Vertical integration of inkjet-printed RF circuits and systems (VIPRE) for wireless sensing and inter/intra-chip communication applications
Cook, Benjamin Stassen
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Inkjet-printing is a technology which has for the last decade been exploited to fabricate flexible RF components such as antennas and planar circuit elements. However, the limitations of feature size and single layer fabrication prevented the demonstration of compact, and high efficiency RF components operating above 10 GHz into the mm-Wave regime which is critical to silicon integration and fully-printed modules. To overcome these limitations, a novel vertically-integrated fully inkjet-printed process has been developed and characterized up to the mm-Wave regime which incorporates up to five highly conductive metal layers, variable thickness dielectric layers ranging from 200 nm to 200 um, and low resistance through-layer via interconnects. This vertically-integrated inkjet printed electronics process, tagged VIPRE, is a first of its kind, and is utilized to demonstrate fully additive RF capacitors, inductors, antennas, and RF sensors operating up to 40 GHz. In this work, the first-ever fully inkjet printed multi-layer RF devices operating up to 40 GHz with high-performance are demonstrated, along with a demonstration of the processing techniques which have enabled the printing of multi-layer RF structures with multiple metal layers, and dielectric layers which are orders of magnitude thicker than previoulsy demonstrated inkjet-printed structures. The results of this work show the new possibilities in utilizing inkjet printing for the post-processing of high-efficiency RF inductors, capacitors, and antennas and antenna arrays on top of silicon to reduce chip area requirements, and for the production of entirely printed wireless modules.