University of Oulu

BST-based low temperature co-fired ceramic (LTCC) modules for microwave tunable components

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Author: Hu, Tao1,2
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Technology, Department of Electrical and Information Engineering
2University of Oulu, Infotech Oulu
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.9 MB)
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Language: English
Published: 2004
Publish Date: 2004-03-26
Thesis type: Doctoral Dissertation
Defence Note: Academic Dissertation to be presented with the assent of the Faculty of Technology, University of Oulu, for public discussion in Raahensali (Auditorium L10), Linnanmaa, on March 26th, 2004, at 12 noon.
Reviewer: Professor Marija Kosec
Doctor Anthony J. Moulson


The recent trend in low temperature co-fired ceramic (LTCC) technology is to integrate more elements into multilayer modules. This thesis describes work specifically aimed at developing ferroelectric barium strontium titanate (BST) for integration into such modules. In particular, an objective was the development of a novel, electric field controlled, tunable component to be used at microwave frequencies (2–26 GHz).

For the application envisaged, relative permittivity is required to be low (100–1000) and adjustable by a suitable applied electric field, the dissipation factor at room temperature must be low (~0.001) at 2–26 GHz, and most importantly, the sintering temperature must be suited to the LTCC technology (~900 °C)

Initial work was focused on sol-gel derived Ba0.7Sr0.3TiO3 powders with boron oxide addition, which were sintered at 900 °C, the dissipation factor was 0.006. The dissipation factor was not low enough for the desired microwave application, and attention turned to powders prepared by the mixed-oxide route. The Ba0.7Sr0.3TiO3 powders, fluxed with the optimum amounts of boron oxide and lithium carbonate, could be sintered at 890 °C to the same density as is achieved with un-fluxed Ba0.7Sr0.3TiO3 sintered at 1360 °C. The dissipation factor for this fluxed powder was acceptably low, although permittivity was too high for the particular objective. Subsequently, research was on BST modified by magnesia, 0.4Ba0.55Sr0.45TiO3-0.6MgO (BSTM). With the optimum fluxing additives, the sintering temperature necessary to achieve a dense BSTM-based ceramic was reduced to 950 °C. The developed microstructure was good, and the relative permittivity and dissipation factor values (221, 0.0012 at 1 kHz) at room temperature indicated good microwave properties.

Studies were also undertaken with organic-based tape-casting slurries, laminating procedures and burn-out and sintering schedules. Several kinds of tapes were fabricated and characterized.

A test structure for the measurement of dielectric properties at 26 GHz of the optimized BSTM-based ceramic was constructed. The specimen was 50 μm thick layer of BST on an alumina substrate. The relative permittivity and tunability were 130 and >15 % at 4 V μm-1 at room temperature. A tunable phase-shifter was fabricated from the same BSTM-based tape using a novel gravure printing technique, and measurements at 26 GHz showed phase shift from 10 to 35° when the electric field was increased from 1 V μm-1 to 2.5 V μm-1.

Some exploratory experiments are described to assess the compatibility of the developed BST-based LTCC with commercial LTCC and some electroceramics.

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Series: Acta Universitatis Ouluensis. C, Technica
ISSN-E: 1796-2226
ISBN: 951-42-7292-7
ISBN Print: 951-42-7291-9
Issue: 198
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