Microwave Surface Waves on Metasurfaces with Planar Discontinuities
Berry, Simon James
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
The work presented within this thesis details the experimental investigation of the surface waves supported on metasurfaces. Particular attention has been given to the reflection of these surface waves from planar discontinuities associated with these metasurfaces. Various experimental techniques have been developed throughout this work to characterise surface wave supporting metasurfaces. These include a new technique for measuring the dispersion of surface waves supported on metasurfaces, characterisation of the near-field associated with the surface waves, a device for launching planar phase front surface waves and finally a technique for measuring the surface wave reflection coefficient. The dispersion of surface waves on a square array of square cross-section metal pillars has been fully characterised and compared to FEM modelling. The results show that a family of surface waves may be supported by pillar or crossed slit structures rather than just holes even though there is now no lowest cut-off frequency. A family of TM surface modes have been shown to exist with dispersions which asymptote to frequencies defined by the pillar heights (slit depth) and the refractive index of the material filling the slits. Primarily this work focussed on the surface wave properties associated with a square array of square metal patches on a dielectric coated ground plane and a Sievenpiper `mushroom' metasurface. The amplitude reflection coefficient of these surface waves has been studied for three distinct systems: Firstly for surface waves incident upon the termination of a these metasurfaces to free space, secondly for surface waves incident upon the interface between a dielectric coated and uncoated metasurface and thirdly for surface waves incident on the boundary between two metaurfaces. The reflection coefficient of surface waves incident upon the termination of the metasurface to free space is found to increase significantly with the confinement of the surface mode. This confinement, and therefore the form of the reflection coefficient, is significantly different for the two metasurfaces considered due to their dispersions. This increase in the reflection coefficient is caused by both the momentum mismatch of the surface wave compared to the freely propagating modes and the different field distributions of the two modes. The reflection coefficient of surface waves incident upon the boundary between a coated and uncoated metasurface has been experimentally characterised for the metal patch array and Sievenpiper `mushroom' metasurfaces. It is shown that the addition of a thin, significantly subwavelength, dielectric overlayer onto the metasurface vastly perturbs the surface wave dispersion. The reflection coefficient of the surface waves is found to depend on the dispersion of the mode supported on the coated and uncoated metasurface and the overlayer thickness. Most noticeably the thickness of the overlayer, by comparison to the surface wave decay length, has a significant effect on scattering to free space associated with the surface wave reflection. The final system considered was designed to investigate the impedance approximation, often used to describe metasurfaces, and found it to be an incomplete description of the surface waves supported on the metasurfaces used within this study. In the impedance approximation the two surfaces considered are said to be `impedance matched` at certain frequencies. It is demonstrated that the failure of the impedance approximation to accurately describe this system is due to the behaviour of the electric field within the metasurfaces. These are not analytically described in the impedance approximation and are required for an accurate description of the surface waves supported on these metasurfaces.
PhD in Physics