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Measurement and Performance of Embedded LTCC Inductors Utilizing Full Tape Thickness Feature Conductors
Keywords: FTTF, Inductors, High-Q
This paper concentrates on the underlying theory, predicted performance, and measured performance of inductors have been produced in a unique manner that increases the cross-sectional area of the conductor. This is done in LTCC by using overlapping via punches to cut trenches in the green tape which are then filled with metal. The resulting features are the same thickness as the entire layer of tape as opposed to the .1-.2mil thickness of conventional printed LTCC traces. We show that such full tape thickness features, or FTTF, allow inductors to have higher performance than traditional designs. The 3-D conductor geometry reduces DC resistance. More importantly, it helps to compensate for high-frequency non-idealities such as skin effect, current crowding, and proximity effect that plague more conventional inductor design. It is thought that this will allow for a higher Q, lower SRF, and much larger L values than are possible for on-chip passive components. The ability to locate (comparatively) large features in the substrate directly below an IC makes this technology especially well suited for RF applications where even small distances from the chip can introduce unacceptable parasitics. It is also possible to mix conventional LTCC printing techniques with FTTF allowing for a mixture of inductors and capacitors. Two inductor variations have been fabricated and characterized. The measured results suggest that Qs of well over 100 are possible. Accurate measurements of such values require careful consideration of error sources and are discussed. Finally, a 2-pole filter utilizing FTTF LTCC inductors is discussed.
Adam Boutz, Graduate Research Assistant
Kansas State University
Manhattan, KS

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