LTCC as a ceramic multilayer technology has a great potential for Microwave applications. The dielectrics (tapes) as well as the gold and silver conductors have the appropriate physical and electrical performance. In spite of being a very mature technology, LTCC has recently gone through large improvements in material development and has become available for communication equipment manufacturers through LTCC foundries. The competitive price of materials and production makes LTCC an ideal basis for System in a Package (SiP) and Multi Chip Modules (MCM). LTCC circuits can consist of a nearly arbitrary number of layers. Components can be integrated in cavities. LTCC substrates are rugged, hermetic and environ-mentally stable. These features and further favourable characteristics are utilized to develop compact and efficient modules for communication and sensor applications. This tutorial is intended to give the participants an understanding of the basics for a successful design and production of LTCC modules for microwave and RF applications.
Survey of LTCC Material Systems and Manufacturers
From a microwave point of view the exchangeability of LTCC systems is somewhat limited. This survey will help to identify potential material systems, manufacturers of LTCC circuits and second sources in an early stage of development. This information is particularly interesting for companies looking for production facilities to launch their own products and applications.
All LTCC process steps from tape casting to sintering will be explained. Different process alternatives will be introduced and discussed. A basic understanding of the relevance of these parameters helps to understand design rules and is essential for a successful design.
Applications in Telecommunication and Sensor Electronics
These applications will include elements like waveguides, transitions, filters, antennas and other passive components. The embedding of active circuits will be demonstrated with the example of an amplifier. LTCC BluetoothTM modules and two complete TX/RX-modules will be discussed to show virtues and opportunities as well as challenges of the LTCC-technology.
3D-Simulation and Test Methods
Multilayer RF modules demand sophisticated simulation tools to take the guesswork out of the design process. The analysis of 3-dimensional structures is accomplished by very elaborate procedures. Commercially available software will be introduced and demonstrated as device for the design of multilayered structures. This includes preparation and checking of artwork. A high level of automation is desirable to avoid errors transferring the design to production. Finally a method of benchmarking the RF-performance of LTCC material systems is explained.
Who should attend?
The tutorial is dedicated to engineers working in the development of RF and high frequency modules. It will give managers an understanding of this technology. Keywords for typical applications are: BluetoothTM, LMDS, ISM-Band Modules, Radar and Sensor Technology.
||1. Day: Unit 1 and 2
||2. Day: Unit 3 and 4
|1. Survey of LTCC Material Systems and Manufacturers
- Supplier of standard material systems
- LTCC materials (tapes and conductor pastes)
- Comparison of different substrate technologies
- "Design Rules" for LTCC
- Worldwide foundry services
|3. Applications in Communication and Sensor Electronics
- Passive components and integration techniques
- Planar antenna structures
- Integration of MMICs and chip devices
- Wireless modules (e.g. BluetoothTM)
- Transmit-/receive modules (e.g. LMDS)
- Sensor modules for RADAR applications
|2. LTCC Process Steps
- Overview about LTCC manufacturing process
- Conductor technologies for vias and waveguides
- Resistors and capacitors
- Lamination process
- Sintering (zero-shrink + unconstrained sintering)
- Post-fire process; assembly technology
- Inspection and characterization
- Advanced technologies to improve circuit properties
|4. 3D Simulation and Test Methods
- Overview about 3D simulation methods for multilayer circuits
- Simulation of standard and complex structures and verification
- LTCC - waveguides, transitions, feed-thrus
- Design of RF-components and -circuits in multilayer technology
- Test methods for LTCC material systems