Planar Transmission Line Method for Characterization of Printed Circuit Board Dielectrics


An effective approach to characterize frequency-dispersive sheet materials over a wide RF and microwave frequency range based on planar transmission line geometries and a genetic algorithm is proposed. S-parameters of a planar transmission line structure with a sheet material under test as a substrate of this line are measured using a vector network analyzer (VNA). The measured S-parameters are then converted to ABCD matrix parameters. With the assumption of TEM/quasi-TEM wave propagation on the measured line, as well as reciprocity and symmetry of the network, the complex propagation constant can be found, and the corresponding phase constant and attenuation constant can be retrieved. Attenuation constant includes both dielectric loss and conductor loss terms. At the same time, phase term, dielectric loss and conductor loss can be calculated for a known transmission line geometry using corresponding closed-form analytical or empirical formulas. These formulas are used to construct the objective functions for approximating phase constants, conductor loss and dielectric loss in an optimization procedure based on a genetic algorithm (GA). The frequency-dependent dielectric properties of the substrate material under test are represented as one or a few terms following the Debye dispersion law. The parameters of the Debye dispersion law are extracted using the GA by minimizing the discrepancies between the measured and the corresponding approximated loss and phase terms. The extracted data is verified by substituting these data in full-wave numerical modeling of structures containing these materials and comparing the simulated results with experimental.


Electrical and Computer Engineering

Research Center/Lab(s)

Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) Laboratory

Keywords and Phrases

ABCD Matrix; Attenuation Constants; Closed Form; Conductor Loss; Dispersion Law; Empirical Formulas; Frequency-Dependent; Numerical Modeling; Objective Functions; Optimization Procedures; Phase Constants; Planar Transmission Lines; Propagation Constant; S-Parameters; Sheet Material; Simulated Results; Substrate Material; TEM Waves; Transmission Line; Vector Network Analyzers, Bandpass Filters; Data Flow Analysis; Dielectric Devices; Dielectric Materials; Dispersion (Waves); Dispersions; Electric Lines; Electric Network Analysis; Electric Network Analyzers; Genetic Algorithms; Optimization; Printed Circuit Boards; Printed Circuit Manufacture; Scattering Parameters; Transmission Line Theory; Dielectric Losses

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)


Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


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© 2010 EMW Publishing, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

02 Jul 2010