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Miniaturized Dual Band Antennas with Frequency Tunability for Implanted Biomedical Devices

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Antennas miniaturization is a key challenge in the design of implantable antennas for biomedical applications. Attaining a small antenna size, while effectively communicating at low frequencies, can be a major design hurdle. In this paper, a set of miniaturized and tunable patch antennas is developed. The presented antennas can be tuned to operate at single or multiple frequencies by changing the electrical length. The proposed antennas are of a fixed dimension of 10×16×1.59 mm 3 ; they can be tuned to operate between 363 MHz and 2.74 GHz. The achieved bands comprise the Medical Implant Communication Service (MICS), Wireless Medical Telemetry Service (WMTS), and the Industrial Scientific and Medical (ISM) radio bands. To validate the attained results, an antenna operating at 1.8 and 2.4 GHz is fabricated and tested in vitro. The obtained results are in accordance with the design objectives.
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Miniaturized Dual Band Antennas with Frequency Tunability for
Implanted Biomedical Devices
Adel Damaj1, Hilal M. El Misilmani2, and Sobhi Abou Chahine3
1 Ph.D., Student, Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, Beirut Arab University, Beirut, Lebanon.
2Assistant Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, Beirut Arab University, Beirut, Lebanon.
3Professor, Electrical, and Computer Engineering Department, Beirut Arab University, Beirut, Lebanon.
Abstract
Antennas miniaturization is a key challenge in the design of
implantable antennas for biomedical applications. Attaining a
small antenna size, while effectively communicating at low
frequencies, can be a major design hurdle. In this paper, a set of
miniaturized and tuneable patch antennas is developed. The
presented antennas can be tuned to operate at single or multiple
frequencies by changing the electrical length. The proposed
antennas are of a fixed dimension of 10×16×1.59 mm3; they can
be tuned to operate between 363 MHz and 2.74 GHz. The
achieved bands comprise the Medical Implant Communication
Service (MICS), Wireless Medical Telemetry Service (WMTS),
and the Industrial Scientific and Medical (ISM) radio bands. To
validate the attained results, an antenna operating at 1.8 and 2.4
GHz is fabricated and tested in vitro. The obtained results are
in accordance with the design objectives.
Keywords: Implantable antennas, Implanted biomedical
devices, Miniaturized antennas, Multi-band antennas
I. INTRODUCTION
Antennas for biomedical applications play a great role in the
overall implanted biomedical devices. Many studies are done to
reach the ultimate implantable antenna design at a desired
operating frequency, taking into consideration many factors that
play a unique role in the overall design. Implanted medical
devices are devices implanted inside the human body, capable
of communicating with an external accessory using wireless
technology. In the first stages, dual-band electromagnetism
used in medical applications, which later diverted into radio
frequency (RF) [1], which allows higher data rates and more
extended range. Several frequencies bands are recommended to
be used in medical implant communications, listed in Table 1.
Nowadays, implanted biomedical devices widely used in many
fields, such as continuous real-time pressure measurements,
intracranial pressure monitoring, sugar level check, pacemaker
connection, radiometer/heating, dental antenna for remote
health care applications, insulin push out, endoscopy, and blood
Table 1. Frequency bands of medical implant
communication
Frequency Band
Frequency range
(MICS): Medical Implant
Communications Services
401406 MHz
(WMTS): Wireless Medical
Telemetry Service
608-614 MHz, 1395-1400 MHz,
and 1427-1432 MHz
(ISM): industrial, scientific and
medical radio bands
clustered around 2.4 GHz
(UWB): Ultra Wide Band
3.1-10.6 GHz.
Wireless
sensor
node
Base
station
Medical Band
4
4
3
2
1
1- Air.
2- Insulation.
3-Human tissue layer.
4-Human tissue layer.
5-Free space.
5
Layers
surrounding
implanted
antenna
Fig. 1. Wireless implantable system.
pressure measurements. They are essential in human treatment,
prevention, and diagnosis.
Nowadays, implanted biomedical devices widely used in many
fields, such as continuous real-time pressure measurements,
intracranial pressure monitoring, sugar level check, pacemaker
connection, radiometer/heating, dental antenna for remote
health care applications, insulin push out, endoscopy, and blood
pressure measurements. They are essential in human treatment,
prevention, and diagnosis,
A typical implantable biomedical system we have shown in Fig.
