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Critical Aspects of Dielectric Constant Properties

for High Frequency Circuit Design

Presented by: John Coonrod

CONFIDENTIAL 1
Agenda:

Overview of frequency dependent dielectric constant


Anisotropy
Copper surface roughness effects
Thickness dependencies
Design Dk examples and more detail
Where to find Design Dk information

CONFIDENTIAL 2
Critical Aspects of Dielectric Constant Properties for
High Frequency Circuit Design
Overview of frequency dependent dielectric constant

D = E
D is electric displacement vector field, E is electric field intensity, is complex permittivity

Specific to material considerations:

When an electric field is applied to a dielectric material, electric dipole moments are
induced within the material

The dipole moments augment the total displacement flux

Polarization (P) is due to the material properties and the related dipole moments

D = 0E + P
Bold letters are
vector variables
0 is free space permittivity

CONFIDENTIAL 3
Critical Aspects of Dielectric Constant Properties for
High Frequency Circuit Design
Overview of frequency dependent dielectric constant

D = 0E + P

Dielectrics used in the high frequency PCB industry are typically a linear dielectric

Or P is linear with an applied E so:

P = 0 c E
c is electric susceptibility of the material

Bold letters are


vector variables

CONFIDENTIAL 4
Critical Aspects of Dielectric Constant Properties for
High Frequency Circuit Design
Overview of frequency dependent dielectric constant

Finally, the electric displacement vector field, including material effects:

D = 0E + P = 0 (1+ c) E = E

= j = 0 (1 + c)

is the real (storage) and is the imaginary (dissipative)

is associated with dielectric constant and is associated with dissipation factor (Df) of
the material
Dk = r = /0

Df = Tan() = / Bold letters are


vector variables

CONFIDENTIAL 5
Critical Aspects of Dielectric Constant Properties for
High Frequency Circuit Design
Overview of frequency dependent dielectric constant

Dipole displacement contributes to the Dk (r)

Molecular friction due to dipole rotation contributes to tan() or Df

Depending on material properties, from about 10 MHz to 300 GHz, most interaction
between electric fields and substrate is due to displacement and rotation of the dipoles

CONFIDENTIAL 6
Critical Aspects of Dielectric Constant Properties for
High Frequency Circuit Design
Overview of frequency dependent dielectric constant

Dispersion is how much the Dk will change with a change in frequency

Dipole moment relaxation is another issue which contributes to dispersion

At low radio frequencies the dipole relaxation has little effect on Dk dispersion

At microwave frequencies dipole relaxation has significant effect on dispersion

CONFIDENTIAL 7
Critical Aspects of Dielectric Constant Properties for
High Frequency Circuit Design
Overview of frequency dependent dielectric constant

Frequency vs. Dk curve for a 1 GHz 300 GHz


generic dielectric material
Dipolar and related
relaxation phenomena

Low loss materials have much


less Dk-Frequency slope
CONFIDENTIAL 8
Critical Aspects of Dielectric Constant Properties for
High Frequency Circuit Design
Overview of frequency dependent dielectric constant

Using 3 different test


methods on the same
piece of material, the
Dk-Frequency trend is
validated; the Dk
decreases with an
increase in frequency

CONFIDENTIAL 9
Critical Aspects of Dielectric Constant Properties for
High Frequency Circuit Design

Anisotropy

CONFIDENTIAL 10
Critical Aspects of Dielectric Constant Properties for
High Frequency Circuit Design
Anisotropy

Many high frequency laminates are anisotropic regarding dielectric constant

Anisotropy means the Dk is the not the same on all three axes of the material

It is common that high frequency laminates have a different Dk in the z-axis as


compared to the x- or y-axis

Anisotropy is due to non-uniform electric susceptibility of the material

With an applied electric field the dipole moments react different on the different
axes of the material

The non-uniform electric susceptibility is typically due to:

