Surface impedance

At high frequencies, the current is almost confined to a very thin sheet at the surface of the conductor which is used in many applications.

The  surface impedance may be defined as the ratio of the tangential component of the electric field \overrightarrow{E_{tan}} at the surface of the conductor to the current density (linear) \overrightarrow{J_{s}} which flows due to this electric field.

given as Z_{s} (or) \eta _{s} = \frac{\overrightarrow{E_{tan}}}{\overrightarrow{J_{s}}}.

\overrightarrow{E_{tan}}   is the Electric field strength parallel to and at the surface of the conductor.

and \overrightarrow{J}  is the total linear current density which flows due to \overrightarrow{E_{tan}}.

The \overrightarrow{J_{s}} represents the total conduction per meter width flowing in this sheet.

Let us consider a conductor of the type plate, is placed at the surface y=0 and the current distribution in the y-direction is given by 


Assume that the depth of penetration (\delta) is very much less compared with the thickness of the conductor.

J_{s}= \int_{0}^{\infty } \overrightarrow{J}.\overrightarrow{dy}

J_{s}= \int_{0}^{\infty } J_{o}e^{-\gamma y}dy

J_{s}= J_{o}(e^{-\gamma y})_{0}^{\infty }

J_{s}= \frac{J_{o}}{\gamma }

from ohm’s law \overrightarrow{J_{o}} = \sigma \overrightarrow{E_{tan}}  

E = \frac{J_{o}}{\sigma } .

then  \eta _{s} = \frac{\gamma }{\sigma } .

Z_{s}  (or)  \eta _{s} = \frac{\gamma }{\sigma } .

we know that \gamma = \sqrt{j\omega \mu (\sigma +j\omega \epsilon )}  

for good conductors \sigma > > \omega \epsilon .

then \gamma \approx \sqrt{j\omega \mu \sigma } 

\eta _{s} = \frac{\gamma }{\sigma } = \sqrt{\frac{j\omega \mu }{\sigma }} .

therefore the surface impedance of a plane good conductor which is very much thicker than the skin depth is equal to the characteristic impedance of the conductor.

This impedance is also known s input impedance of the conductor when viewed as transmission line conducting energy into the interior of metal.

when the thickness of the plane conductor is not greater compared to the depth of penetration , reflection of wave occurs at the back surface of the conductor.




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Author: Lakshmi Prasanna Ponnala

Completed M.Tech in Digital Electronics and Communication Systems and currently working as a faculty.