1. It generally comprises implantable antennas with its feeding
mechanism, surrounded with several layers such as air,
insulating layer necessary for safety issues, human tissue layer,
and free air, in addition to a base station located outside the
International Journal of Engineering Research and Technology. ISSN 0974-3154, Volume 12, Number 12 (2019), pp. 2938-2946
© International Research Publication House. http://www.irphouse.com
2938
body to receive the transmitted signal from inside the body.
Antennas are considered one of the significant parts of
implantable devices. Patch antennas are witnessing great
attention in such applications due to their high resilience in
design, adaptability, and shape solved issues related to patient
safety, miniaturization capability, enhanced aspect of
communication with external control systems, in addition to
biocompatibility.
For the antenna to be implantable and able to be used in
biomedical applications, it must be compact [2], capable of
being inserted in an implantable device, and designed to operate
at a specific frequency band. Many aspects must be studied to
ensure full implanted communication system [3] [4], such as the
receiver and its sensitivity, the scattering due to surrounded
objects and its effect on the path propagation of the radiated EM
waves, in addition to the power needed for the implanted
antenna, which usually requires the largest size in implantable
device. Other challenges facing the design of such antennas are
related to the attenuation due to the hostile environment of
human bodies [5], such as tissues, bones, and skin, which leads
to a reduction in efficiency and bandwidth. Miniaturization of
the antenna might also affect its radiation characteristics, and as
such, a compromise usually made between radiation
characteristics and the size of the antenna.
An implantable CPW fed monopole antenna with a rectangular
patch element of dimensions of 18×24×0.65 mm3 has been
presented in [6]. The antenna can operate at a frequency of 2.45
GHz, with a bandwidth of 320 MHz, covering the ISM band.
An implantable slot dipole antenna operating in the 2.4 to 2.48
GHz band has also been presented in [7]. The antenna has the
dimensions of 18.5×25.9 mm2. In [8], a miniaturized antenna of
the total size of 7×7×0.2 mm3 has proposed for biomedical
applications. The presented antenna operates in the industrial,
medical, and scientific 2.40 2.4835 GHz band. In [9], two
implantable antennas have proposed: a three folded meander
antenna with dual-band at 394 MHz and 2.4 GHz with total
dimensions of 3.04×10×17.25 mm3, printed on Rogers 3003
substrate; and a comb antenna of overall size of 1.4×12×1.2
mm3, printed on Rogers 3210 substrate with bandwidths of 120
MHz and 320 MHz at 418 MHz and 2.43 GHz resonance
frequencies. To reduce the losses encountered while using
matching circuits, a reconfigurable dual-band antenna using
MEMS switches with differential feeding proposed in [10].
In this paper, a miniaturized meandered line patch antenna with
an ability to operate at a single or dual frequency bands, with
frequency tenability, is presented. The proposed antenna has
total dimensions of 10×16×1.59 mm3, which makes it of dual-
band challenging size compared to other implantable antennas
operating in the same frequency ranges. Based on changing the
length of the meandered antenna, different frequency ranges
can be obtained. Monopoles are also used to further decrease
the resonant frequency to around 360 MHz. A parametric study
is presented to show the design procedure adopted to reach the
dual antenna operation at a small antenna size. A mathematical
model is further derived that relates the electrical length of the
antenna and the operating frequency. Comparing the proposed
antenna to similar antennas offered for implanted biomedical
applications, the importance of the proposed design procedure
is seen in the achieved miniaturized size at low operating
frequencies, and with dual-band operation. As a proof of
concept, an antenna operating at 1.8 and 2.4 GHz has been
fabricated and tested in vitro using pork meat that can mimic
the electric properties of the human tissues.
The rest of the paper is organized as follows; Section 2 presents
the general design perspective of implantable antennas.
Sections 3 describes the proposed antenna design strategy and
results. Section 4 presents the fabrication and testing of one of
the designed antennas.
