel electronically tunable DR bandpass and bandstop filters having either a Chebyshev or Butterworth response are presented. Design for prescribed response, starting from a low-pass lumped-element prototype filter is outlined. The bandpass filter structure consists of cascaded resonators, with the end resonators coupled to microstrip arcs on a substrate, whereas, the bandstop filter consists of a microstrip line with resonators mounted at intervals of one-quarter-wavelength. Tuning is achieved by varying a bias voltage to the varactor. The measured performances of several practical devices operating in the S-band are presented, these agree closely with theory. The centre frequency of these filters is within 2.46% and the bandwidth is within 3.75% of the desired values.

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