Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Electrical Engineering

Major Professor

Thomas M. Weller, Ph.D.


Shielded line, 3-D transmission line, Micro coax, Air core line, Vertical integration


The research presented in this doctoral dissertation introduces a developmental path to realize micro coaxial transmission lines for wafer-level microwave and millimeter wave circuits. The micro coax lines conceptualized in this research are three-dimensional, with a uniquely low vertical profile of 20 mu m. They are distinguishable from other transmission line topologies due to frequency limitless, cross-talk free performance in high density circuits resulting from the totally shielded construction. Design and optimization was done using equations and electromagnetic simulations. Extensive process development has been carried out to fabricate these devices on CMOS grade silicon wafers using processes amenable to the IC manufacturing industry.

Micro coax lines of three different core types including air, semi-dielectric and all-dielectric cores were designed, fabricated and analyzed from 1 - 40 GHz with respect to line impedance and the volume of polyimide (dielectric) in the micro coax cavity. The insertion loss of the lines was found to vary from 2 to 9 dB/cm depending on the width the center conductor, total cross-sectional area and core type. The versatility of the micro coax technology developed in the earlier part of this research has been successfully integrated with RF MEMS to embed a MEM varactor inside the micro coax cavity capable of achieving a capacitance ratio around 7 with an actuation voltage of 40 - 60V. The vertical integration capability of the micro coax was demonstrated by locating a millimeter wave slot antenna on the top side shield of a rectangular micro coax line, also acting as the electromagnetically coupled feed for the antenna.

The antenna was designed to operate in the full range of the unlicensed 57 - 64 GHz spectrum capable of Gbps data rates. A 15 dB bandwidth of 17% and a hemispherical radiation pattern was achieved. Lastly, a diversified application involving the application of an integrated micro coax probe-microfluidic chamber approach to detect bacteria through impedance measurements has been introduced. In summary, the development and implementation of micro coax technology on a large scale is bound to create a paradigm shift in the development of high density microwave and millimeter wave circuits for RF MEMS and integrated antennas.