The Technical University of Cartagena

UPCT Students Design a Ku-Band Multiplexer
The NI AWR Design Environment platform enabled our team to reduce design time by using equivalent circuit optimizations rather than longer full 3D simulations. Because we had been using the software in our engineering courses, there was no learning curve and we could begin designing immediately.
Alejandro Pons Abenza
PhD Research Student
The Technical University of Cartagena

UPCT Students Design a Ku-Band Multiplexer 

Company

The Technical University of Cartagena (UPCT) is the youngest technical university in Spain. This fact is contrasted, however, by its long history as a university in the engineering and business fields, as several of its faculties date back to the late 19th and early 20th-century. This unique status blends youth and tradition, making it a dynamic and innovative institution.

Challenge

Multiplexers, which are used for multiple RF channel separation/combination at the input/output of front ends, are a key part of communication satellite payloads. Their performance significantly impacts the overall satellite system. The waveguide technology that is commonly used has low-loss and high-power handling capability. The objective of this multiplexer design project was to employ a complex filter topology as channel filters for the multiplexer. Although many complex topologies are used for RF/microwave industry, the novelty of this design was the all-inductive technology that resulted in a simpler manufacturing process and faster design times.

Solution

The design team chose the NI AWR Design Environment platform, specifically Microwave Office circuit software, to design a three-channel, non-contiguous multiplexer at Ku-band (11 GHz) using a manifold configuration. The software was chosen because simulations and optimizations are quite fast. Defining and working with sub-circuits is also straightforward enough to develop a large-scale equivalent circuit model for any N-channel multiplexer. The team defined the channel filters (coupling matrix, frequency plan), set up the equivalent circuit in Microwave Office software, and then optimized the channel filters employing a stepped iterative process using the lengths of the stubs and the connections between junctions. They repeated this process until the design met desired specifications.

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