Reconfigurable Devices using Liquid Crystal at Microwave Frequencies in Substrate Integrated Waveguide.




  Juan Rafael Sánchez Marín


  Vicente E. Boria Esbert
  Carmen Bachiller Martín


The number of telecommunication services has increased significantly in recent decades. The use of smartphones, as well as the Internet of Things, is generating a saturation of the electromagnetic spectrum. Therefore, the requirements of microwave systems have changed to adapt to these new developments and related challenges.
For achieving these needs, the development of devices with low cost, volume, weight and power consumption is sought. In addition, it interests to be spectrally efficient, to offer high performance, and to be easily integrated with other devices. Among all microwave devices, filters are key elements within mobile and wireless communication systems. In this context, the design of filters that meet the aforementioned requirements has become a topic of great interest. For solving this problem, Substrate Integrated Waveguide (SIW) technology has emerged, which allows the implementation of filters with a small size and to be easily integrated with other devices in planar technology. This technology has better power handling and loss performance than Printed Circuit Board (PCB) technology, although they do not have the performance of the classic waveguide counterpart.
On the other hand, the spectral saturation also leads to the study of filters with tunable frequency response, that is, they can change their central frequency and bandwidth, in order to fulfil the changing system requirements.
Therefore, the general objective of this PhD Thesis work is the analysis and design of new reconfigurable filters in integrated technology. The work begins with the study of the basics of microwave filters until the design of reconfigurable resonators in SIW technology, using Liquid Crystal (LC) as reconfiguration material.
Firstly, the influence that the change of the dielectric permittivity value inside the filtering structures have on the frequency response has been studied. Particularly, filters have been obtained by alternating line sections with and without dielectric material inside an empty SIW (Empty Substrate Integrated Waveguide (ESIW)).
Once this is done, it is proceed to the study of materials that have a variable dielectric permittivity value. Specifically, the characterization of different LC mixtures at microwave frequencies has been carried out. This material changes its permittivity value when an electric or magnetic bias field is applied.
A low-frequency decoupled structure is required for the reconfiguration of filters, that is, structures with more than one conductor. For that, a strategy for decoupling ESIW structures has been developed, i.e, the Decoupled Empty Substrate Integrated Waveguide (DESIW) technology.
Finally, some resonators have been designed in DESIW technology, which have been filled with LC. The use of LC allows to tune their frequency response. These resonators are basic elements for the development of microwave filters. So that, the knowledge obtained in this Thesis work is a good basis for future works in this technology that allow for achieving high performance filters.