II. Design Perspective of Implantable Antennas
Typically, implantable antennas are designed to operate at
lower frequency ranges to decrease the penetration loss due to
the transmission of the wave from inside the body to the outside
receiver [11]. Working at lower frequencies, however, results
in large antenna sizes, not suitable for implantable medical
devices. As such, reducing the size of the antenna is a
significant challenge in the design of antenna ideal for
implantable applications [12]. To reach small dimensions,
several miniaturization techniques can be used [13], such as:
Choosing suitable dielectric material [14]: high dielectric
substrate/superstrate is the simplest way to achieve antenna size
reduction. A proper dielectric material can decrease the useful
wavelength and hence make smaller resonance frequencies
without the need to increase the total size of the antenna [15].
Table 2. lists the different dielectric materials used in the
referenced papers with their corresponding dielectric constants.
In this paper, FR4 with a thickness of 1.56 mm used due to the
simplicity of finding it locally.
Antenna structure: different antenna types and structures can
lead to size reduction such as meandered lines, spiral, PIFA, and
slot PIFA, dual folded, helical, fractal, and loop antennas [16].
The main aim of these types is to elongate the length of the
antenna while keeping the total volume fixed. Table 3.
compares some antenna design structures at the same resonance
frequency. Table 3 lists different antenna design structures used
for implantable medical devices, with their corresponding
frequency ranges and dimensions.
Impedance matching: the size of the antenna can also be
reduced by optimizing the impedance matching at the desired
frequency of operation. Inductance and capacitive loading
methods can be used for this aim [17].
In addition to size reduction, one of the critical challenges in
designing implantable antennas is to make sure that they are
suitable to be implanted inside the human body without
affecting their radiation characteristics. For this, the antenna
should be tested in simulation software in an environment
similar to that of the human tissues [18]. In Fig. 1, a layered
model representing the different layers of the body, such as air,
insulating layer necessary for safety issues, human tissue layer,
and free air, typically used in antennas testing and simulations,
is shown. Various simulation software that provides a dynamic
International Journal of Engineering Research and Technology. ISSN 0974-3154, Volume 12, Number 12 (2019), pp. 2938-2946
© International Research Publication House. http://www.irphouse.com
2939
environment for the analysis and simulation of antennas
suitable for implanted biomedical applications are found. Table
4 lists the simulation software packages used in the referenced
papers.
To test the antenna, two measurement types are usually found:
in vitro and in vivo measurements. In vitro measurements,
phantoms are used to mimic the electric properties of the human
body, and the antenna tested inside of it. Different phantoms
have been proposed and used in the literature survey, such as: a
liquid similar to the dielectric typical feature of muscle tissue,
an equivalent body medium, Polyacrylamide scalp phantom and
saline, dental model, a tissue-emulating material consisting of
ultra-pure water, sugar, and salt, a heterogeneous sample of a
male child from a virtual family, and pork skin phantom [19].
In vivo measurement, animals or the body of human volunteers
used for testing the antenna. Table 4 also lists the in vivo
measurements setup used to simulate and test the proposed
antennas for implanted medical applications.
Table 2. Comparison between different antenna dielectric
materials used in reference papers.
Ref.
Relative dielectric constant
𝜺𝒓
[20]
alumina ceramic (Al2O3)
9.9
[12]
Rogers 3210
10.2
[21]
ZrO2
21
[6]
ceramic
9.8
[22]
material
4
[16]
Glass wafer
3.7 10
[23]
Rogers 4003
3.55
[24]
FR4
4.7
[25]
Roger
10.2
[26]
Teflon, HIK500,
11
[27]
material
2.2
Table 3. Comparison between different antenna structures and
frequency bands used in reference papers
Ref.
Dimension
(mm)
Design Type
Frequency Band
[26]
14×14×15.
Spiral
MICS
[28]
19 ×30 ×1.6
Slot PIFA
ISM, MICS,WMTS
[29]
8.5×25.9×3.2
Folded slot dipole
ISM
[23]
15×15
PIFA
ISM
[27]
25×34×2.53
Dual folded
ISM, WMTS
[21]
11.5×8×8
Fractal Arc. spirals
MICS
[30]
15×4.5
Helical
868 MHz
[6]
18 × 24 × 0.65
Inverted L- shaped
slot,
inverted U- shaped slot
ISM
[22]
65×40
PIFA
MICS
[16]
5×3×1
MEMS
1 MHz
[7]
18.5×25.9
Slot Dipole
ISM
[31]
5.3 ×3.25
Meandered PIFA
ISM
[32]
0.16
Loop antenna
4 GHz
[12]
15×15×1.92
L- Shaped fed spiral
ISM, MICS
[25]
30×30×1.6
Dual - spiral
ISM
[20]
14×14
Magnetic-type loop
MICS
[33]
250 ×250
Patch
MICS
Table 4. Simulation software and measurements used in
reference papers.
