Fixture Preparation and RF Test of SMT Board Level Components at High Frequencies

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  • Author: Moamer Hasanovic, Michael Kettner, Juan Ayala, Zach Selfe

As the applications in modern telecommunications shift beyond 20 GHz, so does the need for RF components and systems at these frequencies. To properly support introduction of new technologies at frequencies of K-band, Ku-band and further towards millimeter wave, all aspects of component design and development must be considered including high frequency fixturing and probing and production testing. With the operational frequency increase, sizes of surface mount chip components shrink while DUT-to-test board air gaps become more critical. This and similar dimensional constraints create significant issue for a production test technician and therefore require serious consideration and analysis.

This paper presents some of the results of such an analysis performed on RF passive components installed in either surface mount configuration and with or without the wire bond interface. Various surface mount interfaces, number of wires in wire bond interface, and DUT positional tolerances were analyzed and their impact on the RF performance and thermal management considered. In addition to destructive tests, a few non-destructive (push-on) fixtures were discussed and proposed. Finally, recommendations are given as to how to properly mount these miniature size RF passive components to maximize their performance in a real-world application. Index Terms — RF resistive, SMT interface, wire bond, epoxy, solder, thermal management.

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