Woven-glass reinforcement having properties different than the resin system


Non-spherical filler particles which naturally orient in certain directions during the
laminate manufacturing process
Material polarization is different on the different axes
CONFIDENTIAL 11
Critical Aspects of Dielectric Constant Properties for
High Frequency Circuit Design
Anisotropy

Anisotropy is related to electric displacement flux:

As a practical point, the non-diagonal elements are typically not significant and ignored

Additionally, the xx and yy typically have little difference and for modeling (and for
material measurement) purposes it is the r of the x-y plane which is used in conjunction
with the r of the z-axis

CONFIDENTIAL 12
Critical Aspects of Dielectric Constant Properties for
High Frequency Circuit Design
Anisotropy

For circuit design and modeling, anisotropy is typically not considered in transmission
lines, stubs and other non-edge-coupled components

Anisotropy should be considered for edge-coupled features

As general rules:

Material with woven-glass reinforcement has more anisotropy

Material with high Dk (>5) has more anisotropy

A few examples of some materials regarding anisotropy:

CONFIDENTIAL 13
Critical Aspects of Dielectric Constant Properties for
High Frequency Circuit Design

Copper surface roughness effects

CONFIDENTIAL 14
Critical Aspects of Dielectric Constant Properties for
High Frequency Circuit Design
Copper surface roughness effects

The dominate loss component can be different, for the different circuit thicknesses
Three circuit sets made from same material but different thicknesses
Circuit material used was RO4350B laminate

CONFIDENTIAL 15
Critical Aspects of Dielectric Constant Properties for
High Frequency Circuit Design
Copper surface roughness effects
Using same material of
different thicknesses and
different copper types,
thin circuits are more
impacted by difference in
conductor loss than thick
circuits

Copper with smoother


surface roughness has
lower conductor loss

Rolled copper roughness


is ~ 0.3 microns RMS

This particular ED copper


has a roughness of ~ 1.8
microns RMS

CONFIDENTIAL RO3003 laminate is a very low loss material: typical Df @ 10 GHz is 0.001 16
Critical Aspects of Dielectric Constant Properties for
High Frequency Circuit Design
Copper surface roughness effects
Copper surface roughness impacts more than just conductor loss or insertion loss

Copper surface roughness will alter the propagation velocity (phase velocity)

A rougher copper surface roughness will have a slower propagation velocity

Comparing circuits using


same dielectric material,
same thickness and same
physical length (8), but
different copper types
which have different
copper surface roughness

CONFIDENTIAL 17
Critical Aspects of Dielectric Constant Properties for
High Frequency Circuit Design
Copper surface roughness effects

A higher Dk material will slow an electromagnetic wave

In other words
as a wave is slowed the circuit perceived effective Dk is assumed to be higher

CONFIDENTIAL 18
Critical Aspects of Dielectric Constant Properties for
High Frequency Circuit Design
Copper surface roughness effects

There are other things that can slow the wave besides a substrate with higher Dk
A rough copper surface can slow the wave propagation
Again, a slower wave translates into higher Dk even if the substrate is unchanged

Excerpt to the right is from:

Conductor Profile Effects on the Propagation Constant of


Microstrip Transmission Lines, Allen F. Horn, III, * John
W. Reynolds* and James Rautio+

*Rogers Corporation, Lurie R&D Center, Rogers, CT 06259-


0157 USA
+Sonnet Software, North Syracuse, NY 13212 USA

CONFIDENTIAL 19
Critical Aspects of Dielectric Constant Properties for
High Frequency Circuit Design
Copper surface roughness effects

Shown are circuits with the same substrate, but using different copper types
with different surface roughness
Circuits with rougher copper surface (higher RMS) have higher effective Dk
CONFIDENTIAL
The LCP laminate used in this study is the Rogers ULTRALAM 3850 laminate 20
Critical Aspects of Dielectric Constant Properties for
High Frequency Circuit Design
Thickness dependencies

