PurposeThis paper aims to focus on the application of low temperature co-fired ceramic (LTCC) technology in the fabrication of a microfluidic module with integrated microwave components. The design, technology and performance of such an LTCC-based module is investigated. The rapid heating of liquid samples on a microliter scale is shown to be possible with the use of microwaves.Design/methodology/approachThe developed microwave-microfluidic module was fabricated using well-known LTCC technology. The finite element method was used to design the geometry of the microwave circuit. Various numerical simulations for different liquids were performed. Finally, the performance of the real LTCC-based microwave-microfluidic module was examined experimentally.FindingsLTCC materials and technology can be used in the fabrication of microfluidic modules which use microwaves in the heating of the liquid sample. LTCC technology permits the fabrication of matching circuits with appropriate geometry, whereas microwave power can be used to heat up the liquid samples on a microliter scale.Research limitations/implicationsThe main limitation of the presented work is found to be in conjunction with LTCC technology. The dimensions and shape of the deposited conductors (e.g. microstrip line, matching circuit) depend on the screen-printing process. A line with resolution lower than 75 µm with well-defined edges is difficult to obtain. This can have an effect on the high-frequency properties of the LTCC modules.Practical implicationsThe presented LTCC-based microfluidic module with integrated microwave circuits provides an opportunity for the further development of various micro-total analysis systems or lab-on-chips in which the rapid heating of liquid samples in low volumes is needed (e.g. miniature real-time polymerase chain reaction thermocycler).Originality/valueExamples of the application of LTCC technology in the fabrication of microwave circuits and microfluidic systems can be found in the available literature. However, the LTCC-based module which combines microwave and microfluidic components has yet to have been reported. The preliminary work on the design, fabrication and properties of the LTCC microfluidic module with integrated microwave components is presented in this paper.
PurposeThe purpose of this study is to design, fabricate and investigate low-temperature co-fired ceramic (LTCC) structures with integrated microfluidic elements. Special attention is paid to the study of fluid properties of micro-channels and microvalves, which are important constitutive parts of both, microfluidic systems and individual microfluidic devices.Design/methodology/approachSeveral test patterns of fluid channels with different geometry and different types of valves were designed and realized in LTCC technology. All test structures were tested under the flow of two fluids (liquids): water and isopropyl alcohol. Flow rates at different applied pressure were measured and hydrodynamic resistance and diode effect were calculated.FindingsThe investigation of the channels showed that viscosity of fluidic media has significant influence on the hydrodynamic resistance in channels with rectangular cross-section, while this effect is small on channels with square cross-section. The viscosity also has a decisive influence on the diode effect of different shape of valves, and therefore, it is important in the selection of the valve in practical applications.Research limitations/implicationsIn this work, the investigation of hydrodynamic resistance of channels and diode effect of passive valves is limited on selected geometry and only on two fluidic media and two applied pressures. All these and some other parameters have a significant influence on fluidic properties, but this will be the topic of the next research work, which will be supported by numerical modelling.Practical implicationsThe presented results are useful in the future designing process of LTCC-based microfluidic devices and systems.Originality/valueMicrofluidic in the LTCC structures is an unconventional use of this technology. Therefore, the fluid properties are relatively unsearched. On the other hand, the global use of microfluidic devices and systems is growing rapidly in various applications. They are mostly made by polymer materials, however, in more demanding applications; ceramic is a useful alternative.
PurposeThe purpose of this study is to design a simple and cheap temperature transducer with frequency output with high measurement resolution in low temperature co-fired ceramic (LTCC) technology by using the distributed Resistance-Capacitance (RC) networks in high-pass filter configuration.Design/methodology/approachThis paper presents the concept of elaboration of a transducer of temperature into frequency, its implementation in LTCC technology and test results. Construction and technological works are supported by a series of computer simulations of the process of indirect adjustment of the whole system.FindingsThe investigation results of the proposed and developed system have confirmed the correctness of the adopted concept, and the practical usefulness of an applied original method of indirect adjusting of the transducer.Practical implicationsThe study contains practical and useful information about the principles of designing and manufacturing of the converters of the different physical quantities into frequency by using the elements with distributed parameters made in LTCC technology which was presented on the example of a temperature transducer.Originality/valueThe study presents the original solution of a simple transducer with the use of RC structures with distributed parameters made in LTCC technology and the idea of indirect adjustment of the elements to a desired value.
