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  • 1384 IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON COMPONENTS, PACKAGING AND MANUFACTURING TECHNOLOGY, VOL. 3, NO. 8, AUGUST 2013

Design, Fabrication, and Characterization of a Wideband 60 GHz Bandpass Filter Based on a Flexible PerMX Polymer Substrate

Seonho Seok and Janggil Kim

Abstract — This paper presents a wideband 60 GHz bandpass filter fabricated on a flexible PerMX polymer substrate. A conventional parallel-coupled half-wavelength resonator filter is selected as an embedded passive device. A narrow gap of 5 µm between 750-µm-long resonators is successfully fabricated thanks to a Si support substrate. Surface modification is used to release the flexible polymer substrate from the Si substrate after the filter fabrication. A wideband filter is achieved through the optimization of the narrow gaps between the adjacent resonators. The designed filters are implemented in two different types, without a cover and with a cover. The filter without a cover shows an insertion loss of 4 dB at the center frequency of 63.5 GHz and a return loss of better than 10 dB including

two CPW pads, while the filter with a cover has an insertion loss of 3.8 dB at 59 GHz and a return loss of better than

  • 13 dB. In addition, the uncovered filter has a 3-dB bandwidth

of 24% at 63.5 GHz, while the covered filter shows 28% at

  • 59 GHz.

Index

Terms— Bandpass

wideband.

filter,

flexible,

PerMX,

polymer,

  • I. I NTRODUCTION

A S THE need for distributed sensors for many applications such as environment monitoring increases, multifunc-

tional and multisensing systems with communication capabil- ity are strongly demanded. These kinds of sensor systems have to be packaged to protect themselves [1] and to be assem- bled on a common platform, so-called system-in-package (SIP), with other functional chips such as RF transceiver and signal processing circuits [2]. In general, multilayer low- temperature cofired ceramic (LTCC)-based SIP technology integrating monolithic microwave integrated circuits (MMICs) and passive devices is a notable solution for millimeter- wave radio system integration due to its low loss, integration capability, similar coefficient of temperature expansion (CTE) value to MMICs, and cost effectiveness [3]. Recently, liquid crystal polymer (LCP), as a new and advanced candidate for RF substrate material, has attracted much attention over the past years due to the unique combination of features

Manuscript received July 26, 2012; revised November 12, 2012; accepted December 27, 2012. Date of publication February 7, 2013; date of current version July 31, 2013. Recommended for publication by Associate Editor D. G. Kam upon evaluation of reviewers’ comments. The authors are with Institute d’Electronique de Microelectronique et de Nanotechnologie, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Villeneuve d’Ascq 59652, France (e-mail: seonho.seok@iemn.univ-lille1.fr). Color versions of one or more of the figures in this paper are available online at http://ieeexplore.ieee.org. Digital Object Identifier 10.1109/TCPMT.2013.2240040

and performance [4]. However, there are still needs for new materials and the associated technology development due to the high process temperature for laminating each layers, the high stress development of the multilayered ones, chip embedding for a compact SIP realization, etc. As an alternative way to overcome these disadvantages, other polymer materials are proposed as an RF substrate [5] or a packaging cap [6] due to their excellent electrical properties and manufacturability. Their multilayer lamination capability is useful to build an RF SIP platform. The advantages of the proposed material are the low temperature process (<150 °C), mechanical flexibility, low cost, etc. In addition, its low dielectric constant provides some advantages to an antenna implementation for SIP applications. Also, embedded passive components based on thin film tech- nology have been reported to benefit fine pitch interconnect and cost-effective solution [7]. In this paper, a wideband millimeter-wave filter fabricated on a flexible PerMX polymer is presented. In Section II, the

characterization of the PerMX polymer using a microstrip line will be first assessed and the concept and design of the proposed filter will be described in Section III. Section IV deals with the fabrication process of the filter based on PerMX lamination and gold electroplating. In Section V, the characterization result of the fabricated filter will be presented.

