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3-D Micro Electromagnetic Radio Frequency Systems (3D MERFS)
Keywords: RF Microsystems , 3D Integration, Wafer scale
The 3-D Micro Electromagnetic Radio Frequency Systems (3-D MERFS) program is intended to revolutionize the performance, cost, and form factor for advanced RF and MMW radar and communications systems, thereby fulfilling the unmet military & national security need for widely deployable high-performance multi-function MMW systems. Challenges include developing a new fabrication processes with new photoresist chemistry, permanent dielectric support techniques and robust monolithic 3-D metal deposition to achieve high aspect ratio rectacoax devices with surface roughness less than 50 nanometers. The program developed high performance 3-D RF Structures to meet isolation of <-60dB, packaging density of 250um, loss per cm of less than 0.2 dB, Hybrid coupler performance to less than 0.2db amplitude variation and less than 2 degree in phase variation and High Q resonators of greater than 800. The program has developed a 3-D Substrate Architecture which leverages a “PCB Like” sequential build and photolithography based batch process to achieve high density integration of 1000s of RF components into one monolithic substrate. Leveraging new Micro Electromechanical Systems (MEMS) 3-D fabrication techniques, the technology relies on lithographically printed rectangular coax transmission lines (rectacoax) rather than large and expensive machined waveguide, or dissipative microstrip transmission lines. 3-D MERFS structures made of low cost metal and dielectric outperform transmission lines printed on the more expensive semiconductor materials. Key characteristics include low loss, high component density, and high isolation. Increased isolation enables realization of systems in very small volume requirements with improved sensitivity and decreased co-site interference. Low insertion loss enables higher performance systems with lower input power requirements. This new micro-fabrication process will be a key enabler for generation after next Millimeter Wave (MMW) radar and communications systems. This technology promises to enable a MMW “antenna on a wafer”, improving system performance while dramatically decreasing SWAP and cost.
Gil Potvin, Manager Integrated MicroSystems
BAE Systems
Merrimack, NH

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