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Research Papers

Novel Manufacturing Route for Scale Up Production of Terahertz Technology Devices

[+] Author and Article Information
P. Penchev

School of Mechanical Engineering,
University of Birmingham,
Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TT, UK
e-mail: pxp931@bham.ac.uk

X. Shang

School of Mechanical Engineering;School of Electronic, Electrical and Systems Engineering,
University of Birmingham,
Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TT, UK
e-mail: x.shang@bham.ac.uk

S. Dimov

School of Mechanical Engineering,
University of Birmingham,
Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TT, UK
e-mail: s.s.dimov@bham.ac.uk

M. Lancaster

School of Electronic, Electrical
and Systems Engineering,
University of Birmingham,
Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TT, UK
e-mail: m.j.lancaster@bham.ac.uk

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Manufacturing Engineering Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF MICRO- AND NANO-MANUFACTURING. Manuscript received August 13, 2015; final manuscript received January 22, 2016; published online March 21, 2016. Assoc. Editor: Gloria Wiens.

J. Micro Nano-Manuf 4(2), 021002 (Mar 21, 2016) (14 pages) Paper No: JMNM-15-1058; doi: 10.1115/1.4032688 History: Received August 13, 2015; Revised January 22, 2016

The advances in the Terahertz (THz) technology drive the needs for the design and manufacture of waveguide devices that integrate complex three-dimensional (3D) miniaturized components with meso- and micro-scale functional features and structures. Typical dimensions of the waveguide functional structures are in the range from 200 μm to 50 μm and dimensions decrease with the increase in the operating frequency of the waveguide devices. Technological requirements that are critical for achieving the desired microwave filtering performance of the waveguides include geometrical accuracy, alignment between functional features and surface integrity. In this context, this paper presents a novel manufacturing route for the scaled-up production of THz components that integrate computer numerical control (CNC) milling and laser micromachining. A solution to overcome the resulting tapering of the laser-machined structures while achieving a high accuracy and surface integrity of the machined features is applied in this research. In addition, an approach for two-side processing of waveguide structures within one laser machining setup is described. The capabilities of the proposed manufacturing process chain are demonstrated on two THz waveguide components that are functionally tested to assess the effects of the achieved machining results on devices' performance. Experimental results show that the proposed process chain can address the manufacturing requirements of THz waveguide filters, in particular the process chain is capable of producing filters with geometrical accuracy better than 10 μm, side wall taper angle deviation of less than 1 deg from vertical (90 deg), waveguide cavities corner radius better than 15 μm, and surface roughness (Sa) better than 1.5 μm. The manufacturing efficiency demonstrated in this feasibility study also provides sufficient evidences to argue that the proposed multistage manufacturing technique is a very promising solution for the serial production of small to medium batches of THz waveguide components. Finally, analyses of the manufacturing capabilities of the proposed process chain and the photoresist-based technologies were performed to clearly demonstrate the advantages of the proposed process chain over current waveguide fabrication solutions.

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Figures

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Fig. 1

The CAD model of a representative waveguide filter which operates at the 220–350 GHz range of the electromagnetic spectrum

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Fig. 2

Stepwise description of the proposed multistage manufacturing solution for the production of THz devices

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Fig. 5

(a) The CAD model of the waveguide calibration artifact and (b) the relative positions of alignment and fixing holes with respect to the center of the sample

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Fig. 8

WR-3 straight through waveguide section produced with one-side machining strategy: top view of the rectangular through hole at its entrance (a) and at its exit (b), (c) 3D view of side wall after tapering angle improvements, and (d) the side wall depth profile at the specified location in (c)

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Fig. 9

WR-3 straight through waveguide section produced with two-side machining strategy: top view of rectangular through hole at its entrance (a) and at (b) the exit side of the sample, (c) 3D view of side wall after taper angle improvements, and (d) extracted side wall depth profile at the specified location in (c)

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Fig. 3

The LMM module for the experimental tests

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Fig. 4

The setup used to analyze the functional performance of the THz devices

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Fig. 6

Dependences of MRR and surface integrity on laser pulse energy and laser beam spot diameter

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Fig. 12

Machining results of the produced WR3-band waveguide filter in terms of: (a) Surface roughness (Sa) measurement at the bottom of the produced waveguide, (b) high magnification view of the surface topography at the bottom surface of the waveguide, and (c) corner radius measurement

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Fig. 13

Measurement results of the WR-3 filter

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Fig. 7

A representative sample with drilled alignment and fixing holes prior to the laser machining of the waveguide functional structures: (a) top view of the sample with dimensions of drilled alignment and fixing holes, (b) 3D view of one alignment hole, and (c) top view of the alignment hole from (b) with its dimensions

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Fig. 10

Measured transmission responses of the WR-3 straight through waveguide section produced employing the two-side machining strategy

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Fig. 11

Laser machined waveguide filter: (a) top view with dimensions, (b) 3D view of one side wall, and (c) the side wall depth profile at the specified location in (b)

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