II. PerMX P OLYMER

PerMX film-type polymer is very attractive for a millimeter- wave application because it has good electrical properties [8]. Also, it can be processed on substrates such as Si and glass by lamination that can provide its multilayer structures for SIP-based millimeter-wave applications. First of all, different length microstrip lines are designed, fabricated, and measured to find its suitability for millimerter-wave applications. The width of the microstrip line is designed to be 85 µm on a 50-µm-thick PerMX substrate with dielectric constant of 3. The lengths of each line are 1, 2, and 3 mm. Fig. 1 shows the fabricated microstrip lines and its S-parameter measurement result. The microstrip line has an insertion loss of 0.5 dB/mm at 60 GHz while a return loss is better than 17 dB up to 70 GHz.

III.

C ONCEPT AND D ESIGN OF THE F ILTER

A. Filter Concept

The concept of the proposed filter based on PerMX poly-

mers

is

shown in

Fig. 2. It consists of three PerMX layers

2156-3950/$31.00 © 2013 IEEE

SEOK AND KIM: DESIGN, FABRICATION, AND CHARACTERIZATION OF A WIDEBAND 60 GHz BANDPASS FILTER BASED

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SEOK AND KIM: DESIGN, FABRICATION, AND CHARACTERIZATION OF A WIDEBAND 60 GHz BANDPASS FILTER BASED 1385
(a) 0 0 -10 -1 -20 -2 -30 -3 -40 L = 1 mm -4 -50
(a)
0
0
-10
-1
-20
-2
-30
-3
-40
L
= 1 mm
-4
-50
L
= 2 mm
L
= 3 mm
-60
-5
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
Frequency (GHz)
(b)
S 11 (dB)
S 21 (dB)

Fig. 1. RF characteristic of the PerMX polymer. (a) Fabricated microstrip line on a 50-µm PerMX polymer. (b) Measured S-parameters of the micropstrip lines.

and three metal layers that are interconnected by two vias (via1 and via2 as indicated in the figure). The thickness of the PerMX is 50 µm for the base layer and the substrate layer and 14 µm for the cover layer. The commercially available PerMX films from Dupont Company are PerMX 3014, PerMX 3020, and PerMX 3050 that have a thickness of 14, 20, and 50 µm, respectively [8]. The filters have been implemented in a two-layered PerMX substrate or a three-layered PerMX one including the cover. The covered PerMX can be considered as a polymer embedded filter chip.

B. Filter Design

A parallel-coupled, half-wavelength resonator filter shown in Fig. 3 was first designed following the standard design procedure in [9]. The three-pole, 15% bandwidth, and 0.1 dB ripple at midband f 0 = 60 GHz were used to find g values for a low-pass prototype. Even- and odd-mode characteristic impedances of the coupled microstrip line resonators are found and then the widths and the gaps of the coupled microstrip lines that exhibit the desired even- and odd-mode impedances are determined. Concerning the gap of the coupled resonator, it has a constraint of 7.5 µm due to technological issues. The length of the microstrip line is 750 µm corresponding to the quarter wavelength at the frequency of interest. Note that the dielectric constant of the PerMX material is 3 and the loss tangent is 0.03. Given the analytical dimensions, the HFSS model is set up to find the optimized dimensions of the filter having low

Via2 Cover layer : PerMX, t=14 µm Probe access Substrate layer : PerMX, t=50 µm Filter
Via2
Cover layer
: PerMX, t=14 µm
Probe access
Substrate layer
: PerMX, t=50 µm
Filter
Via1
Base layer
: PerMX, t=50 µm
GND
Fig. 2.
Concept of the filter based on PerMX polymers.
GND Z 0 W 1, S 1 W 2, S 2 W 3, S 3 W
GND
Z 0
W 1, S 1
W 2, S 2
W 3, S 3
W 4, S 4
Z 0

Fig. 3.

