AGH University Researchers Model a Low-Cost Microwave Vector System
A wide scope of research conducted at the AGH University of Science and Technology in Kraków, Poland is a result of the contemporary structure that has been shaped over the last 100 years. AGH UST’s ambition is to stay ahead of the present, resulting in many innovative solutions in different areas. Research activity comprises eight subject areas, including information technologies, new materials and technologies, environment and climatic changes, energy and its resources, mining, electrical and mechanical engineering, exact and natural sciences, and socio-economic sciences and humanities.
The Design Challenge
The aim of the design project was to develop a novel low-cost microwave vector system dedicated to monitoring the properties of liquid samples, for example, estimation of fat content in ultra-high temperature (UHT) processed milk. The research group was challenged to design a system composed of a differentially-fed coupled-line sensor and five-port correlator that would enable measurement of both magnitude and phase of a signal dependent on the material under test (MUT).
A prototype of the microwave vector system was designed using NI AWR Design Environment, specifically Microwave Office circuit design software, to operate at the frequency f0 = 2.4 GHz. The prototype was then manufactured and experimentally verified. The measurement results verified the increased sensitivity of the proposed sensor on the dielectric materials in comparison to the methods described in literature. Moreover, the proposed sensor has been utilized for measurements of several milk samples with various fat content and the obtained results have proven the industrial application of the presented approach.
The researchers used Microwave Office to design two main parts of the measurement system: a coupled-line sensor providing enhanced sensitivity on the liquid sample and a five-port correlator allowing for measurement of both magnitude and phase of a signal dependent on the MUT.
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For more information about this application, the original paper that is the inspiration for this success story can be accessed by IEEE members at ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/7995091