Confining Microwaves On Metal Surfaces

Microwave communications and electronics is one of the most useful applications of electromagnetic radiation in everyday life. Apart from the obvious microwave appliance they are also used in frequency modulated radio and television. In fact any device that uses radio waves normally contains an integrated circuit that contains a microwave component. It was inevitable that as these circuit boards grew gradually smaller and smaller that eventually the conducting strips would be forced to lie parallel within a single plane. This results in something called crosstalk which is where electrical communications end up overlapping and the signal is unhelpfully transferred and possibly muddled. This is worsened when bends or right angle turns in the conduction channels occur as these magnify the radiation loss and cause it to become a severe nuisance. In extreme cases this radiation loss could damage the circuit or at least make it useless by disrupting the accuracy of the nearby signals.

In order to get around this problem the suggested method is to engineer the surface of the channel in order to prevent radiation escape. This can be achieved by returning to our favourite oscillating electrons: surface plasmons. These plasmons are able to help guide an electromagnetic wave along the metal surface. This means that the microwaves as a part of the circuit are held in a greater confinement and so are less inclined to be radiated. Through a series of thorough experiments it was clearly shown that creating these artificial surface plasmon polaritons has a distinct effect on reducing radiation loss at least around bends of small radius. This improvement could have drastic effects on the efficiency of circuits and on the future possibilities of integrated microwave circuits.

Paper links: Reduction of radiation loss at small-radius bend using spoof surface plasmon polariton transmission line

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