Three-Dimensional Multilayer Integration and Characterisation of CPW MMIC Components for Future Wireless Communications

UoM administered thesis: Phd

  • Authors:
  • Norshakila Haris


The development of monolithic microwave integrated circuits (MMICs) has enabled the expansion of multiple circuit elements on a single piece of semiconductor, enclosed in a package with connecting leads. Attributable to the widespread use of wireless circuits and sub-systems, MMICs meet stringent demands for smaller chip area, low loss and low cost. These require highly integrated MMICs with compact features. This thesis provides valuable insight into the design of compact multifunctional MMICs using three-dimensional (3-D) multilayer technology. The proposed technology offers compact, hence low-cost solutions, where all active and passive components are fabricated vertically on the same substrate and no expensive via hole or backside processing is required. The substrate used in this work contains pre-fabricated 0.5 µm pseudomorphic High Electron Mobility Transistor (pHEMT) GaAs active devices. The performances of the uncommitted and committed pHEMTs are compared in terms of their DC, small-signal and large-signal RF measurements and modelling results. Committed pHEMT refers to the pHEMT that is connected to multilayer circuit, whereas uncommitted pHEMT is not. The effect of integrating committed pHEMTs with multilayer passive components is studied and the suitability of the multilayer fabrication processing is assessed. Using this technology, two pHEMT Schottky diodes with 120 µm and 200 µm gate widths are designed, fabricated and extensively characterised by I-V, C-V and S-parameter measurements. The information gained from the measurements is then used to extract all unknown equivalent circuit model parameters using high-frequency on-wafer microwave probing. The measured results showed good agreement with the modelled ones over the frequency range up to 40 GHz. Preliminary demonstrations of the use of these pHEMT Schottky diodes in microwave limiter and detector circuit applications are also discussed, showing promising results. Finally, the implementation of 3-D multilayer technology is shown for the first time in single-pole single-throw (SPST) and single-pole double-throw (SPDT) switches design by utilising the pre-fabricated pHEMTs. The design and analysis of the switches are demonstrated first through simulation using TriQuint's Own Model - Level 3 (TOM3). Three optimised SPST and SPDT pHEMT switching circuits which can address applications ranging from L to X bands are successfully fabricated and tested. The performance of the pHEMT switches is comparable to those of the current state-of-the-art, while simultaneously offering compact circuits with the advantages of integration with other MMIC components. All works reported in this thesis should facilitate foundry design engineers towards further development of 3-D multilayer technology.


Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Award date1 Aug 2017