LTCC RF Module

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LTCC RF Module



Abstract:An RF balun implemented in low temperature co-fired ceramic (LTCC) technology is simulated with 3D FEM technology in ADS.Laminate/LTCC/module design typically requires both 3D Planar (MoM) and 3D Full Wave (FEM) EM simulations. 3D Planar simulations provide very fast and accurate EM simulation results, along with efficient passive EM modeling capability (using Advanced Model Composer in ADS). There are some cases that also require full wave 3D EM simulations, such as:

  • Applications where the component has to be treated as a dielectric brick.
  • Applications where parasitics due to dielectric substrate changes are significant, such as transmission line structures near the edge of the laminate.

Figure 1: Example of a laminate structure that requires full 3D EM simulation

Design Challenges

When full 3D EM simulations are required for characterizing RF modules, the traditional design approach is to export the module layout from the circuit design environment to a separate 3D EM evironment, run EM simulations, then export the results back to the circuit design environment. This approach can be time consuming and error prone.

In this example, full 3D EM simulations of an RF module layout are simulated directly in the ADS circuit design environment, so no data import/export is required.


An LTCC balun structure is designed in the ADS layout environment and simulated with the 3D FEM simulator. Results are shown below.

Figure 2: LTCC balun component on a test board

Figure 3: LTCC balun design in ADS

Figure 4: Close-up view of balun design in ADS

Figure 5: 3D FEM mesh of the LTCC structure

Figure 6: FEM simulation results


Full 3D EM simulation with FEM technology, integrated directly in ADS, provides accurate simulation results for LTCC module design, and enables faster design iterations by eliminating the need to import/export data to separate 3D EM tools.

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