Ref.
Simulation
tool
In Vitro Measurements
[26]
HFSS
Equivalent body
[28]
FEKO
Pork skin phantom
[29]
2.5 field
simulator
Liquid mimicking tissue
[23]
HFSS
Polyacrylamide, scalp
phantom, saline,
[27]
IE3D
Liquid mimicking tissue
[21]
HFSS
dental model
[30]
NA
Testing rig
[6]
IE3D
Water, sugar, and salt
[22]
IE3D
NO
[7]
NA
Child, Virtual Family
[32]
HFSS
Anechoic chamber
[12]
HFSS
The three-layered lossy
human tissue model
[25]
CST
human body phantom
[33]
IE3D
NO
III. Antenna Design Strategy and Results
The initially proposed antenna is shown in Fig. 2. with overall
dimensions of 10×16 ×1.59 mm3. The simulations in this
section are done using CST software, considering tissue layers,
skin, fat, and muscle in the body model. Meander lines are used
in the design to have the capability of extending the electrical
length of the radiator and hence, achieving resonance at lower
frequencies, in addition to frequency tunability. FR4, with
permittivity of 4.7, is chosen for the substrate. The different
antenna parameters are listed in Table 5. A detailed parametric
study is presented in this section to show the steps taken to reach
the dual-band antenna suitable for biomedical applications with
a miniaturized size. The parametric study includes varying the
length of the meander line, adding monopoles, varying the
width of the meander line, and varying the spacing between the
meander lines. Mathematical functions relating to the length of
the radiator and the operating frequency of the antenna are also
derived. The parametric study is done to reach dual-band
operation at low-frequency bands, suitable for biomedical
applications, with miniaturized total dimensions.
III.I Varying the Length of the Meander Line
The first parametric study of the proposed design done on
changing the length of the radiator. Several simulations have
been performed while varying the number of meander line arms
from 6 to 32, in a step of 1 additional arm per simulation Fig.
3. shows the obtained reflection coefficient simulation results
for most of the cases studied in Fig. 4. shows the value of the
resonance frequency as a function of the total length of the
meander line antenna. As can be seen, as the length increases,
the resonance frequency decreases. This relation can be
modelled using the following equation:
𝑓 = 2.76 − 0.006 ∗ 𝐿
Where 𝑓 is the resonance frequency of the antenna, and 𝐿 is the
total length of the meander line antenna.
International Journal of Engineering Research and Technology. ISSN 0974-3154, Volume 12, Number 12 (2019), pp. 2938-2946
© International Research Publication House. http://www.irphouse.com
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It is observed that at (18) meandered line, which is equivalent
to 157.6 mm, three resonant frequencies can be achieved, as
shown in Fig. 5. Two of these frequencies, 1.4 GHz (WMTS)
and 2.4 GHz (ISM), are suitable for biomedical applications.
Fig. 2. Patch antenna
Table 5. Antenna dimensions.
Parameter
Dimension (mm)
Width
10
Length
16
Thickness
1.56
a
2.50
b
2.60
c
0.2
e
0.2
k
9.20
z
1
d
1.4
g
15
Fig. 3. Simulated reflection coefficient results for different
meander line length varying from L6 ~49.6 mm and L32 ~
283.6 mm.
Fig. 4. The relation between the first resonance frequency and
different meandered line length.
Fig. 5. S11 for18 meandered line length.
III.II Adding Monopoles
The second parametric study is adding monopoles to the
proposed design, intending to further decrease the lowest
resonance frequency. Three cases are studied: Case 1 having the
added monopole to the left of the meander line, as shown in Fig.
6(a), Case 2 having the added monopole to the right of the
meander line, as shown in Fig. 6(b), and Case 3 having both
monopoles, at the left and right of the meander line, as shown
in Fig. 6(c). Each monopole is extended to the edge of the
substrate. In a later study in this section, the length of the
monopoles is also varied for optimization purposes. Simulating
the three different cases, Fig. 7 shows a comparison of the
simulated reflection coefficient results for the three different
cases studied. Inspecting the graphs, it can be clearly seen that
adding both monopoles, to the right and left of the meander
lines, achieves a very low resonance frequency compared to the
size of the antenna, suitable for operation in the MICS band.
