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Microstrip Antennas: Broadband Radiation Patterns Using Photonic Crystal Substrates
The purpose of this thesis is to investigate a novel method to develop broadband microstrip (patch) antennas using substrates containing photonic crystals. Photonic crystals are a class of periodic dielectric, metallic, or composite structures that when introduced to an electromagnetic signal can exhibit a forbidden band of frequencies (or bandgap) in which the incident signal destructively interferes and thus is unable to propagate. It is proposed that such photonic crystals will reduce surface waves and prohibit the formation of substrate modes, which are commonly known inhibitors of patch antenna designs. By reducing or eliminating the effects of these electromagnetic inhibitors with photonic crystals, a broadband response can be obtained from inherently narrowband antennas. In addition, it is also proposed that the behavior of the photonic crystals will lead to a reduction in pattern sidelobes resulting in improvements in radiation pattern front-to-back ratio and overall antenna efficiency. This research is verified through analytical simulations and experimental investigations in the Virginia Tech anaechoic chamber.