MEMS TUNABLE SI-BASED EVANESCENT-MODE CAVITY FILTERS: DESIGN, OPTIMIZATION AND IMPLEMENTATION

2019-08-16T17:00:12Z (GMT) by Zhengan Yang
The allocated frequency bands for the incoming fifth generation (5G) wireless communication technologies spread broadly from sub 6 GHz to K and potentially W bands. The evolution of the future generations toward higher frequency bands will continue and presents significant challenges in terms of excessive system complexity, production and maintenance costs. Reconfigurable radio architecture with frequency-tunable components is one of the most feasible and cost-effective solutions to meet such challenges. Among these technologies, evanescent-mode (EVA) cavity tunable resonator have demonstrated many of the needed features such as wide tunability, low loss and high linearity. Such a technology typically employs a movable membrane that controls the resonant frequency of a post-loaded cavity.

The first part of this work focuses on advancing such technology into the mm-wave frequency bands and beyond. Manufacturing tolerance and tuner performance are the two main limiting factors addressed here. This work develops a cost-effective micro-fabrication and package assembly flow which addresses the manufacturing related limitations. On the other hand, introducing micro-corrugated diaphragms and gold-vanadium co-sputtered thin film deposition technology, significantly reduces (4 times) the tuning voltage and enhances tuning stability (7 times). We demonstrate a tunable two-pole band-pass filter (BPF) prototype as the first EVA cavity tunable filter operating in the K-Ka band.

The second part of this work extensively discusses an optimal RF design flow based on the developed manufacturing technology. It considers all technology constrains and allows the actualization of a high Q transfer function with minimum bandwidth variation within an octave tuning range. Moreover, a new fully passive input/output feeding mechanism that facilitates impedance matching over the entire tuning range is presented. The devised RF methodology is validated through the design and testing of a two-resonator BPF. Measurements demonstrate a tuning range between 20-40 GHz, relative bandwidth of 1.9%-4.7%, and impedance matching over the entire tuning range which is upto 2 times better than previously reported state-of-the-art MEMS tunable filters of this type.

The third part of this work further advances the technology by proposing the first MEMS-based low-power bi-directional EVA tuning approach that employs both the main bias circuitry as well as a new corrective biasing technique that counteracts viscoelastic memory effects. The two key enabling technologies are extensively discussed: a) a new metal-oxide-metal (MOM) sealed cavity that maintains high quality without requiring complicated metal bonding; and b) a new electrostatic bi-directional MEMS tuner that implements the needed frequency tuning without lowering the resonator quality factor.

Furthermore, we explore important design and fabrication trade-offs regarding sensitivity to non-ideal effects (residual stress, fabrication imperfections). Measurement of the new prototype bi-directional design, prove that this technology readily corrects residual post-bias displacement of 0.1 um that shifts the frequency by over 1 GHz with less than 2.5 V. It takes over 100 seconds to recover this error in the uni-directional case. This correction does not adversely affect the filter performance.