Development of tunable and miniature microwave filters for modern wireless communications
Due to the increasing demand for new wireless services and applications, the high level of integration and the coexistence of multi-standard (MS) or multi-band operations into a single device are becoming defining trends in designing microwave filters. This has driven considerable technological advances in reconfigurable/tunable and miniaturized filters. More specifically, reconfigurable/tunable filters that tune to different frequency bands instead of classical filter banks have great potential to significantly reduce the system size and complexity; while reducing the filter size becomes essential to achieve the highest degree of integration density in compact and portable wireless devices. In the light of this scenario, the objective of this dissertation is to develop the new design technologies, concepts and filtering configurations for tunable microstrip filters and compact passive microwave filters. To this aim, this dissertation is divided into two main parts. The first part (Part I) focuses on the designs of novel varactor-tuned microstrip filters with advanced performances. In this aspect, new topologies for realizing tunable lowpass and highpass filters are firstly developed. State-of-the-art performances, including wide tuning range, high selectivity with multiple transmission zeros, low insertion loss and compact size for all the tuning states are obtained in both of these filters. Secondly, two novel classes of tunable bandpass filters are presented. One of them is designed based on varactor-loaded parallel-coupled microstrip lines (PCML) and short-circuited stubs, which allows the lower passband edge together with two transmission zeros located around the lower passband skirt to be reconfigured separately. While the other tunable bandpass filter is constructed by the combination of tunable bandpass and lowpass filters, featuring both centre frequency and bandwidth tunabilities, as well as high selectivity with abundant transmission zeros. Furthermore, a new concept of tunable lossy filter is demonstrated, which attempts to achieve an equivalent high-Q tunable performance by using low-Q resonators. This concept makes the presented tunable combline filter interesting for some frequency-agile applications in which the low in-band loss variation and high selectivity are much desired while the absolute insertion loss can be a tradeoff. The second part (Part II) is devoted to the design of miniaturized passive microwave filters with improved characteristics. For this, the concept of artificial right-handed and left-handed transmission lines are applied to the signal interference filtering topology, which results in a compact circuit size and good out-of-band performance. In particular, for a further size reduction, such filter is implemented in the forms of multilayered structure by using liquid crystal polymer (LCP) technology. Additionally, another two types of miniaturized bandpass filters using stepped impedance resonators are demonstrated, which are implemented based on different fabrication processes (i.e. LCP bonded multilayer PCB technology and a standard planar PCB technology). Among their main features, the compact size, wide passband, broad stopband with multiple transmission zeros and circuit simplicity are highlighted. For all the proposed design techniques and filtering structures, exhaustive theoretical analyses are done, and design equations and guide rules are provided. Furthermore, all the proposed schemes and/or ideas have been experimentally validated through the design, implementation and measurement of different filters. The fabrication processes of multilayer technology utilized: liquid crystal polymer (LCP) technology and liquid crystal polymer (LCP) bonded multilayer printed circuit board (PCB) technology, are also demonstrated for reference. All of the results achieved in this dissertation make the proposed filters very attractive for their use in modern wireless communication systems.