Development of microfluidic packages on multilayer organic substrate for cooling and tuning RF circuits

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Lemtiri Chlieh, Outmane
Papapolymerou, John
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The objective of this PhD research was to design and implement novel microfluidic radio-frequency (RF) structures on multilayer organic substrates for cooling and tuning purposes. The different designs were implemented to target applications up to C-band (4 GHz – 8 GHz) frequencies. The system-on-package (SoP) solution adopted throughout this work is well adapted for such designs where there is a need to integrate the functionality of different sub-components into a single hybrid fully packaged system. The first part of the thesis is dedicated to the study of a specific liquid cooling scheme using integrated microchannels on organics placed beneath different types of heat sources. A 1 W gallium nitride (GaN) die was cooled using this method and an analysis is presented regarding the cases where the coolant is static or dynamic inside the microchannel. The second part of the thesis deals with microfluidically reconfigurable microstrip RF circuits, mainly bandpass filters and power amplifiers (PAs). The microfluidic tuning technique is based on the change in the effective dielectric constant that the RF signal “sees” when traveling above two microchannels with different fluids. This technique was used to shift the frequency response of an L-band microstrip bandpass filter by replacing DI water with acetone inside a 60 mil micro-machined cavity. This technique was also used to design reconfigurable matching networks which constitute the main part of the proposed tunable GaN-based PA for S- and C-band applications. The final part of the thesis expands the previous results by combining both cooling and tuning in a single RF design. To prove the concept, cooling and tuning microchannels were integrated into a single package to cool a GaN-based PA and tune its frequency response at the same time from 2.4 GHz to 5.8 GHz and vice versa.
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