Parallel-coupled half-wave length resonator filter.

insertion loss and wide bandwidth. The optimized dimensions

are S 1

= S 4 = 7.5 µm, S 2 = S 3 = 20 µm, W 1 = W 4 =

70 µm, and W 2 = W 3 = 80 µm. Through the optimization,

it is found that S 1

and S 2 are the critical parameters for low

insertion loss and wide bandwidth of the filter, respectively.

The simulated results on these critical parameters are shown

in

Fig.

4.

The insertion loss at the center frequency of 63

GHz varies from 3.9 dB for S 1

of

5

µm

to

4.5 dB for

10

µm

when S 2

is assumed 20 µm and 3-dB bandwidth

is from 30% for 15 µm S 2

to 22% for 25 µm S 2 at the

assumption of S 1 = 7.5 µm. In addition, the cover layer effect

has been investigated as a function of cover height as shown in Fig. 5. The cover thickness is determined as the smallest one

S 21 (dB)

  • 1386 IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON COMPONENTS, PACKAGING AND MANUFACTURING TECHNOLOGY, VOL. 3, NO. 8, AUGUST 2013

0

-20

-40

-60

-80

-100

0 -4 -8 -12 -16 S 1 =5 µm, S 2 =20 µm S 1 =7.5
0
-4
-8
-12
-16
S 1 =5 µm, S 2 =20 µm
S 1 =7.5 µm, S 2 =20 µm
S 1 =10 µm, S 2 =20 µm
-20
-24
0
20
40
60
80
100
S 11 (dB)
Frequency (GHz) (a) 0 0 -20 -4 -40 -8 -60 -12 -80 S 1 =7.5 µm,
Frequency (GHz)
(a)
0
0
-20
-4
-40
-8
-60
-12
-80
S 1 =7.5 µm, S 2 =15 µm
S 1 =7.5 µm, S 2 =20 µm
S 1 =7.5 µm, S 2 =25 µm
-16
-100
-20
0
20
40
60
80
100
Frequency (GHz)
(b)
Fig. 4.
HFSS simulation results of the filter without the cover. (a) Filter
characteristics
of S 2 .
as a function
of
S 1 .
(b)
Filter
characteristics
as a function
S 21 (dB)
S 11 (dB)
PerMX OmniCoat Si substrate (a) PerMX PerMX Si substrate (c) Pad Via PerMX PerMX PerMX Si
PerMX
OmniCoat
Si substrate
(a)
PerMX
PerMX
Si substrate
(c)
Pad
Via
PerMX
PerMX
PerMX
Si substrate
(e)
GND PerMX Si substrate (b) PerMX Filter PerMX PerMX Si substrate (d) PerMX (Cover) PerMX (Substrate)
GND
PerMX
Si substrate
(b)
PerMX
Filter
PerMX
PerMX
Si substrate
(d)
PerMX (Cover)
PerMX (Substrate)
PerMX (Base)
(f)

Fig. 6. Filter fabrication process flow. (a) PerMX lamination. (b) Gold

electroplating for ground. (c) PerMX lamination. (d) Filter plating and PerMX

patterning. (e) Via and pad plating. (f) Separation of PerMX filter chip.

TABLE I

PerMX P ROCESS C ONDITIONS Step Conditions Lamination Soft bake Expose PEB Develop Hard bake Hot
PerMX P ROCESS C ONDITIONS
Step
Conditions
Lamination
Soft bake
Expose
PEB
Develop
Hard bake
Hot roll @ 65 °C
4 min @ 95 °C
400 mJ
10 min @ 60 °C
PGMEA, 5 min
30 min @ 150 °C
0 0 -4 -20 -8 -40 -12 -60 -16 -80 Cover height=14µm -20 Cover height=28µm Cover
0
0
-4
-20
-8
-40
-12
-60
-16
-80
Cover height=14µm
-20
Cover height=28µm
Cover height=50µm
-100
-24
0
20
40
60
80
100
S 21 (dB)
S 11 (dB)

Frequency (GHz)

Fig. 5.

HFSS simulation results of the filter with the cover.

among the commercially available films. The center frequency of the filter decreases as the effective dielectric constant is proportional to the cover thickness.

