Characterization and Production of PCB Structures With Increased Ratio of Electromagnetic Field in Air
Franz Xaver Röhrl
Producing passive printed circuit board (PCB) structures in the millimeter-wave range includes some fundamental challenges, such as low manufacturing costs and high fabrication accuracy. These aspects, in general, have to be combined with low signal attenuation, precise simulation models, and a reliable producibility. This article shows a new method to manufacture different kinds of passive RF waveguides with reduced attenuation and decreased electrical length on low-cost PCB substrates. First, the complex material parameters of the used substrate and the used copper foil are extracted from 10 to 100 GHz to have accurate simulation models in CST Microwave Studio. This is necessary because the parameters provided by the manufacturer are often no longer generally valid in this frequency range. In addition, PCB materials have a significantly higher surface roughness compared with conventional materials for millimeter-wave applications. Therefore, the correct determination and the correct modeling of surface roughness is particularly important. Next, laminate is removed partially on the outer layer of the PCB to increase the electromagnetic field ratio in air. The undesired substrate is removed by a CO2 laser drilling machine by setting narrow drills sequentially. The RF performance of these waveguides is compared with those manufactured in conventional PCB technology according to attenuation and producibility.