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Frequency and Time-Domain Performance of LTCC Transmission Lines Fabricated Using Multiple Printing Techniques
Keywords: LTCC, transmission line, fabrication
The many advantages of low temperature co-fired ceramic (LTCC) materials are increasing their use in multi-layer systems containing multiple high-frequency / high-speed digital interconnects. Although construction of such interconnects is possible with current fabrication techniques, the loss exhibited by transmission lines at high frequencies limits their application by increasing system power consumption or requiring complex transceivers. Use of non-standard metal printing processes provides one possibility for realizing lower insertion loss desired for these interconnects. We have fabricated and evaluated representative single-ended and differential stripline transmission line structures using single, double, and mirror printing techniques for Ag metallization in DuPont 9k7 LTCC, to explore their suitability for high-frequency/high-speed applications. Discussion of analysis performed on cross-sections of these structures to determine post-firing geometry and roughness, as well as the level of fabrication control afforded over these parameters will be presented. To predict their performance for high-speed interconnects, 3D electromagnetic (3DEM) simulation models for characterizing the frequency performance of single-ended and differential structures up to 67 GHz have been developed using the cross-section data. These 3DEM models have also been used in time domain simulations to verify digital signal capability by demonstrating structure performance at data rates exceeding 25 Gbps. Measurements of fabricated structures corresponding to the 3DEM models have also been performed in both the time and frequency domain and will be compared to the simulation results to confirm 3DEM model accuracy. The culmination of results from simulation and measurement will be used to present the differences, advantages, and disadvantages of each fabrication technique.
John P. Bailey, graduate student
Auburn University
Auburn University, AL

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