This design allows broadband power combining with high isolation between the H port and E port, and achieves a lower insertion loss than any other broadband planar magic-T. Passive micro wave/millimeter-wave signal power is combined both in-phase and out-of-phase at the ports, with the phase error being less than ±1°, which is limited by port impedance.

The in-phase signal combiner consists of two quarter-wavelength-long transmission lines combined at the microstrip line junction. The out-of-phase signal combiner consists of two half-wavelength-long transmission lines combined in series. Structural symmetry creates a virtual ground plane at the combining junction, and the combined signal is converted from microstrip line to slotline. Optimum realizable characteristic impedances are used so that the magic-T provides broadband response with low return loss.

The magic-T is used in microwave- and millimeter-wave frequencies, with the operating bandwidth being approximately 100 percent. The minimum isolation obtainable is 32 dB from port E to port H. The magic-T VSWR is less than 1.1 in the operating band. Operating temperature is mainly dependent on the variation in the dielectric constant of the substrate. Using crystallized substrate, the invention can operate in an extremely broad range of temperatures (from 0 to 400 K). It has a very high reliability because it has no moving parts and requires no maintenance, though it is desirable that the magic-T operate in a low-humidity environment. Fabrication of this design is very simple, using only two metallized layers. No bond wires, via holes, or air bridges are required. Additionally, this magic-T can operate as an individual component without auxiliary components.

This work was done by Kongpop U-yen, Edward J. Wollack, Terence Doiron, and Samuel H. Moseley of Goddard Space Flight Center.


NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the November, 2008 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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