A thinner circuit will be dominated by conductor properties for loss and phase
Conversely a thicker circuit will be less affected by copper roughness regarding the
circuit perceived effective Dk or the Rogers term of Design Dk
Example: 50 ohm microstrip transmission line circuits evaluated for Design Dk,
using the same substrate and same copper, but different thickness
4mil RO4350BTM laminate has
Design Dk = 3.95
Cross-sectional view of a thin circuit, with
exaggerated copper surface roughness

30mil RO4350B laminate has


Design Dk = 3.68

The Design Dk on the data sheet


for RO4350B laminate is 3.66
because the substrate Dk,
without copper effects (thick Cross-sectional view of a thick circuit
substrate),
CONFIDENTIAL is 3.66 21
Critical Aspects of Dielectric Constant Properties for
High Frequency Circuit Design
Thickness dependencies

Results from using


same substrate and
copper type, however
circuits using different
substrate thicknesses

All circuits were 50


ohm microstrip
transmission lines

CONFIDENTIAL 22
Critical Aspects of Dielectric Constant Properties for
High Frequency Circuit Design
Thickness dependencies

Results from same substrate


and thickness (5mil),
however using different
copper types which have
very different copper
surface roughness

This ED copper has an


average roughness of
1.8 microns RMS and
the rolled copper has
0.3 microns RMS

Smooth copper has less influence


on the propagation constant

CONFIDENTIAL The RO3003 laminate has a nominal bulk Dk of 3.0 23


Critical Aspects of Dielectric Constant Properties for
High Frequency Circuit Design

Design Dk examples and more detail

CONFIDENTIAL 24
Critical Aspects of Dielectric Constant Properties for
High Frequency Circuit Design
Design Dk examples and more details
Design Dk is not a material property, it is a circuit property

Design Dk values should be used for high frequency circuit design and modeling

Design Dk is dependent on:

The intrinsic Dk of the substrate


Thickness of the substrate
Copper surface roughness
Frequency

Circuits with higher loss have more dispersion for Design Dk

Once a Design Dk curve (Dk vs. Frequency curve) is defined, other Dk values can
be estimated relatively well

Design Dk tolerance has many variables


CONFIDENTIAL 25
Critical Aspects of Dielectric Constant Properties for
High Frequency Circuit Design
Design Dk examples and more details

Circuits with higher


loss have more
Curve with increased
dispersion
slope (more dispersion)
is higher loss circuit
The high
performance FR-4
circuits are high loss
circuits; Df 0.020
and used reverse
treat foil; relatively
smooth at 0.8
microns RMS

The RO3035
laminate is low loss;
Df of 0.0012 and
used rolled copper
with a roughness of
CONFIDENTIAL
0.3 microns RMS 26
Critical Aspects of Dielectric Constant Properties for
High Frequency Circuit Design
Design Dk examples and more details

Dk

Recall Dk-Frequency
behavior from slide 8
Df

Due to predictable Dk vs. Frequency behavior, once the slope is defined for a material at
microwave frequencies, the Dk at higher frequencies can be easily estimated

Typically the Dk vs. Frequency slope is defined from about 10 GHz up to 20 or 30 or 40 GHz

Predicted Dk values from a measured slope are usually good up to about 300 GHz
CONFIDENTIAL 27
Critical Aspects of Dielectric Constant Properties for
High Frequency Circuit Design
Design Dk examples and more details

Example: with the slope defined for 6.6mil RO4350B up to 20 GHz, the Dk can be
estimated at higher frequencies

Measured Dk = 3.86 @ 20 GHz


Measured is orange curve

Estimate Dk = 3.82 @ 100 GHz


Estimated is grey curve

CONFIDENTIAL 28
Critical Aspects of Dielectric Constant Properties for
High Frequency Circuit Design
Design Dk examples and more details

