What is RF Microwave PCB?

High frequency PCBs refer to a special type of PCB with high electromagnetic frequency, used for PCBs in the fields of high frequency (frequency greater than 300MHz or wavelength less than 1 meter) and microwave (frequency greater than 3GHz or wavelength less than 0.1 meter). It is a PCB produced on a microwave substrate copper clad board using partial processes of ordinary rigid circuit board manufacturing methods or special processing methods. Generally speaking, high-frequency PCBs can be defined as PCBs with frequencies above 1GHz. hartk stealthburner pcb

All high-frequency PCBs operating above 100 MHz are called RF PCBs, while microwave RF PCBs operate above 2GHz. Due to the difficulty in managing heat transfer characteristics from signal sensitivity, the design of these PCBs has become difficult. The use of materials with low dielectric constant, high coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE), and low loss tangent can help simplify the construction process. The PCB materials commonly used for constructing RF and microwave PCBs are ceramic filled hydrocarbons, PTFE, FEP, LCP, Rogers RO laminates with woven or micro glass fibers, high-performance FR-4, etc. In terms of manufacturing difficulty, RF microwave PCBs are more difficult than ordinary PCBs. RF PCBs are very sensitive to factors such as noise, impedance, electromagnetism, and ESds, all of which can affect the performance of RF PCBs. Therefore, it is necessary to choose high-quality PCB manufacturers.

Generally, substrate materials exhibit a significant variation in DK and DF values under conditions of frequency variation. Especially in the frequency range of l MHz to l GHz, the changes in their DK and DF values are more significant. For example, the DK value of a general epoxy resin fiberglass cloth based substrate material (general FR-4) at a frequency of lMHz is 4.7, while the DK value changes to 4.19 at a frequency of lGHz. Above lGHz, the trend of its DK value changes gently. The trend of its change is that it decreases with the increase of frequency (but the amplitude of change is not significant). For example, at l0GHz, the DK value of FR-4 is generally 4.15. Substrate materials with high-speed and high-frequency characteristics have relatively small changes in DK value under frequency changes. From lMHz to lGHz, DK mostly remains within the range of 0.02. The DK value shows a slight downward trend under different frequency conditions from low to high.

The dielectric loss factor (DF) of general substrate materials undergoes greater changes in DF values than DK due to frequency changes, especially in the high-frequency range. The variation pattern tends to increase, therefore, when evaluating the high-frequency characteristics of a substrate material, the focus of investigation is its DF value variation. There are two distinct types of substrate materials with high-speed and high-frequency characteristics in terms of their variation characteristics at high frequencies: one is that their (DF) values change very little with frequency. There is also a type of substrate material that, although similar in magnitude to general substrate materials, has a lower (DF) value.

Commonly used high-speed plates include:
(1) Rogers: RO4003, RO3003, RO4350, RO5880, etc
(2) Taiyao TUC: Tuc862, 872SLK, 883, 933, etc
(3) Panasonic: Megtron 4, Megtron 6, etc
(4) Isola: FR408HR, IS620, IS680, etc
(5) Nelco: N4000-13, N4000-13EPSI, etc
(6) Dongguan Shengyi, Taizhou Wangling, Taixing Microwave, etc

Advantages of RF PCB:
(1) The use of materials with low CTE helps to maintain stability of PCB structures in high-temperature environments.
(2) By using a multi-layer board stacking structure, the assembly cost of RF and microwave PCBs can be reduced. This structure also contributes to the optimal performance of PCBs.
(3) Stable Er and low loss tangent help to quickly transmit high-frequency signals through these PCB boards. Moreover, the impedance is low during this transmission period.

These advantages make RF PCBs very suitable for various applications, including wireless transmission and other computer networking systems. RF microwave PCBs are used in various wireless technology based products. If you are developing robots, smartphones, security applications, or sensors. hartk stealthburner pcb

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