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USOO588.

6590A
United States Patent (19) 11 Patent Number: 5,886,590
Quan et al. (45) Date of Patent: Mar 23, 1999
54) MICROSTRIP TO COAX VERTICAL 5,675,302 10/1997 Howard et al. ..................... 333/260 X
LAUNCHERUSING FUZZ. BUTTON AND
SOLDERLESS INTERCONNECTS Primary Examiner Paul Gensler
Attorney, Agent, or Firm Michael W. Sales
75 Inventors: Clifton Quan, Arcadia; Steven W. 57 ABSTRACT
Drost, Sherman Oaks; Mark Y.
Hashimoto, Torrance; Rosie M. CoaX to microStrip orthogonal launchers that use a com
Jorgenson, Norwalk, all of Calif. pressible fuZZ button center conductor as a SolderleSS inter
connect. The launcher comprises a coaxial connector having
73 Assignee: Hughes Electronics Corporation, El a center conductor that contacts a compressible fuzz button
Segundo, Calif. interconnect. In certain embodiments, the fuZZ button inter
connect directly contacts one end of a microStrip line. In
21 Appl. No.: 923,314 another embodiment, the microStrip line is formed on a
curved microStrip circuit board, and the fuZZ button inter
22 Filed: Sep. 4, 1997 connect contacts a pin that has a thin metal tab that is
(51) Int. Cl. .................................................. H01P1/04 adhesively Secured to the One end of the microStrip line. In
52 U.S. Cl. ............................ 333/33; 333/260; 439/581; all embodiments, a Second coaxial connector has a center
439/582 conductor that contacts the opposite end of the microStrip
58 Field of Search ............................. 333/33, 246, 260: conductor line. The present invention eliminates need for
439/63 578 581 583 precise Soldering by using the fuZZ button interconnect to
s s s create a SolderleSS compression contact between the coaxial
56) References Cited connector and the microStrip line. The present invention
provides a simple way to vertically launch an RF signal onto
U.S. PATENT DOCUMENTS microStrip transmission line from a coaxial cable and oper
5,552,752 9/1996 Sturdivant et al. ................. sox ates at frequencies up to 18 GHz.
5,618.205 4/1997 Riddle et al. ............ 333/33 X
5,668.509 9/1997 Hoffmeister et al. ..................... 333/33 11 Claims, 5 Drawing Sheets
U.S. Patent Mar 23, 1999 Sheet 1 of 5 5,886,590

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U.S. Patent Mar 23, 1999 Sheet 2 of 5 5,886,590
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U.S. Patent Mar 23, 1999 Sheet 3 of 5 5,886,590

RETURN
MICROSTRIP FUZZ. BUTTON LOSS
INPUT INPUT
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FREQUENCY (GHz)
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FREQUENCY (GHz)
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U.S. Patent Mar 23, 1999 Sheet 4 of 5 5,886,590

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U.S. Patent Mar 23, 1999 Sheet 5 of 5 5,886,590

