Abstract — In this paper, we present a liquid crystal polymer (LCP) based multilayer packaging technology combined with RF-MEMS technology and its emergence as an ideal platform for low cost, multi-band and reconfigurable RF front-end module integration. LCP's very low water absorption (0.04%), low cost and high electrical performance makes it very appealing for RF applications. Here we describe the fabrication process of LCP substrate, its characterization and properties upto W band, design of high Q inductors, SISO dual band filters with insertion loss as low as 2.4dB in L band and 1.8dB in C band respectively. MEMS-SOP switch fabrication and finally integration of C band wireless LAN (WLAN) module demonstrates the potential for compact, multiband and reconfigurable systems. This is the first complete report on the combination of LCP with RF-MEMS technology as a new approach towards the system-on-package (SOP) solutions for wireless communication applications.Index Terms — LCP, reconfigurable and multiband module, dual band filter, MEMS switch on LCP, WLAN module, SOP, multilayer RF technologies.
Miniaturization, portability, cost and performance have been the driving force for the evolution of packaging and system-on-package (SOP) approach in RF, microwave and millimeter wave applications. Recent research shows SOP to be a more feasible and low cost solution than system- on-chip (SOC) approach . Liquid crystal polymer (LCP) provides the all-in-one solution for such integration approach in terms of high quality dielectric for high performance multiband passive design, excellent substrate for heterogeneous SOP integration as well as for MEMS structures. Furthermore low loss and flexible MEMS switches fabricated on LCP enable the implementation of multiband and reconfigurable modules.In this paper, we present the potential of LCP as the substrate as well as the packaging material for wireless applications. The section II of this paper discusses the LCP fabrication process, its characterization and the design of high Q (~90) integrated inductor s in L band. Section III analyzes the novel design of SISO dual band filters for L and C band with 2.4dB and 1.8dB of insertion loss respectively. Section IV concentrates on the fabrication of MEMS switches on LCP substrate with insertion loss of0.1dB up to 20GHz. The implementation of IEEE802.11a compliant WLAN module on LCP is presented in section V. The receiver shows a high sensitivity (~ -70dBm), low noise figure (<8db)>