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Full-Wave EM Characterization of LTCC Laminate Waveguides for mm-Wave Applications
Keywords: mmWave, LTCC, laminate waveguide
A critical component in mm-wave applications is the electromagnetic interconnect between devices. At mm-wave frequencies it is necessary to consider reducing the losses arising from that of using conventional transmission lines such as stripline and microstrip. An interconnect that offers comparatively lower loss connections at mm-wave frequencies is the laminate waveguide (LWG) constructed in low-temperature cofired ceramic (LTCC) technology. The LWG, which propagates a dominant TE10 wave mode, approximates a dielectrically filled rectangular waveguide where the top and bottom walls are pattern printing and the sidewalls of the waveguide are tightly spaced via fences. In this paper we characterize and quantify by full-wave analysis the required via density and construction of LTCC laminated waveguides (LWGs) for a given isolation requirement and frequency. We compare simulated losses of the LWG with stripline and microstrip for tradeoff analysis for frequencies above the cutoff frequency of the LWG. The impact on required design rules is discussed along with production challenges. We compare the option of staggering vias to reduce posting and quantify impact on isolation and propagation characteristics. The electromagnetic isolation afforded by a single via fence wall with advanced process capabilities is demonstrated by simulation to be better than 60 dB simulation in the W-band. We discuss process capability and quantify the impact of process variation on return loss for a simple 90-degree corner routing. For a more critical feature we discuss and quantify the impact of process variability on coupling through a slot between two LWGs.
Jerry Aguirre, Sr. Engineer
Kyocera America Inc.
San Diego, CA

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