A broadband artificial material based on meander-line (ML) structures is proposed for enhancing the gain of printed end-fire antennas. The ML based material with an effective index of refraction greater than 1 behaves as a dielectric lens in improving the directivity of an end-fire antenna. The electric field intensity distribution can be changed by the material, resulting in a more directional emission. Simulated results indicate extending the length or width of the material can lead to more significant gain enhancement without destroying the impedance bandwidth of the antenna. Three printed end-fire antennas with and without material loading are fabricated and measured. The measurements show that end-fire antennas loaded with two and four rows of ML structures can obtain gain increments of 0.6-3.6 dB and 1.2-5.7 dB, respectively, and that the radiation patterns are narrowed in both E- and H-planes over the whole operating band (6-11.5 GHz).
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