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Divider & Combiner Networks
IMST offers design and manufacturing of power distribution networks. This is not restricted to space applications even if the examples below show the developments for satellite earth observation and mulitmedia communication. These network technologies are suitable to be used in other applications, too. If you are interested in a specific divider or combiner network, you may specify your requirements and discuss them with our designer team. These are the highlights of the networks below:
  • Frequencies: L-Band, X-Band and Ka-Band
  • Typ. divider ratios: binary: 1:4, 1:16, 1:32; non-binary: 1:7
  • Mulitlayer Substrates: LTCC, PTFE, PTFE/CFRP, Syntactic-Foam/CFRP
  • RF-Interfaces: SMP, GPO, SMA
  • IMST is/was component supplier for the SAR satellites TerraSAR-X, TanDEM-X and TerraSAR-L

Artwork of TerraSAR-X and TerraSAR-L Satellites,
Courtesy and Copyright of EADS-Astrium

The use of active phased antenna arrays always requires power distribution networks as a part of Beam Forming Networks (BFN). In this area IMST has developed demanding technologies for three different missions in satellite SAR earth observation and multimedia communication. The basic idea behind the three concepts is the use of binary power distribution trees utilizing Wilkinson divider/combiner modules. The networks differ in particular in the application frequencies, the substrate technology as well as housing technique. They are characterized by excellent amplitude and phase balance, port-to-port isolation as well as thermal stability. All networks utilize standard materials in reliable manufacturing processes. The high frequency properties of the components (transitions, divider/combiner, shielding/radiation, matching ...) have been developed and optimised by using accurate 3D field simulation based upon Finite Difference Time Domain (FDTD) method.

In different projects power divider/combiner networks have been designed, manufactured and characterised in X-, and L- and Ka-band. The following list summarizes the projects and the main properties of the networks:

  1. TerraSAR-X (LEO, Earth Observation): Flight Modules for EADS-Astrium and DLR/BMBF (Germany)
    • Power Divider @ 9.65 GHz (X-Band)
    • 1 : 32 Divider Network: 70 cm x 7.2 cm
    • Single-Layer PTFE Board (RT6002)
    • Aluminium housing includes shielding channels and SMA connector interfaces


  2. TerraSAR-L (LEO, Earth Observation) Pre-Development for EADS-Astrium (GB) and ESA-ESTEC
    • Power Divider @ 1.26 GHz (L-Band)
    • 3 x (1 : 7) Divider Networks: 120 cm x 20 cm
    • Multilayer PTFE Board (RT6002)
    • CFRP laminates for thermal and mechanical stability
    • SMA and GPO connector interfaces


  3. EASTON-Ka (Multimedia, Communication) Demonstrator for German Space Agency (DLR)
    • Power Divider @ 19 GHz (Ka-Band, Down-Link)
    • 2 x (1 : 4) Divider Networks: 6.5 cm x 3.5 cm
    • Multilayer LTCC Substrate (DuPont 951) with buried screen printed resistors
    • Gold plated DISPAL Housing with GPO interfaces


  4. VERSA (Multimedia, Communication) Demonstrator for German Space Agency (DLR)
    • Power Divider @ 19 GHz (Ka-Band, Down-Link)
    • 1 : 16 Divider Network: 26 cm x 10 cm
    • Syntactic-Foam/CFRP (here: Syntactic-Foam/FR4) Multi-Layer Substrate
    • SMP Interfaces


  5. MultiFeed (Multimedia, Communication) Demonstrator for German Space Agency (DLR)
    • Power Divider @ 30 GHz (Ka-Band, Up-Link)
    • 1 : 7 Divider Network: 2.2 cm x 1.9 cm
    • Multilayer LTCC Substrate (DuPont 943 + 9k7) with buried screen printed resistors
    • mini-SMP connectors


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# References
WWW Infoterra
Flyer VERSA_Flyer
[25] R. Kulke, D. Köther, P. Uhlig J. Kassner, A. Lauer, M. Rittweger: "Technologies for reliable Power Distribution Networks in SAR Earth Observation and Multimedia Communication Satellites", 28th ESA Antenna Workshop on Space Antenna Systems and Technologies, Noordwijk, The Netherlands, 31 May - 3 June 2005
[19] R. Kulke, J. Kassner, G. Möllenbeck, M. Rittweger, P. Waldow: "Ka-Band Power-Distribution Networks on Multilayer LTCC for Broadband Satellite Multimedia Applications", EuMC, Workshop WS-8: "Ceramic based Microwave Circuits", Proceedings pp. 17-20, 6. October 2003, Munich
[17] J. Kassner, R. Kulke, P. Uhlig, M., Rittweger, P. Waldow, R., Münnich, H. Thust: "Highly Integrated Power Distribution Networks on Multilayer LTCC for Ka-band Multiple-Beam Phased Array Antennas", IMAPS Nordic Conference, Proceedings pp. 51-54, 21.-24. September 2003, Espoo, Finland
[9] R. Kulke, W. Simon, G. Möllenbeck, J. Kassner, P. Uhlig, S. Holzwarth, P. Waldow: "Power Distribution Networks in Multilayer LTCC for Microwave Applications", Proceedings of the International Symposium on Microelectronics (IMAPS), pp. 321-324, Baltimore, October 2001


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