Microstrip Circuit and Material Characterization System

electrical and electronics
Microstrip Circuit and Material Characterization System (GSC-TOPS-219)
Allows thin-film microwave line superconductors to be characterized for ohmic loss and effective dielectric constant at millimeter wave frequencies
Overview
Characterizing microstrip superconducting film at millimeter wave frequencies is difficult without undergoing a complex thin film fabrication process. This characterization includes measuring the ohmic loss at a resolution of 10-100 parts per million (ppm). Typically, characterizing microstrip superconducting film utilizes antenna-coupled bolometers as part of the superconducting film structure. Bolometers are components that measure incident electromagnetic radiation via the heating of a material with a temperature-dependent electrical resistance. However, this process is disadvantageous as embedded detectors, such as bolometers, makes the superconducting film fabrication process more difficult. This process also requires various millimeter wave components, further complicating film fabrication. Additionally, characterizing superconducting film requires custom equipment and can vary among various fabrication processes. The Microstrip Characterization System avoids a complex fabrication process.

The Technology
The Microstrip Circuit and Material Characterization System can measure superconducting film ohmic loss at millimeter wave frequencies using a vector network analyzer. The vector network analyzer measures amplitude and phase properties of the network parameters of the film. The system consists of a two-port waveguide structure. The ports are used to transmit and receive millimeter wave power into and out of the superconducting film. The waveguide structure is used to transform waveguide characteristic impedance to microstrip line impedance over broad ranges of frequencies to make contact with the superconducting film. The superconducting film contains microstrip line resonators that can be used to measure ohmic loss and the effective dielectric constant at various frequencies. The Microstrip Circuit and Material Characterization System functions by connecting to a millimeter wave transmitter and receiver. The system is used to measure transmission loss of a microstrip line sample. For superconducting microstrip film measurement, the device needs to be cooled below the superconductor's critical temperature in order to measure the film ohmic loss and the transmission line's propagation constant. The system can be used to measure loss in the microstrip line as low as 10 ppm. The system is operable within a temperature range from 0K to 320K.
The Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) mission is a Solar Terrestrial Probes mission comprising four identically instrumented spacecraft that will use Earth's magnetosphere as a laboratory to study the microphysics of three fundamental plasma processes: magnetic reconnection, energetic particle acceleration, and turbulence. These processes occur in all astrophysical plasma systems but can be studied in situ only in our solar system and most efficiently only in Earth's magnetosphere, where they control the dynamics of the geospace environment and play an important role in the processes known as "space weather."
Benefits
  • Highly accurate measurement capabilities
  • Functional in extreme cold temperatures
  • Enables usage of standard off-the-shelf peripherals

Applications
  • Compact waveguide characterization probe
  • Measurement of active or passive microstrip line devices with DC probing capability
Technology Details

electrical and electronics
GSC-TOPS-219
GSC-17764-1
10483610
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