IV. FABRICATIONS

The designed filter is fabricated using PerMX 3050 polymer for substrate and base and PerMX 3014 for cover. Each PerMX layer is named in Fig. 6(f). Gold metallization has been carried out to have 2-µm-thick metal lines for the filter and ground plane. Fig. 6 shows the process flow of the filter. (a) PerMX

film (t = 50 µm) is laminated on the Si substrate coated

with OmniCoat. It is used to modify the Si surface condition

for easier release of PerMX substrate after the fabrication.

(b) Gold electroplating is performed for the ground plane.

(c) PerMX film (t = 50 µm) is laminated on the top of

the ground plane. (d) Gold electroplating is carried out for

the filter and the PerMX film (t = 14 µm) is laminated. It

is patterned to make a via between the filter and the pad

access. (e) Gold electroplating is performed for the via and

the pad access. (f) The PerMX substrate is separated from the

Si substrate by NH 4 F immersion.

The PerMX lamination process and its conditions are given in Table I [10]. To investigate the filter characteristic itself, it is first fabricated without the cover PerMX. The fabrication result is shown in Fig. 7. The size of the implemented filter is 5.4 mm (L) × 4.2 mm (W) including the probe pad and the ground plane. The thickness of the fabricated PerMX substrate is 47 µm. The actual dimensions of the fabricated filter are measured using a microscope: 5.4 µm for S 1 , 12.3 µm for S 2 , 72 µm for W 1 , and 82 µm for W 2 . It can be said that the fabrication errors on the metallization would be the main reason of the disparity between the simulation and the measurements. As shown in the aforementioned figures, there is a warpage at the PerMX filter chips. It is caused by the residual stress

SEOK AND KIM: DESIGN, FABRICATION, AND CHARACTERIZATION OF A WIDEBAND 60 GHz BANDPASS FILTER BASED

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SEOK AND KIM: DESIGN, FABRICATION, AND CHARACTERIZATION OF A WIDEBAND 60 GHz BANDPASS FILTER BASED 1387
A
A
(a) (b) Fig. 7. Fabricated filter without the cover PerMX. (a) Frontside. (b) Backside. 250 Sample
(a)
(b)
Fig. 7.
Fabricated filter without the cover PerMX. (a) Frontside. (b) Backside.
250
Sample 1
Sample 2
200
Sample 3
Sample 4
Sample 5
150
100
50
0
0
1000
2000
3000
4000
5000
Scan length (µm)
Fig. 8.
Measured deflection of PerMX filter chips.
Height (µm)

effect of the associated materials. Gold metallization on the thin PerMX polymer develops a tensile stress making sub- strate warpage. The deflection from five samples is measured through A as indicated in Fig. 7(b). Fig. 8 shows the measured deflection of the fabricated PerMX chips and the average maximum deflection is 215 µm. The filter with the cover is implemented in wafer type, not in separated chips type as the previous one. It can be considered as a flexible substrate embedding a filter element. The fabrication result is shown in Fig. 9. The flexible PerMX substrate is successfully released as shown in Fig. 9(a) and it is bended as shown in Fig. 9(b).

  • V. C HARACTERIZATIONS AND D ISCUSSION

The manufactured filters are characterized by the HP8510C vector network analyzer and the ground-signal-ground (G-S-G) probe system. The filter without the cover having 7.5 µm S 1 and 20 µm S 2 is first characterized. The measured S-parameter is compared with the ADS and HFSS simulation results as shown in Fig. 10. It has an insertion loss of 4 dB at the center frequency of 63.5 GHz while its return loss is better than 10 dB including the CPW pads. It has a 3-dB bandwidth of 24% at the center frequency. The measurement has good agreement with the simulation results. The filter with the cover is then measured and compared with the measurement of the uncovered filter as shown in Fig. 11. The center frequency of the covered filter is shifted

SEOK AND KIM: DESIGN, FABRICATION, AND CHARACTERIZATION OF A WIDEBAND 60 GHz BANDPASS FILTER BASED 1387
(a) (b)
(a)
(b)

Fig. 9. Fabricated flexible PerMX substrate embedding filters. (a) PerMX substrate after the separation of Si support wafer. (b) Bended PerMX flexible substrate.

