R & D projects       
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R & D projects
IMST is or was involved into several public R&D projects, which are focusing LTCC. Some activities are supported by the German government others by the European Community under the frame of BriteEuram or Esprit. With the participation in these research projects, IMST has gained fundamental knowledge around LTCC. On the other hand basic development work has been carried out and published by IMST to support this promising technology. The following list summarizes the main results of the projects:

ActiveMultiFeed Integration of active controll circuits into the MultiFeed beam-forming network.
OK-Tech Verification of the KERAMIS-technology on-board of the TET-1 LEO satellite.
Keramis-Geo Ka-Band down-converter and switch matrix for Heinrich-Hertz communication GEO satellite.
Precision-Radar 77 GHz Radar technique to measure short distances with µm accuracy.
MultiFeed Beam forming network for multi-feed Ka-band reflector antennas.
Keramis-2 Ceramic microwave experimental circuits for in-orbit verification.
Easy-A Enablers for Ambient Services & Systems for 60GHz WLAN.
Santana Digital beam-forming patch array with 64 radiators.
Keramis Ceramic microwave technology and circuits.
Gaps GALILEO multi-path antenna.
Easton Ka-band power combiner/divider network and RF benchmark.
Ramp LTCC circuits, antennas, test structures, and 25GHz LMDS module.
4M Multifunctional LOS module at 29GHz and microwave test circuits.
Kansas Wilkinson dividers and Buttler matrix in LTCC.

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ActiveMultiFeed

The goal of the ActiveMultiFeed (AMF) project is to develop a reconfigurable power divider network for a Multiple-Feed per Beam (MFB) antenna feed network for Ka-band satellite communication applications. In contrast to conventional network the AMF will be smaller and weight reduced. The high complexity requires a combination of different circuit technologies. The core-cell will be again a comb structure made of LTCC (see MultiFeed). In different branches of the network active components will be integrated for phase and amplitude settings.

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OK-Tech

In OK-Tech the LTCC circuits of the KERAMIS-technology were verified in space. IMST was responsible for the "Synthesizer Experiment". Within 14 months starting from August 2012 this experiment was executed once a month. The measured results were evaluated and compared with the target data. During the entire operation time all circuits worked within the predefined tolerance values so that the project could be closed with great success. This mission was supported by DLR within the On-Orbit-Verification (OOV). The exploration satellite TET-1 is still in operation in space on its low-earth-orbit in 550km altitude.

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Keramis-Geo

KERAMIS-GEO aims to develop two experimental payloads for the In-Orbit-Verification on board of the Heinrich-Hertz communication satellite (H2-Sat). The first unit will be a down-converter and the second one a reconfigurable switch-matrix. Both circuits will operate in the communication Ka-band at 20 and 30 GHz. In a first phase of the project Engineering Qualification Models (EQM) will be build up and qualified. The Protoflight Models (PFM) will be realized in a second phase and are intended for integration into the H2-Sat followed by a longtime verification in Geostationary Orbit (GEO).

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A 77GHz high precision CW radar to measure the distance to a workpice with an accuracy in the µm range. The integrated Vivaldi antenna and the selected MMICs allow broadband operation, so that FMCW is also possible with this frontend module.

MultiFeed

Configurable Multi-Feeding System for Ka-Band Reflector Antennas in Satellite Communications
A German BMWI/DLR project (Apr. 09 - Mar. 11): MultiFeed stands for the design, manufacturing and characterization of a multilayer LTCC beam-forming network to excite the feed array of a high gain multi spot beam antenna for Ka-band multimedia services. Multi spot beam scenarios, covering the respective service areas by a so called four color beam topology seem to be the most suitable technology for this kind of satellite communication services.

