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Solderless Connection for Space Application: From DC to Microwave Frequency and Reliability Results
Keywords: solderless connection, space, reliability
DC or RF/microwave connection without brazing is possible through solderless connectors which operate with pressure contacts. This is more and more under consideration because of the easy mounting, easy rework ability of the connection and the capability to design very integrated solutions like it is required for satellite sub-assemblies. Even though not exhaustive, solderless connections can be divided in four main families : bent metal family , conductive elastomer family , pogo pin family , fuzz button family. Thales Alenia Space France (TAS -F) has been involved since a long time in solderless connector through the CIN::APSE® system. This technology offers exceptional mechanical and electrical performance. Custom made to meet specific needs, CIN::APSE® utilizes a multipoint contact that can be as small as 0.8mm in height, comes in 1mm centers, and can handle signal frequencies greater than 20 GHz. The basic button contact configuration consists of a single button installed in a patented “hourglass” design. The hourglass cavity retains the CIN::APSE® contact securely. Typically 75µm protrudes from the top and the bottom of the insulator. TAS-F used this system in two areas : as a very integrated DC connector for the biasing of active devices in the frame of a Focal Array Fed Reflector antenna (with reliability tests according to space requirement), as a 3D microwave interconnection between 2 printed circuit boards showing excellent features (0.15dB loss at 10GHz and 0.3dB at 20GHz ). This paper will present : an overview of the current solderless connections , a first example of the CIN::APSE system for biasing of active devices, a second example for microwave 3D transition (design, manufacturing & test), reliability results (thermal cycles, humidity tests, mechanical tests , ...) showing the influence of the board plating on the contact area.
Philippe Monfraix, Engineer
Toulouse 31037,

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