Development of lightweight and low-cost microwave components for remote-sensing applications
Donado Morcillo, Carlos Alberto
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The objective of the proposed research is to design, implement, and characterize low-cost, lightweight front-end components and subsystems in the microwave domain through innovative packaging architectures for remote sensing applications. Particular emphasis is placed on system-on-package (SoP) solutions implemented in organic substrates as a low-cost alternative to conventional, expensive, rigid, and fragile radio- frequency substrates. To this end, the dielectric properties of organic substrates RT/duroid 5880, 6002 and 6202 are presented from 30 GHz to 70 GHz, covering most of the Ka and V radar bands, giving also a thorough insight on the uncertainty of the microstrip ring resonator method by means of the Monte Carlo uncertainty analysis. Additionally, an ultra-thin, high-power antenna-array technology, with transmit/ receive (T/R) functionality is introduced for mobile applications in the X band. Two lightweight SoP T/R array panels are presented in this work using novel technologies such as Silicon Germanium integrated circuits and microelectromechanical system switches on a hybrid organic package of liquid crystal polymer and RT/duroid 5880LZ. A maximum power of 47 dBm is achieved in a package with a thickness of 1.8 mm without the need of bulky thermal management devices. Finally, to address the thermal limitations of thin-film substrates of interest (liquid crystal polymer, RT/duroid 6002, alumina and Aluminum Nitride), a thermal assessment of microstrip structures is presented in the X band, along with the thermal characterization of the dielectric properties of RT/duroid 6002 from 20 ºC to 200 ºC and from 30 GHz to 70 GHz. Additional high-power, X-band technologies presented in this work include: a novel and compact topology for evanescent mode filters, and low-profile Wilkinson power dividers implemented on Aluminum Nitride using Tantalum Nitride thin-film resistors.