PurposeThe purpose of this study was to design, fabricate and test devices based on transformers integrated with low-temperature co-fired ceramic (LTCC) modules with isolation between primary and secondary windings at the level between 6 and 12 kV.Design/methodology/approachInsulating properties of the LTCC were examined. Dielectric strength and volume resistivity were determined for common LTCC tapes: 951 (DuPont), 41020, 41060 (ESL), A6M (Ferro) and SK47 (KEKO). According to the determined properties, three different devices were designed, fabricated and tested: a compact DC/DC converter, a galvanic separator for serial digital bus and a transformer for high-voltage generator.FindingsBreakdown field intensity higher than 40 kV/mm was obtained for the test samples set, whereas the best breakdown field intensity of about 90 kV/mm was obtained for 951 tape. The materials 41020 and 951 exhibited the highest volume resistivity. Fabricated devices exhibited safe operation up to a potential difference of 10 kV, limited by minimum clearance. Long-term stability was assured by over 20 kV strength of inner dielectric.Practical implicationsThis paper contains description of three devices made in the LTCC technology for application in systems with high-voltage isolation requirement, for example, for power or railway power networks.Originality/valueThe results show that LTCC is a suitable material for fabrication of high-voltage devices with integrated passives. Technology and properties of three examples of such devices are described, demonstrating the ability of the LTCC technology for application in reliable high-voltage devices and systems.
PurposeThe purpose of this paper is to analyse the possibilities of mechanical switch replacement by capacitive film touch sensor in applications requiring high reliability and short response time. Advantage of replacing mechanical switch by capacitive touch sensor is no mechanical wear and possible implementation of sensor in application where the switch could not be used or where the flexibility of the sensor substrate is required. The aim of this work is to develop a capacitive touch sensor with the advantage of maximum mechanical resistance, short response time and high sensitivity.Design/methodology/approachBased on various possible sensors layouts, the authors realized 18 different (14 self-capacitance and four mutual capacitance) topologies of capacitive sensor for touch applications. Three different technologies – PCB, LTCC and polymer technology – were used to characterize sensor’s behaviour. For precise characterization of different layouts realized on various substrates, the authors used integrated circuit FDC2214 capacitance-to-digital converter.FindingsSensing range of the capacitive touch (proximity) sensor is affected by the per cent of area covered by the sensor, and it does not depend on topology of sensor. The highest sensing range offers PCB technology. Flexible substrates can be used as proper substituent to rigid PCB.Originality/valueThe novelty of this work lies in finding the touch capacitive sensors that allow shorter switching times compared to standard mechanical switches.
PurposeThe purpose of the paper is to show up the current possibilities by combination of classic thick-film technology with advanced processing. Thick-film hybrid ceramic substrates have been a base for highly reliable devices for space, aerospace, medical and industrial applications since many years. The combination of classic thick-film printing with advanced technologies for fine line structuring provides substrates best suited for packaging solutions with challenging requirements, such as temperature stability and extended product lifetime. Combined with state of the art assembly technologies, thick-film substrates are used in highly demanding industries.Design/methodology/approachIn recent years, several technologies for fine line structuring have been introduced, e.g. fine line printing, photo imaging, etching, laser structuring for local chip fan-out or fine line structuring on single layers. For further miniaturization of thick-film multilayers circuits, after solving the fine line resolution, the reduction of electrical connection of conductive layers through printed insulation/dielectric layer (via) diameters to connect the layers should be addressed.FindingsThe focus of this paper is to show the results of combining fine line structuring with laser microvias and to compare laser drilling in thick-films with different established via forming technologies.Originality/valueThe reduction of via size to 60 µm – smaller than 50% compared to using state-of-the-art printing technologies enables a solution for significant relaxation of current design possibilities.
PurposeThe purpose of this paper is to analyze a presentation of eddy current sensing coils for the turbo charger speed measurement, which were manufactured with the low temperature co-fired ceramic (LTCC) technology. The goal is to be able to manufacture small robust coils with complex geometries and improved signal output.Design/methodology/approachA crucial element for its performance is the quality factor of the embedded coil. Thanks to the use of the developed LTCC manufacturing processes, the lateral wounding distance of the printed coils can be reduced to 30 µm, and simultaneously, the aspect ratio should be enlarged compared to standard LTCC technologies. By the use of a novel printed double-D coil design, the overall sensor characteristics will be improved.FindingsThe metallization thickness can be simultaneously enhanced that results in the internal resistance being reduced. Thus, the inductivity and the ohmic resistance achieve an obvious optimization that results in significant improvement of the quality factor of the novel coils when compared to standard technologies. Embedded micro coils have a sintered metallization aspect ratio of more than one and thus an optimal performance differing clearly from prior art. Their reliability was proven through temperature cycle tests of over more than 1,300 h.Research limitations/implicationsThe developed LTCC coil technology will be introduced in the JAQUET sensor portfolio of TE Connectivity for the measurement of turbocharger speed on both passenger cars and trucks. The measurement and control of turbochargers speed enables the optimal regulation of airflow into the engine thereby improving the fuel economy and leading to a reduction of engine emissions.Originality/valueThis paper shows fabrication and performance of the original manufactured LTCC coil for turbocharger speed sensors and its optimized signal output by the novel design.
