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Circuit-Board-Integrated transformers design and manufacture

 
: Matz, Richard; Rabe, Torsten; Töpfer, Jörg; Ziesche, Steffen

:

Journal of Ceramic Science and Technology 2020 (2020), No.1, pp.44-61
ISSN: 2190-9385
Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung BMBF (Deutschland)
03X4503B; NIKOL
Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung BMBF (Deutschland)
03X4503F; NIKOL
Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung BMBF (Deutschland)
16N10663; ALFERMO
Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung BMBF (Deutschland)
16N10664; ALFERMO
Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung BMBF (Deutschland)
16N10668; ALFERMO
Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung BMBF (Deutschland)
16N11657; KAIROS
Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung BMBF (Deutschland)
16N11658; KAIROS
English
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IKTS ()
ceramic multilayer technology; transformer; LTCC

Abstract
Transformers couple two sections of a circuit by electromagnetic induction. They are widely used to either transform alternating voltage levels or to transmit power or signals across galvanic isolation. Both of these functions are essential for the operation of sensors and controllers. Covering all aspects from idea to circuit performance and from design to manufacture, this paper presents the first comprehensive description of the making of miniaturized, rugged, up-to-100 W transformers for embedding into multilayer circuit boards. For circular coils, the well-manageable Ampere-Laplace law is shown to yield reliable designs, predicting correctly the performance of manufactured hardware. This enables fast design without lengthy finite element modelling. In the low-power linear regime, basic relations describe how the device's characteristics evolve from the material properties and device structure. While scattering parameters are useful for the analysis of isolated transformers with their intrinsic parasitics, the interaction with the components of the final circuit and the aspects of power and efficiency are addressed by chain matrixes. While these design rules are similar for multilayer boards of different material (like epoxy, Teflon, ceramics), the manufacturing of ceramic board transformers is considered here in detail. Low-temperature-cofired ceramic (LTCC) boards being sintered at 900 °C are particularly suited for harsh environments with chemical or thermal stress as frequently found at sensor positions. The transformer performance usually benefits from or even requires an integrated ceramic core of higher permeability, a ferrite, to shape the magnetic flux. Methods to sinter ferrites inside a dielectric ceramic multilayer and to measure their performance are therefore described in detail. As the sintering behaviour of dielectric and magnetic ceramics differs considerably, their simultaneous sintering is challenging. However, the sintering temperatures of the useful MnZn and NiZnCu ferrites can be lowered to that of the dielectric material with only moderate loss of permeability by glass additives. Furthermore, thermal mismatch between materials causes catastrophic failure or at least stress and loss of magnetic performance during cooling to room temperature after sintering. This is avoidable by either adjusting the thermal expansion coefficient of the ferrite or by enclosing the ferrite between stress-releasing separation layers. We present the state of the art in materials development according to the first approach as well as fully functional devices made with the second technique. Other applications not directly addressed but well related to this work are characterized by low load resistance in relation to the coil resistance of the transformer. Efficient power transmission then requires that technological solutions are applied to achieve the lowest possible resistive loss inside the coils by an enlarged conductor cross-section. As this is particularly challenging for LTCC boards, a technique is discussed to fabricate conductor traces with a thickness larger than their width.

: http://publica.fraunhofer.de/documents/N-590136.html