Highly Reliable and Repeatable Soldering Technique for Assembling Empty Substrate Integrated Waveguide Devices
Martínez, Juan Angel
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In this paper a novel soldering technique that improves the fabrication process of Empty Substrate Integrated Waveguide (ESIW) devices is presented. Until now, in order to fabricate an ESIW device, the tin solder paste was distributed, before assembling, on the contact surface between layers, in order to ensure a good electrical contact. This process has a low degree of repeatability (random soldering thickness and distribution of tin) and reliability (significant number of non-working prototypes due to tin overflow). In this work, we propose the mechanization of a set of plated vias just next to the metallized walls of the ESIW in the central layer. Next, in the top and bottom covers that close this ESIW, additional plated vias are drilled in the same position, so that, when the device is assembled (using screws or rivets), metallized holes can be seen passing through the whole structure from top to bottom. These holes are then used as soldering vias that can guide the tin paste straight to the point where it is needed. When the paste is dried, soldered vias ensure a very good electrical contact between layers. Besides, the fluid tin fills any small gap that appears between layers, thus providing a very good electrical contact and mechanical union. This novel soldering technique has been validated with experimental results. Several prototypes of filters centered at 13 and 35 GHz have been fabricated, proving the repeatability and reliability of the proposed soldering technique.