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FKE UTM Seminar Series 2014/4: How Well Do You Know Your S-Parameters?

posted May 12, 2014, 6:27 AM by herman wahid   [ updated May 12, 2014, 6:28 AM ]

IEEE APMTTEMC joint Malaysia chapter and FKE UTM Seminar Series 2014/4:


Title: How Well Do You Know Your S-Parameters?

Date:14 Mei 2014 (Wednesday)

Time: 9.00 - 11.00 am

Venue: BKT 3 P16

Presenter: Prof Tapan Sarkar

President IEEE APS

University of Syracuse, USA



The purpose of this talk is to demonstrate that a recently published paper dealing with little known facts and some new results on transmission lines is due to an incomplete interpretation of the nonphysical artifacts resulting from a particular mathematical model for the S-parameters. These artifacts are not real and do not exist when a different form of the S-parameters are used. Thus, the first objective of this paper is to introduce the two different types of S-parameters generally used to characterize microwave circuits with lossy characteristic impedance. The first one is called the pseudo-wave, an extension of the conventional traveling wave concepts, and is useful when it is necessary to discuss the properties of a microwave network junction irrespective of the impedances connected to the terminals. However, one has to be extremely careful in providing a physical interpretation of the mathematical expressions as in this case the reflection coefficient can be greater than one, even for a passive load impedance and the transmission line is conjugately matched. Also, the power balance cannot be obtained simply from the powers associated with the incident and reflected waves. The second type of S-parameters is called the power wave scattering parameters. They are useful when one is interested in the power relation between microwave circuits connected through a junction. In this case, the magnitude of the reflection coefficient cannot exceed unity and the power delivered to the load is directly given by the difference between the powers associated with the incident and the reflected waves. Since this methodology deals with the reciprocal relations between powers from various devices this may be quite suitable for dealing with a pair of transmitting and receiving antennas where power reciprocity holds. This methodology is also applicable in network theory where the scattering matrix of a two port (or a multiport) can be defined using complex reference impedances at each of the ports without any transmission line being present, so that the characteristic impedances become irrelevant. Such a situation is typical in small signal microwave transistor amplifiers, where the analysis necessitates the use of complex reference impedances in order to study simultaneous matching and stability. However, for both the definition for the S-parameters, when the characteristic impedance or the reference impedance is complex, the scattering matrix need not be symmetric even if the network in question is reciprocal.

The second objective is to illustrate that when the characteristic impedance of the line or the reference impedances in question is real and positive, then both of them provide the same results. Finally, a general methodology with examples is presented to illustrate how the S-parameters can be computed for an arbitrary network without any a priori knowledge of its characteristic impedance.