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High Performance 3-Dimensional Hybrid-Integrated Switch Matrix for Ka-Band Satellite Communication Applications based on Ceramic Multilayer Technology
Keywords: Reconfigurable Switch Matrix, Microwave, Ka-Band Satellite Communication, Hybrid-integration, LTCC
Future applications in multimedia satellite communications demand innovative components at low weight, small size and high reliability. They should be variable in function and provide modular system design at low cost. A 4 x 4 reconfigurable switch matrix is described that incorporates low-temperature cofired ceramics (LTCC). This technology enables very compact system-on-chip modules, by double-sided integration of active and passive components. Employing single-pole four-throw switch MMICs, the topology of the embedded signal distribution involves 16 transmission lines, partially crossing, which accentuate the complexity of the device as well as the benefit of the multilayer technique. The specifically designed circuit elements comprise first and second level interconnections, several impedance matching stages with high structural precision (dimensions of 50 m), and a novel type of embedded transmission lines. High-resolution screen-printing techniques and optimised manufacturing processes facilitate efficient signal-routing capabilities and low RF-power losses. The electrical characterisation of a complete switching path reveals good RF-performance in the frequency range of 18 to 27 GHz, such as low reflection (|Sii| ~ -20 dB), moderate insertion loss at centre frequency (|Sij| ~ -6 dB), and high isolation (|Sij| < -50 dB). The measured results are correlated with the geometrical dimensions of individual circuit elements (waveguides, compensation structures, etc.), and the dielectric and conductive properties of the substrate and metallisation layers, respectively. The low weight (~20 g) and small size (2x2x0.2 inches) of the switch matrix indicate the advantages of this approach in terms of miniaturisation-factors of about 100 compared to conventional solutions. Space qualification and preparations for on-orbit verification of the applied technology are in progress.
Johannes F. Trabert, Ph.D. Student
Technical University Ilmenau
Ilmenau, Thuringia D-98693,
Germany


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