In a further study, Case 3 has been also varied by changing the
length of the two monopoles through three different values:
quarter-length, half-length, and full-length of 9.2 mm when the
monopoles are extended to the edge, as shown in Fig. 8. Fig. 9
shows the simulated reflection coefficient results of all the three
different values of monopoles length, compared to the case of
having no added length. It can be seen that the full-length
monopoles achieve the lowest resonance frequency.
The same parametric study on the length of the meandered lines
antennas is done here, with the two added monopoles extended
to the edge of the substrate. Fig. 10 shows the simulated
reflection coefficient results while varying the length of the
meander line. It can be seen that the lowest frequency ranges
from 0.3 GHz to 1.44 GHz. Fig. 11 shows the value of the
lowest resonance frequency as a function of the total length of
the meander line, taking into account the presence of two fully
extended monopoles. This relation can be described as follows:
0
1
2
3
050 100 150 200 250 300
Frequency GHZ
length mm
International Journal of Engineering Research and Technology. ISSN 0974-3154, Volume 12, Number 12 (2019), pp. 2938-2946
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𝑓 = 1.2 − 0.003 ∗ 𝐿
where 𝑓 is the resonance frequency, and 𝐿 is the full length of
the meander line.
It is observed that at a meander line length of 193.6 mm, two
resonant frequencies can be achieved, as shown in Fig. 12. Two
of these frequencies are suitable for biomedical applications, at
405 MHz (MICS band) and 1.3 GHz (WMTS band).
Fig. 6. (a) left monopole antenna, (b) right monopole
antenna,(c) left and right monopoles.
Fig. 7. Comparison of the simulated reflection coefficient
results for the different studied cases.
Fig. 8. (a) no monopole, (b) quarter monopole, (c) half
monopole, (d) full monopole.
Fig. 9.Different monopole length antennas results.
Fig. 10. The simulated reflection coefficient results of Case 3
with fully extended monopole while varying the length of the
meander line.
Fig. 11. The relation between the first frequency and different
meandered line length for the antenna with two monopoles.
Fig. 12. Simulated reflection coefficient for a total meandered
line length of 193.6 mm with two monopoles.
Fig. 13. Different line thickness antennas, (a)0.2mm, (b)
0.4mm, (c) 0.6 mm.
a
b
c
d
z
eg
k
Width
Length
Thickness
(a)
a
b
c
d
z
eg
k
Width
Length
Thickness
(b)
(a)
(b)
(c)
a
b
c
d
z
eg
k
Width
Length
Thickness
(d)
0
0.5
1
1.5
2
050 100 150 200 250 300
Frequency GHZ
Length mm
a
b
c
dz
eg
k
Width
Length
Thickness
(a)
a
b
c
dz
eg
k
Width
Length
Thickness
F
(b)
a
b
c
dz
eg
k
Width
Length
Thickness
F
(c)
International Journal of Engineering Research and Technology. ISSN 0974-3154, Volume 12, Number 12 (2019), pp. 2938-2946
© International Research Publication House. http://www.irphouse.com
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Fig. 14. The simulated reflection coefficient results for three
different meander line thickness values, 0.2. 0.4, and 0.6 mm.
III.III Varying the Width of the Meander Line
The third parametric study is done by varying the width of the
meander line Fig. 13. Three different thickness values are
studied: 0.2, 0.4, and 0.6 mm, as shown in Fig. 14. shows the
simulated reflection coefficient results of the three different
thickness cases. It is seen that using a thinner width of 0.2 mm,
better resonance is achieved at the desired lower frequency.
III.IV Varying Line Spacing
The fourth parametric study is done by varying the separation
between the meandered line arms for three different values: 0.2,
0.4, and 0.6 mm, as shown in Fig. 15. Fig. 16 compares the
simulated reflection coefficient for the three cases. It can be
observed that as the separation between the arms increases, the
resulting resonance frequency decreases. More specifically, at
0.6 mm spacing between the meandered lines, a dual-band at
0.4 GHz (MICS band), and 1.3 GHz (WMTS band) achieved.
To further optimize the reflection coefficient results at this
thickness, especially at the 1.3 GHz resonance frequency, the
start of the added monopoles has been shifted through the length
of the feed line, with optimized results seen when the
monopoles are connected at the end of the line feed, as shown
in Fig. 17. The resulting optimized reflection coefficient for
this case is shown in Fig. 18.