0 0 -20 -4 -40 -8 -60 -12 -80 ADS simulation -16 -100 HFSS simulation Measurement
0
0
-20
-4
-40
-8
-60
-12
-80
ADS simulation
-16
-100
HFSS simulation
Measurement
-120
-20
0
20
40
60
80
100
S 21 (dB)
S 11 (dB)

Frequency (GHz)

Fig. 10.

Characteristic of the filter without the cover.

to 59 GHz from the center frequency of 63.5 GHz of the uncovered filter while the insertion loss decreases from 4 to 3.8 dB after covering the filter. The 3-dB bandwidth is also increased from 24% in the uncovered filter to 28% in the covered filter. The filter is also measured at flexible conditions as shown in Fig. 12. Three different radii of curvatures of 71.5, 25, and 12.5 mm have been used to find the effect of the substrate

  • 1388 IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON COMPONENTS, PACKAGING AND MANUFACTURING TECHNOLOGY, VOL. 3, NO. 8, AUGUST 2013

0 0 -20 -5 -40 -10 -60 -15 -80 Without cover With cover -20 HFSS simulation
0
0
-20
-5
-40
-10
-60
-15
-80
Without cover
With cover
-20
HFSS simulation
-100
0
20
40
60
80
100
S 21 (dB)
S 11 (dB)

Frequency (GHz)

Fig. 11.

Characteristic of the filter without the cover comparing with HFSS

simulation and the filter with the cover. Curved chuck Flexible substrate
simulation and the filter with the cover.
Curved
chuck
Flexible
substrate

Fig. 12.

Flexiblesubstrate on a curved chuck (radius of curvature = 71.5 mm).

VI.

C ONCLUSION

The SIP approach with communication capability emerges

as a notable solution to accomplish multifunctional sensor

systems. LTCC-based or LCP-based SIP technologies are

regarded as one of the promising solutions for millimeter-wave

radio system integration owing to the RF friendly material

characteristics, integration capability, similar CTE value to

MMICs, and cost effectiveness although it has disadvantage

of high dielectric constant and relatively high process temper-

ature.

Unlike conventional approaches, polymers such as BCB,

SU8, and PerMX can be strong candidates for the pur-

pose. In particular, PerMX has low residual stress and low temperature process (< 150 °C). In RF aspect, microstrip lines on PerMX showed promising performance in terms of insertion loss and return loss. Furthermore, a passive filter was implemented on the PerMX polymer in a separate chip and in a flexible substrate. In particular, the flexible substrate is interesting due to its manufacturability and the capability embedding passive components for an RF SIP application. The implemented filter demonstrated competitive performance in terms of insertion loss, return loss, and 3-dB bandwidth at 60 GHz frequency and also demonstrated uniform charac- teristics at different curvatures. In conclusion, the proposed polymer substrate can be a good solution for a flexible miniaturized SIP employing embedded passives and embedded (or flip-chipped) thinned functional chips.

ACKNOWLEDGMENT

The authors would like to acknowledge the technical staff with the Institute d’Electronique de Microelectronique et de Nanotechnologie (IEMN), Villeneuve d’Ascq, France. They would also like to thank the CSAM Group, IEMN.

0 0 -25 -4 -50 -8 -75 -12 -100 radius of curvature = 71.5 mm radius
0
0
-25
-4
-50
-8
-75
-12
-100
radius of curvature = 71.5 mm
radius of curvature = 25 mm
radius of curvature = 12.5 mm
-16
-125
-20
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
Frequency (GHz)
Fig. 13.
Measurement results of the flexible substrate as a function of radius
of curvature.
S 21 (dB)
S 11 (dB)

bending on the filter performance. Fig. 13 shows the measure- ment results and it does not show much difference at the filter characteristic because the gap change between each resonators of the filter due to the bending is not significant.

