Tunable Superconducting Microwave Filters
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Adaptive microwave systems can benefit from the use of low loss tunable microwave filters. Realizing these tunable filters that show low loss characteristics can be very challenging. The proper materials, tuning elements, and filter designs need to be considered when creating a low loss tunable filter. The integration of low loss microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) and superconducting circuits is one method of achieving these types of tunable filters. The thesis introduces new multi-layer low temperature superconducting (LTS) filters and diplexers and novel topologies for tunable filters and switched multiplexers. An efficient method of designing such filters is proposed. A fabrication process to monolithically integrate MEMS devices with high temperature superconducting (HTS) circuits is also investigated in this thesis. The reflected group delay method, usually used for filter tuning, is further developed for use in designing microwave filters. It is advantageous in the design of filters to have electromagnetic simulation results that will correlate well to the fabricated microwave filters. A correction factor is presented for use with the reflected group delay method so the group delay needs to be matched to the appropriate value at the center frequency of the filter and be symmetric about the center frequency of the filter. As demonstrated with an ideal lumped element filter, the group delay method can be implemented when a closed form expression for the circuit is not known. An 8-pole HTS filter design and an 8-pole multi-layer LTS filter design demonstrate the use of the reflected group delay method. Low temperature superconducting filters, couplers and diplexers are designed and fabricated using a multilayer niobium fabrication process traditionally used for superconducting digital microelectronics. The feasibility of realizing highly miniaturized microwave niobium devices allows for the integration of superconducting digital microelectronics circuits and analog microwave devices on a single chip. Microwave devices such as bandpass filters, lowpass filters, bandstop filters, quadrature hybrids, and resistive loads are all demonstrated experimentally. New tunable filter designs are presented that can make use of MEMS switches. A manifold-coupled switched multiplexer that allows for 2^N possible states is presented. The tunable multiplexer has N filters connected to two manifolds and has embedded switches, which detune certain resonators within the filters to switch between ON and OFF states for each channel. The new concept is demonstrated with a diplexer design and two 3-pole coplanar filters. The concept is further developed through test results of a fabricated HTS triplexer and electromagnetic simulations to demonstrate a superconducting manifold-coupled switched triplexer. Another filter design is presented that makes use of switches placed only on the resonators of the filters. This filter design has N possible states and the absolute bandwidth can be kept constant for all N states. Finally, the integration of HTS circuits and MEMS devices is investigated to realize low loss tunable microwave filters. The hybrid integration is first performed through the integration of an HTS microstrip filter and commercially available RF MEMS switches. A fabrication process to monolithically integrate MEMS devices and high temperature superconducting circuits is then investigated. The fabrication process includes a titanium tungsten layer, which acts as both a resistive layer and an adhesion for the dielectric layer, an amorphous silicon dielectric layer, a photoresist sacrificial layer, and the top gold layer. The fabrication process is built up on a wafer with a thin film of a high temperature superconducting material covered with a thin film of gold. Several processes are tested to ensure that the superconducting properties of the thin film are not affected during the MEMS fabrication process.
Cite this work
Paul Laforge (2010). Tunable Superconducting Microwave Filters. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/5362