Measured results for 6.6mil RO4350B laminate Dk example up to 110 GHz

The measured results


shown to the right validate
the estimated Dk value at
100 GHz

CONFIDENTIAL 29
Critical Aspects of Dielectric Constant Properties for
High Frequency Circuit Design
Design Dk examples and more details
What is the Design Dk tolerance for a material? There is no easy answer

Since Design Dk is thickness dependent, the tolerance can be different for the same
material but at different thickness, such as 10mils thick as compared to 20mils thick

Since Design Dk is copper surface roughness dependent, the tolerance for the same
material and same thickness, can be different when using different copper

The copper surface roughness has a normal variation associated with the copper; the
roughness variation causes Design Dk variation but its impact is thickness dependent

The substrate has a normal tolerance associated with the intrinsic Dk value

The microstrip differential phase length method used to determine Design Dk has a
normal measurement accuracy which is dependent on the above concerns

Long story made short, the Design Dk tolerance is found by testing a large amount of
circuits made from the same material, same thickness, same copper type and having
normal lot-to-lot variation associated with these materials
CONFIDENTIAL 30
Critical Aspects of Dielectric Constant Properties for
High Frequency Circuit Design
Design Dk examples and more details
Dk tolerance example using 10mil RO4350B laminate:
Substrate Dk
tolerance is 0.05

Substrate thickness
tolerance is 0.001

Copper surface
roughness can vary from
~ 2 to ~ 3 microns RMS
for oz. copper

Test method accuracy


with this circuit
construction is 0.005

Total Dk range expected for


this construction is 0.115
CONFIDENTIAL 31
Critical Aspects of Dielectric Constant Properties for
High Frequency Circuit Design
Design Dk examples and more details
Dk tolerance example using 10.7mil RO4350B LoPro laminate:
Substrate Dk
tolerance is 0.05

Substrate thickness
tolerance is 0.001

Copper surface
roughness can vary from
~ 0.7 to ~ 0.9 microns
RMS for oz. copper

Test method accuracy


with this circuit
construction is 0.005

Total Dk range expected for


this construction is 0.063 Smoother copper has
CONFIDENTIAL tighter Design Dk tolerance 32
Critical Aspects of Dielectric Constant Properties for
High Frequency Circuit Design
Design Dk examples and more details

Design Dk test method; Microstrip differential phase length method

Uses microstrip transmission line circuits of different length; typically 3:1


length ratio

Circuits are:

identical in everyway except for


physical length
are made in very near proximity
of each other on the same panel
50 ohm characteristic impedance

CONFIDENTIAL 33
Critical Aspects of Dielectric Constant Properties for
High Frequency Circuit Design
Design Dk examples and more details

Phase measurements are taken on each circuit, across a wide frequency range
The microstrip phase response formula is modified to account for the two circuits of
different length

After the measured effective dielectric constant (Eff_r) is found

Using MWI-2016 or a field solver, combined with inputted circuit dimensions, the Dk of the
material at that specific frequency is found by a convergence of the modeled effective Dk to
the measured effective dielectric constant

The frequency is incremented and the procedure is performed again repetitively to get a Dk
vs. frequency curve
CONFIDENTIAL 34
Critical Aspects of Dielectric Constant Properties for
High Frequency Circuit Design
Design Dk examples and more details

Extremely wideband
Dk vs. Frequency

CONFIDENTIAL 35
Critical Aspects of Dielectric Constant Properties for
High Frequency Circuit Design
Design Dk examples and more details

Design Dk for other constructions, GCPW

Design Dk is defined using microstrip transmission line circuits

The Design Dk values can be used as approximate values for Grounded Coplanar
Waveguide (GCPW) circuits

Tightly coupled GCPW will have lower Design Dk due to less roughness effect

Design Dk will be relatively accurate for moderately and loosely coupled GCPW

Tightly coupled GCPW has more current density on the


coplanar sidewalls and less in the copper-substrate region
where surface roughness impact phase velocity
CONFIDENTIAL 36
Critical Aspects of Dielectric Constant Properties for
High Frequency Circuit Design
Design Dk examples and more details
Design Dk for other constructions, Stripline