Keramis-2

Ceramic Microwave Circuits for Satellite Communications - 2
A German BMWI/DLR project (Oct. 06 - Mar. 11): KERAMIS-2 stands for the continued R&D-activities of an industrial-academic consortium of partners experienced with the design, development, and fabrication of compact microwave modules based on the ceramic multilayer technology LTCC for satellite communications at Ka-band frequencies. Specific challenges of the project are: To control the high structural precision required for industrial components for space-based microwave applications - To balance fabrication issues and microwave performance, and - To demonstrate full space qualification. Specific flight experiments are under development, which shall be implemented on board of a test satellite and remote tested in space...
Easy-A

Enablers for Ambient Services & Systems
A German BMBF/DLR project (Jan. 2008 - Mar. 2011): The work of IMST GmbH comprises various contributions in the areas RF circuit fabrication technology on LTCC, antenna design, and system design (base band and radio channel) for the eventual demonstration of an „In-flight Entertainment“ (IFE) system on board an aircraft as an example of a broadband multimedia application.
Santana

Smart Antenna Terminal
A German BMWI/DLR project (2007 - 2010): The goal of SANTANA III is the development of new technologies for planar electronically steerable antennas for mobile applications, including satellite communications on ships, cars and airplanes. The project covers the research and development of innovative system architectures and new antenna concepts. A special focus of SANTANA is the creation of a flat electronically steerable antenna using digital beam forming at Ka band. Now in the third project phase, a new system architecture has been developed that can handle several thousand radiating elements in parallel. This innovative concept will be presented at the end of this project phase.
Keramis

Ceramic Microwave Circuits for Satellite Communications
A German BMBF/DLR project (Oct. 03 - Sep. 06): Keramis aims at the development of innovative and inexpensive components for future applications in multimedia satellite communications. The principle of operation and potential benefit for satellite-based systems will be demonstrated. The rationale of the project is to exploit the possibility of integrating passive and active components in LTCC multilayer strucrures, and by minimising the complexity of the semiconducting components. LTCC technology offers a number of benefits such as low-cost production and assembly, compact size and hermetic sealing, which are of utmost importance for satellite-based applications. 3 technological milestones for Ka-band satellite applications used for the down-link are under development:
1. Solid state power amplifier 2. Frequency synthesizer (VCO) 3. Reconfigurable 4x4 switch matrix
Gaps

Ultra Low Multi-Path Antennas
An ESA project (2003 - 2006): GAPS is the development of a dedicated planar antenna for GALILEO, the future European satellite-based positioning system, which is currently in its testing phase. The main application of the antenna is high accuracy positioning, such as required for geodetic applications. In the past, choke ring structures were used to reduce the effect of multi-path. These devices are usually bulky and rather heavy (around 5 kg). Yet, with the advent of new technologies in the microwave region, like Electronic Band Gap (EBG) materials, it becomes possible to design more compact and light-weight antenna front-ends. Here, the design of a planar antenna for GALILEO receivers based on EBG-technology is presented ...
Easton

Power-Divider-Networks with Integrated Antennas on Multilayer LTCC
A German BMBF/DLR project (Oct. 00 - Dec. 02): The LTCC activities of the KANSAS project are continued in EASTON: Buried power distribution networks in multilayer LTCC are under development. The divider network is feeding an antenna patch array. The main cell of each distribution network is the Wilkinson power divider with a buried screen printed resistor. An other important part of the project is the LTCC-RF-Benchmarking, where different LTCC material are tested up to 40 GHz under the same conditions ...
Ramp

Rapid Manufacture of Microwave and Power Modules
A Brite-Euram III Project (BE-97-4883, Oct. 98 - Sept. 01): Design, fabrication and characterization of microwave structures and circuits on multilayer LTCC materials; Fabrication and investigation of heat sinks with DMMA (duplex metal-metalloid alloy) material for power modules; Demonstrators: Power Tx/Rx module, Communication link module and High power regulator; operating frequencies up to 40 GHz ...
4M

Multifunctional Micro- & MM-Wave Modules
A German BMBF VDI/VDE-IT project (April 96 - Oct. 99): The prototype of a multifunctional LOS (Line of Sight) transceiver module has been developed for a frequency range of 27.5 to 29.5GHz. The highlights of this project are the advanced plastic technology for waveguide components like slotted waveguide antenna, power divider and diplexer, the multilayer PTFE board for intermediate frequency operation as well as the multilayer LTCC technology for the mm-wave module. This project demonstrates in an impressive way the combination and integration of the different technologies into one transceiver module ...
Kansas

Concepts for Active Antenna Arrays
A German BMBF/DLR project (July 98 - June 01), in task 3: Investigation of feeding networks in multilayer technologies for phased antenna arrays; realization of a concept on multilayer LTCC with a patch radiator array; operating frequencies up to 40 GHz ...
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