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Title: Low cost fabrication processing for microwave and millimetre-wave passive components
Author: D'Auria, Mario
ISNI:       0000 0004 6061 5277
Awarding Body: Imperial College London
Current Institution: Imperial College London
Date of Award: 2016
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Microwave and millimetre-wave technology has enabled many commercial applications to play a key role in the development of wireless communication. When dissipative attenuation is a critical factor, metal-pipe waveguides are essential in the development of microwave and millimetre-wave systems. However, their cost and weight may represent a limitation for their application. In the first part of this work two 3D printing technologies and electroless plating were employed to fabricate metal pipe rectangular waveguides in X and W-band. The performance for the fabricated waveguides was comparable to the one of commercially available equivalents, showing good impedance matching and low attenuation losses. Using these technologies, a high-performance inductive iris filter in W-band and a dielectric flap phase shifter in X-band were fabricated. Eventually the design and fabrication of a phased antenna array is reported. For microwave and millimetre-wave applications, system-on-substrate technology can be considered a very valuable alternative, where bulky coax and waveguide interconnects are replaced by low-loss transmission lines embedded into a multilayer substrate, which can include a wide range of components and subsystems. In the second part of this work the integration of RF MEMS with LTCC fabrication process is investigated. Three approaches to the manufacture of suspended structures were considered, based on laser micromachining, laser bending of aluminium foil and hybrid thick/thin film technology. Although the fabrication process posed many challenges, resulting in very poor yield, two of the solution investigated showed potential for the fabrication of low-cost RF MEMS fully integrated in LTCC technology. With the experience gained with laser machining, the rapid prototyping of high aspect ratio beams for silicon MEMS was also investigated. In the third part of this work, a statistical study based on the Taguchi design of experiment and analysis of variance was undertaken. The results show a performance comparable with standard cleanroom processing, but at a fraction of the processing costs and greater design flexibility, due to the lack of need for masks.
Supervisor: Lucyszyn, Stepan Sponsor: Medical Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral