It is shown that metal gratings can be used to improve the cross polarization of circularly-polarized aperture-coupled microstrip antennas. The metal gratings reduce edge diffraction from the finite-size grounded dielectric slab on which the antennas are printed. The edge diffraction is due to surface waves that can propagate in the grounded dielectric slab. The design of the metal grating is based on an analytical model, which results in a first-order estimation for the design of the metal grating structure. The model provides physical insight and appears to be accurate enough for the application. Using this model, a prototype was developed, consisting of a circularly-polarized 2×2 microstrip array with associated feeding network. Measurements show that the axial ratio can be reduced down to 1.75 dB within the beam width of the antenna.
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