High gain/bandwidth off-chip antenna loaded with metamaterial unit-cell impedance matching circuit for sub-terahertz near-field electronic systems

Sci Rep. 2022 Oct 25;12(1):17893. doi: 10.1038/s41598-022-22828-3.


An innovative off-chip antenna (OCA) is presented that exhibits high gain and efficiency performance at the terahertz (THz) band and has a wide operational bandwidth. The proposed OCA is implemented on stacked silicon layers and consists of an open circuit meandering line. It is shown that by loading the antenna with an array of subwavelength circular dielectric slots and terminating it with a metamaterial unit cell, its impedance bandwidth is enhanced by a factor of two and its gain on average by about 4 dB. Unlike conventional antennas, where the energy is dissipated in a resistive load, the technique proposed here significantly reduces losses. The antenna is excited from underneath the antenna by coupling RF energy from an open-circuited feedline through a slot in the ground-plane of the middle substrate layer. The feedline is shielded with another substrate layer which has a ground-plane on its opposite surface to mitigate the influence of the structure on which the antenna is mounted. The antenna has the dimensions 12.3 × 4.5 × 0.905 mm3 and operates across the 0.137-0.158 THz band corresponding to a fractional bandwidth of 14.23%. Over this frequency range the average measured gain and efficiency are 8.6 dBi and 77%, respectively. These characteristics makes the proposed antenna suitable for integration in sub-terahertz near-field electronic systems such as radio frequency identification (RFID) devices with high spatial resolution.