The design of a compact metamaterial ultra-wideband (UWB) antenna with a goal towards application in microwave imaging systems for detecting unwanted cells in human tissue, such as in cases of breast cancer, heart failure and brain stroke detection is proposed. This proposed UWB antenna is made of four metamaterial unit cells, where each cell is an integration of a modified split ring resonator (SRR), capacitive loaded strip (CLS) and wire, to attain a design layout that simultaneously exhibits both a negative magnetic permeability and a negative electrical permittivity. This design results in an astonishing negative refractive index that enables amplification of the radiated power of this reported antenna, and therefore, high antenna performance. A low-cost FR4 substrate material is used to design and print this reported antenna, and has the following characteristics: thickness of 1.6 mm, relative permeability of one, relative permittivity of 4.60 and loss tangent of 0.02. The overall antenna size is 19.36 mm × 27.72 mm × 1.6 mm where the electrical dimension is 0.20 λ × 0.28 λ × 0.016 λ at the 3.05 GHz lower frequency band. Voltage Standing Wave Ratio (VSWR) measurements have illustrated that this antenna exhibits an impedance bandwidth from 3.05 GHz to more than 15 GHz for VSWR < 2 with an average gain of 4.38 dBi throughout the operating frequency band. The simulations (both HFSS and computer simulation technology (CST)) and the measurements are in high agreement. A high correlation factor and the capability of detecting tumour simulants confirm that this reported UWB antenna can be used as an imaging sensor.
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