On the Sensitivity of Reflective-Mode Phase-Variation Sensors Based on Open-Ended Stepped-Impedance Transmission Lines: Theoretical Analysis and Experimental Validation

Jonathan Muñoz Enano, Paris Vélez Rasero, Lijuan Su, Marta Gil Barba, Pau Casacuberta Orta, Ferran Martín

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

59 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This article presents an exhaustive study of the sensitivity in reflective-mode phase-variation sensors based on an open-ended transmission line with a step-impedance discontinuity. Such discontinuity delimits the sensing region (which extends up to the open end of the so-called sensing line), from the transmission line section connected to the input port (design line), which is used to enhance the sensitivity. The theoretical analysis provides the design guidelines to achieve a sensor with high sensitivity compared with the one based on an ordinary (uniform) line with a similar length. In particular, it is shown that for sensitivity optimization, the electrical length of the design line must be set to 90° (or an odd multiple), whereas either a 90° (or an odd multiple) or a 180° (or an even or odd multiple) sensing line can be alternatively used in order to maximize the sensitivity. It is shown that the impedance contrast, defined as the ratio between the characteristic impedances of the design and sensing line, is a key parameter for sensitivity enhancement, and it must be as low or as high as possible for the 90° or 180° sensing lines, respectively. For validation purposes, two prototype devices (one with a 90° and the other one with a 180° sensing line) have been designed and fabricated following the design guidelines. Such devices have been tested by loading the sensing region with several materials with different dielectric constants. Compared with the ordinary line-based sensors, it is found that the maximum sensitivity is enhanced by a factor of 19.7 and 11.4 in the phase-variation sensor based on a 90° and 180° sensing line, respectively. Finally, the sensor concept is generalized to a multisection step-impedance transmission line as a means of further increasing the sensitivity, and a prototype device exhibiting 528.7° maximum sensitivity is implemented.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)308-324
Number of pages17
JournalIEEE Transactions on Microwave Theory and Techniques
Volume69
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted in press - 2021

Keywords

  • Microstrip
  • Microwave sensor
  • Phase-variation sensor
  • Reflective-mode sensor
  • Stepped-impedance transmission line

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