Two modifications improve the performance of a circularly polarized microstrip-patch-array antenna described in U.S. Patent 5,661,994. Because the phase difference between the orthogonal sides in the original design was 135°, there was substantial cross-polarization and waste of power. One modification is a change in the layout of two microstrip transmission lines through which excitation is applied to two orthogonal sides of each microstrip patch, such that the phase difference between the sides becomes 90°, which is optimum for circular polarization. The other modification pertains to the use of a quarter-wave impedance transformer after a junction that sums the power of two elements of a two-element subarray. When combining these subarrays to form a four-element subarray, the use of a postjunction transformer dictated the use of a meandering transmission line to obtain the required phase shift between the subarrays. The second modification is the placement of an impedance transformer before the junction, such that a transformer is no longer needed after the junction and the meandering transmission line can be eliminated. Hence, the radiative, ohmic, and dielectric losses of the meandering transmission line are also eliminated and the design is simplified.

This work was done by Patrick Fink of Johnson Space Center.

This invention has been patented by NASA (U.S. Patent No. 6,288,677). Inquiries concerning nonexclusive or exclusive license for its commercial development should be addressed to

the Patent Counsel
Johnson Space Center
(281) 483-0837.

Refer to MSC-23089.

NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the November, 2002 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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