R EFERENCES

[1] B. Lee, S. Seok, and K. Chun, “A study on wafer-level vacuum

packaging for MEMS devices,” J. Micromech. Microeng., vol. 13, no. 5,

pp. 663–669, Sep. 2003.

[2] J. Miettinen, M. Mantysalo, K. Kaija, and E. O. Ristolainen, “System

design issues for 3D system-in-package (SiP),” in Proc. IEEE Electron.

Compon. Technol. Conf., Jun. 2004, pp. 610–615.

[3]

Y. C. Lee and C. S. Park, “A fully embedded 60 GHz novel BPF

for LTCC system-in-package applications,” IEEE Trans. Adv. Packag.,

vol. 29, no. 4, pp. 804–809, Nov. 2006.

[4] R. Bairavasubramanian, S. Pinel, J. Laskar, and J. Papapolymerou,

“Compact 60-GHz bandpass filters and duplexers on liquid crystal

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[5] M. F. Davis, S.-W. Yoon, S. Mandal, N. Bushyager, M. Maeng, K. Lim,

  • S. Pinel, A. Sutono, J. Laskar, M. Tentzeris, T. Nonaka, V. Sundaram,

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for multilayer organic system on package integrated passives,” in IEEE MTT-S Int. Microw. Symp. Dig., Jun. 2002, pp. 2217–2220. [6] S. Seok, N. Rolland, and P.-A. Rolland, “Packaging methodology for RF devices using a BCB membrane transfer technique,” J. Micromech. Microeng., vol. 16, no. 11, pp. 2384–2388, Nov. 2006. [7] L. Wang, W. Christiaens, S. Brebels, W. De Raedt, and J. Vanfleteren, “A novel approach to embed off-chip RF passives in PCB based on thin film technology,” in Proc. Electron. Syst.-Integr. Technol. Conf., Sep. 2010, pp. 1–4. [8] DuPont PerMX Series. (2010) [Online]. Avialable: http://www. microresist.de/produkte/dupont/pdf/permxseries.pdf [9] J.-S. Hong and M. J. Lancaster, Microstrip Filters for RF/Microwave Applications. New York, USA: Wiley, 2001.

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[10]

J. Kim, S. Seok, N. Rolland, and P. A. Rolland, “Low-temperature, low-loss zero level packaging technique for RF applications using a photopatternable dry film,” J. Micromech. Microeng., vol. 22, no. 6, p. 065032, Jun. 2012.

Seonho Seok received the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from Seoul National Univer- sity, Seoul, Korea, in 1999 and 2004, respectively. He was a Post-Doctoral Researcher with the Center for Advanced Transceiver Systems, Seoul National University. In 2005, he joined the Insti- tute d’Electronique de Microelectronique et de Nan- otechnologie, Villeneuve d’Ascq, France, as a Post- Doctoral Research Scholar, where he has been a CNRS Senior Researcher since 2007. His current research interests include wafer bonding techniques, wafer-level packaging of microelectromechanical system devices, and system- in-package.

SEOK AND KIM: DESIGN, FABRICATION, AND CHARACTERIZATION OF A WIDEBAND 60 GHz BANDPASS FILTER BASED 1389

Janggil Kim was born in 1977 in Korea. He received the degree in mechanical engineering from Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea, and the Ph.D. degree, with research on development of soft-lithographic technology for micropatterning on nonplanar surfaces, from the University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan. He was a Post-Doctoral Researcher with the Insti- tute of Industrial Science, University of Tokyo. Since 2009, he has been a Post-Doctoral Researcher with the CSAM Group, IRCICA/Institute d’Electronique de Microelectronique et de Nanotechnologie, Villeneuve d’Ascq, France. His current research interests include development of zero-level packaging technology for radio frequency-microelectromechanical system applications and realization of system-in-package.

SEOK AND KIM: DESIGN, FABRICATION, AND CHARACTERIZATION OF A WIDEBAND 60 GHz BANDPASS FILTER BASED 1389