Fig. 15. Different thickness spacing between meandered lines
for (0.2, 0.4 and 0.6 mm) antennas.
Fig. 16. Different thickness spacing between meandered lines
for (0.2,0.4 and 0.6mm) antennas results
Fig. 17. Shift the point where the monopoles connected
with the feed.
Fig. 18. S11 for 0.6 mm spacing where the monopoles
moved.
Finally, checking the reported design in Table 3, the
significance of the proposed work is clearly seen in terms of the
major size reduction at the very low operating frequency, with
dual-band of operation. None of the studied antennas collect the
advantages of planar structure, design simplicity, and compact
size in one package as the proposed antenna in this work.
IV. Fabrication and Testing
To further validate the proposed design strategy, one of the
designed antennas in previous sections is fabricated and tested
in vitro. The proposed antenna with 13 meandered line arms,
shown in Fig. 19(d), with a total meander line length of 112.6
mm, has been fabricated. The chosen antenna achieves dual-
a
b
c
dz
eg
k
Width
Length
Thickness
(a)
a
b
c
dz
eg
k
Width
Length
Thickness
(b)
a
b
c
dz
eg
k
Width
Length
Thickness
(c)
a
b
c
dz
eg
k
Width
Length
Thickness
(a)
a
b
ceg
k
Width
Length
Thickness
(b)
International Journal of Engineering Research and Technology. ISSN 0974-3154, Volume 12, Number 12 (2019), pp. 2938-2946
© International Research Publication House. http://www.irphouse.com
2943
resonance, at 1.8 and 2.4 GHz bands, with the 2.4 GHz
frequency widely used frequency for biomedical applications.
To test the antenna in an environment with electric properties
close to those of human tissues, the antenna has been inserted
into pork meat, as shown in Fig. 19(b). Fig. 20. Shows a
comparison of the simulated reflection coefficient results and
the measured one in vitro. As can be seen, the simulated and
measured results are in agreement, with some minor differences
in the value of the reflection coefficient as a result of soldering,
fabrication, and tissue effect. Fig. 21, Fig. 22. Show the
simulated gain pattern plots at 1.8 GHz and 2.4 GHz,
respectively, with a total gain of 2.54 and 3.39 dBi.
20 a 20 b
20 c 20 d
Fig. 19. Antenna fabrication and measurements, (a) fabricated
antenna. (b) measurements. (c) size. (d) antenna design.
Fig. 20. Comparison of the simulated and measured reflection
coefficients results.
Fig. 21. Radiation pattern at 1.8 GHZ.
Fig. 22. Radiation pattern at 2.4 GHZ.
V. CONCLUSION
In this paper, the design of single and dual-band antennas of a
miniaturized size suitable for biomedical applications is
investigated. The article starts with an overview of the design
challenges of implanted antennas, investigating the different
techniques that can be used to reduce the size for proper
insertion inside the body. A set of miniaturized meandered line
antennas is developed and simulated. A parametric study has
been illustrated that studies the effect of several antenna
parameters on the radiation characteristics of the overall
antenna. Several studies have been done with an aim to achieve
multi-band resonance at a very small antenna size, such as the
total length of the meandered lines, line width, spacing, and
monopoles addition. The addition of monopoles further
decreased the lower resonance frequency to around 360 MHz.
Two mathematical models have been developed to capture the
relationship between the antenna electrical length and the
resonance frequency in two different antenna designs. The
presented design procedure, along with the proposed
mathematical models, can be used to design any antenna with a
-40
-20
0
0.00 1.00 2.00 3.00
S11 dB
Frequency GHZ
Red ----Measurments
Blue ---- Simulation
International Journal of Engineering Research and Technology. ISSN 0974-3154, Volume 12, Number 12 (2019), pp. 2938-2946
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2944
miniaturized size operating at any desired frequency between
363 MHz and 2.74 GHz. A proposed antenna operating at 1.8
and 2.4 GHz has been also fabricated and tested in vitro using
pork meat, where good analogy has been seen between the
simulated and measured reflection coefficient results.
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