Development of Miniature, Multilayer, Integrated, Reconfigurable RF MEMS Communication Module on Liquid Crystal Polymer (LCP) Substrate
Kingsley, Nickolas Dana
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For this thesis, the use of Liquid Crystal Polymer (LCP) as a system-level substrate and packaging material is investigated. Early in the research, recipes for fabricating on LCP were developed. With this knowledge, RF components were able to be fabricated. These devices include filters, antennas, phase shifters, and RF MEMS switches. To investigate the potential of using LCP as a system-level material, packaging properties and robustness were tested. This research demonstrated that LCP could be used to package something as small and delicate as an individual switch or as large as a 4-inch wafer. In addition, it was shown that MEMS switches could survive well over a hundred million cycles. This demonstrated that LCP could be used to create reliable, high performance systems. The culmination of this research was used to create two variations of a communication module. The first device was fabricated on one layer and a multi-layer approach was taken for the other device. These modules needed to be low-cost, low-loss, flexible, and capable of beam steering. This technology can be used for communication, sensing, detection, and surveillance for a broad scope of applications. To this date, they are by far the most sophisticated SOP on LCP ever achieved. This technology can be further developed to include more functionality, smaller size, and even better performance.