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PCB-Apr2017

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36 The PCB Magazine • April 2017 by Jim Francey and Terry Bateman OPTIPRINT AG Introduction Since its inception in 1985, Optiprint has specialized in fabricating PCB products for radio frequency (RF) and microwave (MW) applica- tions. In recent years, there has been commer- cial exploitation of so-called millimeter-wave (mmW) frequencies. Generally speaking, this commenced with automotive radar; however, increasingly the telecommunications sector is offering radio products operating in V-band (57–66 GHz) and E-band (71–76 GHz and 81–86 GHz) portion of the radio spectrum [1]. The at- traction is the comparatively high volume of data that can be transmitted wirelessly to cope with a demand for bandwidth, driven by growth in mobile data traffic for portable devices and machine-to-machine communications. The ex- pectation is that mmW radio architectures will be deployed in future "5th generation" cellular mobile" (5G) networks and to ease "spectrum congestion" in current 4G and earlier configu- rations. PCB Technology Requirements for Millimeter-Wave Interconnect and Antenna In 2013, Optiprint joined a European collab- orative project called "MiWaveS" [2] , a three-year project to develop key technologies for mmW wireless access and backhaul in future 5G het- erogeneous cellular mobile networks. Opti- print's role in MiWaveS was to support the col- laborative partners in the design and manufac- ture of PCBs for local access and backhaul radio transceivers and antennas. This article describes the PCB technology requirements of fabricating PCB articles designed for the distribution and propagation of mmW signals with emphasis on the work done to support MiWaveS project. Technology Overview The PCB, often referred to as an organic substrate, represents an economically attractive and mature technology for mmW hardware in- terconnect and antenna given the ubiquity of PCB and PCB assembly manufacturing capa- bility. Interestingly, the MiWaveS project also involved LTCC ceramic substrate technology; however, a review of that is outside the scope of this article. From a PCB manufacturing perspec- tive, the needs for distributing and propagating FEATURE

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