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Bulk and In-Circuit Dielectric Characterization of LTCC Tape Systems Through Millimeter Wave Frequency Range
Keywords: dielectric constant measurements, LTCC, Millimeter wave material properties
Low Temperature Co-fired Ceramic (LTCC) material systems offer a highly versatile microwave and millimeter wave packaging platform. Extremely low microwave loss, excellent control of dielectric constant, uniform dielectric thickness, non-existent water absorption leading to very high Hermeticity, ability to support multilayer structure leading to 3-dimensional packaging, ability to embed passive functions within the tape layers, availability of a wide range of metallizations etc. are some of the key advantages of LTCC for microwave packaging. One of the important parameters which needs to be determined at the very early stages of circuit designs are the dielectric properties - dielectric constant and loss tangent both of which are functions of frequency. These properties need to be known accurately over the entire frequency range of operation for the circuit. For LTCC based designs, the use of dielectric constant of bulk material can lead to deviations between the performance expected at the design stage and for the fabricated circuit. Such deviations are a significant concern for broad band circuits as well as for circuits with sharp resonant behavior such as filters. One of the significant sources of deviation between bulk LTCC and “in-circuit” dielectric constant is the nature of the thick film metallizations used in LTCC technology. Work described here is a comprehensive characterization of three DuPont™ GreenTape™ LTCC systems – 951, 9K5, and 9K7 - in the frequency range 1 to 110 GHz. Both bulk and “in-circuit” dielectric properties with silver and gold metallizations are studied to quantify the deviations in dielectric properties. A Fabry-Perot open resonator technique is used for the bulk characterization while printed T and Ring Resonators are used for the in-circuit characterization. This comprehensive characterization will provide key design data for LTCC designers in the 1 – 110 GHz frequency range.
Deepukumar Nair, Applications Development Manager
DuPont Microcircuit Materials
Research Triangle Park, NC

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