PurposeThe purpose of this paper is to develop a method of preparing spray-on dopant solutions that enable obtaining a p+ region forming a back-surface field (BSF) during the diffusion doping process. The spray-on method used allows to decrease the costs of dopant solution application, which is particularly significant for new low-cost production processes.Design/methodology/approachThis paper presents steps of production of high concentration boron dopant solutions enabling diffusion doping of crystalline p-type silicon surfaces. To check the fabricated dopant solutions for stability and suitability for spray-on application, their viscosity and density were measured in week-long intervals. The dopant solutions described in this paper were used in a series of diffusion doping processes to confirm their suitability for BSF production.FindingsA method of preparing dopant solutions with parameters enabling depositing them on silicon wafers by the spray-on method has been established. Due to hygroscopic properties of the researched dopant solutions, a maximum surrounding atmosphere humidity has been established. The solutions should not be applied by the spray-on method, if this humidity value is exceeded. The conducted derivatographic examination enabled establishing optimal drying conditions.Originality/valueThe paper presents a new composition of a dopant solution which contains high concentration of boron and may be applied by the spray-on method. Derivatographic examination results, as well as equations describing the relation between dopant solution density and viscosity and storage time are also original for this research. The established dependencies between the sheet resistance of the fabricated BSF and the diffusion doping time are other new elements described in the paper.
PurposeThe purpose of this study is to verify the possibility of applying alumina (Al2O3) as the passivation and antireflective coating in silicon solar cells.Design/methodology/approachModel of a studied structure contains the following layers: Al2O3/n+/n-type Si/p+/Al2O3. Optical parameters of the aluminium oxide films on silicon wafers were measured in the range of wavelengths from 250 to 1,400 nm with a spectrophotometer Perkin Elmer Lambda 900. The minority carrier lifetime at the start of the n-type Si base material and after each of the next technological process was analysed by a quasi-steady-state photoconductance technique. The electrical parameters of the solar cells fabricated with four different thickness of the Al2O3 layer were determined on the basis of the current-voltage (I-V) characteristics. The silicon solar cells of 25 cm2 area and 300 µm thickness were investigated.FindingsThe optimum thickness of alumina as passivation layer is 90 nm. However, considering also antireflective properties of the first layer of a photovoltaic cell, the best structure is silicon with alumina passivation layer of 30 nm thickness and with TiO2 antireflective coatings of 60 nm thickness. Such solution has allowed to produce the cells with the fill factor of 0.77 and open circuit voltage of 618 mV.Originality/valueMeasurements confirmed the possibility of applying the Al2O3 as a passivation and antireflective coating (obtained by atomic layer deposition method) for improving the efficiency of solar cells.
Grzesiak, Wojciech; Guzdek, Piotr; Maćków, Piotr; Zaraska, Krzysztof; Zbieć, Michal; Jakubowski, Mariusz; Obrębski, Dariusz; Boguszewicz, Piotr; Solnica, Dariusz; Iwanicki, Pawel; Linke, Sebastian; Mahlkow, Adrian
PurposeThe purpose of this paper is to present issues related to the design of a modern lighting system based on LED technology. The developed system provides lighting with a high colour rendering index (up to 98); it also has many innovative functions, which make its implementation bring significant energy savings and increase the comfort of work.Design/methodology/approachIn contrast to typical solutions, the dynamic synthesis of white light from six component colours was used in the presented project. This process is controlled by a microcontroller, and there is a colour temperature sensor in the feedback loop. The communication between smart luminaires and sensor modules is provided by means of a ZigBee wireless network.FindingsThe correctness of the proposed methodology has been proved by measurements and laboratory tests.Research limitations/implicationsThe process of improving the lighting system is continued and significant changes in the spectrum of used sensors are expected.Practical implicationsThe proposed system based on mixing light from six components is an innovative solution that besides undoubted advantages entails a more elaborate electronic circuitry. However, good characteristics of the obtained light, as well as the possibility of compensating for changes in colour temperature of natural light and reducing the impact of aging of LEDs, in the authors’ opinion, make the proposed solution find its place on the market.Originality/valueThe proposed solution is original, both in terms of the light mixing technique and advanced functionality offered by the system.