Design Dk values can be used for stripline, however there are more variables to consider

Very often the prepreg used to bond layers together will have a different intrinsic
Dk value than the laminate

There are 4 copper-substrate interfaces in a stripline and some of these interfaces


will have different copper surface roughness

The Design Dk value used for the prepreg can be complicated by how the prepreg is
used

If the prepreg is used between two blank cores, there is no copper influence
so the Design Dk of the prepreg would be the intrinsic Dk value of the material

If the prepreg is used with only copper on one side then the Design Dk value
needs to be adjusted some, because Design Dk assumes copper on 2 sides

CONFIDENTIAL 37
Critical Aspects of Dielectric Constant Properties for
High Frequency Circuit Design
Design Dk examples and more details

Design Dk for other constructions, Stripline

A core construction can be different than a foil lam construction for copper roughness effects
4 copper-substrate interfaces Core construction

Core construction can have 3 of 4


copper-substrate the same

The foil lam construction may only Foil lam construction


have 2 of the 4 copper-substrate
interfaces the same

CONFIDENTIAL 38
Critical Aspects of Dielectric Constant Properties for
High Frequency Circuit Design

Where to find Design Dk information

CONFIDENTIAL 39
Critical Aspects of Dielectric Constant Properties for
High Frequency Circuit Design
Where to find Design Dk information

For some high volume Rogers circuit materials we have a Design Reference

The Design Reference gives Design Dk information for many different


thicknesses of that particular material

For Rogers materials where less Design Dk measurements have been made,
we can still offer educated estimates which should be helpful

Example on the following pages are from the Design Reference for RO4350B
(RO4835) and RO4350B LoPro (RO4835 LoPro) laminates

CONFIDENTIAL 40
Critical Aspects of Dielectric Constant Properties for
High Frequency Circuit Design
Where to find Design Dk information

Design Dk values for


Frequency dependent
applications

Laminates:
RO4350BTM
RO4350B LoPro
RO4835TM
RO4835 LoPro

CONFIDENTIAL 41
Critical Aspects of Dielectric Constant Properties for
High Frequency Circuit Design
Where to find Design Dk information

Design Dk values for Non - Frequency dependent applications

These Design Dk values are typically used for determining characteristic impedance for PCBs
It is considered a wideband Design Dk and not frequency dependent
These values are used for time domain applications

Example of conductor width differences between RO4350B and RO4350B LoPro materials

CONFIDENTIAL 42
Critical Aspects of Dielectric Constant Properties for
High Frequency Circuit Design
Where to find Design Dk information

The Design Reference has many


10mil RO4350B and
charts for Frequency Dependent
10.7mil RO4350B LoPro laminate
Design Dk using different thicknesses

20mil RO4350B and


20.7mil RO4350B LoPro laminate

30mil RO4350B and


30.7mil RO4350B LoPro laminate

CONFIDENTIAL 43
Critical Aspects of Dielectric Constant Properties for
High Frequency Circuit Design
Where to find Design Dk information

The downloadable version of MWI-2014 or MWI-2016 has the Design Dk built-in

Select the desired material, thickness and frequency, then the Design Dk will be shown

This is an example of
Design Dk for a
frequency dependent
application at 3 GHz

Use RF Design
Design Dk Dk values

CONFIDENTIAL 44
Critical Aspects of Dielectric Constant Properties for
High Frequency Circuit Design
Where to find Design Dk information

The downloadable version of MWI-2014 or MWI-2016 has the Design Dk built-in

Select the desired material and thickness, then the Design Dk will be shown

This is an example of
Design Dk for
determining
characteristic
impedance or for a
digital or wideband
application

Use Digital Dk values


Design Dk
CONFIDENTIAL 45
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CONFIDENTIAL 46