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5,886,590
1 2
MICROSTRIP TO COAX VERTICAL Stack microStrip microwave integrated circuit modules for
LAUNCHERUSING FUZZ. BUTTON AND advanced receivers for use in radar and Satellite applications,
SOLDERLESS INTERCONNECTS and low cost assemblies for commercial wireleSS commu
nication equipment.
BACKGROUND
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
The present invention relates generally to coax to microS
trip orthogonal launchers, and more particularly, to coax to The various features and advantages of the present inven
microStrip orthogonal launchers that use a compressible fuZZ tion may be more readily understood with reference to the
button center conductor as a SolderleSS interconnection. following detailed description taken in conjunction with the
Current active array microStrip corporate feeds require accompanying drawings, wherein like reference numerals
precise Soldering of wires onto a microStrip line through a represent like Structural elements, and in which:
machined hole or trough. For large arrays, the large number FIG. 1 is an exploded isometric view of a first embodi
of Vertical interconnects requiring this precise Soldering in ment of an orthogonal coax to microStrip launcher in accor
the feed requires a large amount of hands-on physical labor. 15 dance with the principles of the present invention;
Therefore, it would be an advance in the art to eliminate the FIG. 2 is a cross sectional side view of the orthogonal
requirement for precise Soldering and thus lessen the amount coax to microstrip launcher of FIG. 1;
of physical labor required to manufacture the array corporate FIG. 3 is a side view of the launcher of FIG. 2 showing
feed. a quasi-channelized 50 ohm microStrip line employed
Also a current State of the art vertical coax to microStrip therein;
launcher used by the assignee of the present invention FIGS. 4a and 4b show top and bottom views of a circuit
operates up to a frequency of about 12 GHz. It would be an board comprising the microStrip line employed in the
advance in the art to have a vertical coax to microStrip launcher of FIG. 1;
launcher that operates at a higher frequency. FIG. 5 is a graph showing return loSS of a reduced to
Accordingly, it is an objective of the present invention to 25
practice prototype of the first embodiment of the present
provide for coax to microStrip orthogonal launchers that use invention;
a compressible fuzz, button center conductor as a SolderleSS FIG. 6 is a graph showing insertion loSS of the reduced to
interconnection. It is a further objective of the present practice prototype of the first embodiment of the present
invention to provide for coax to microStrip orthogonal invention;
launchers that operate at a frequency Substantially higher FIG. 7 is a cross sectional side view of a second embodi
than conventional Orthogonal launchers.
ment of an orthogonal coax to microStrip launcher in accor
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION dance with the present invention;
FIG. 8 is a cross sectional side view of a third embodiment
To accomplish the above and other objectives, the present 35 of an orthogonal coax to microStrip launcher in accordance
invention provides for improved coax to microStrip orthogo with the present invention;
nal launchers that comprise a compressible fuZZ button
center conductor as a SolderleSS interconnection. In general, FIG. 9 is a graph showing return loss of a reduced to
the Orthogonal coax to microStrip launcher comprises a practice prototype of the third embodiment of the present
coaxial connector having a center conductor that contacts a invention; and
40
compressible fuZZ button interconnect. In certain FIG. 10 is a graph showing insertion loss of the third
embodiments, the fuZZ button interconnect contacts one end embodiment of the of the third embodiment of the present
of a microStrip line. In another embodiment, the microStrip invention.
line is formed on a curved microStrip circuit board, and the DETAILED DESCRIPTION
fuZZ button interconnect contacts a pin that has a thin metal 45
tab that is adhesively Secured to the one end of the microStrip Referring to the drawing figures, FIG. 1 is an exploded
line. In all embodiments, a Second coaxial connector has a isometric view of a first embodiment of an orthogonal coaX
center conductor connected to the other end of the microStrip to microStrip launcher 10 in accordance with the principles
conductor line. of the present invention, and FIG. 2 is a croSS Sectional Side
The necessity for precise Soldering required by conven 50 View of the orthogonal coax to microStrip launcher 10 taken
tional coax to microStrip orthogonal launchers is greatly along its centerline. This first embodiment of the launcher
simplified if not eliminated by using the fuzz button inter injects an RF signal from the bottom of the launcher 10.
connect to create a SolderleSS compression contact between The first embodiment of the orthogonal coax to microstrip
the center pin of the coaxial connector and the microStrip launcher 10 comprises a lower metal plate 11 that has a hole
line. The present invention provides a simple way to verti 55 12 disposed therethrough and a plurality of threaded holes
cally launch an RF signal onto microStrip transmission line 13 therein. A coaxial connector 14 having a Solid center
from a coaxial cable. The present invention operates at a conductor 15 is secured to the bottom of the lower metal
frequency of up to 18 GHZ, which is a wider frequency band plate 11 Such that the center conductor 15 extends into the
than has been achieved in prior art devices. The use of hole 12. A dielectric Sleeve 21, Such as a sleeve made of
compressible fuZZ button interconnects eliminates the need 60 polytetrafluoroethylene 21, for example, having a central
for hard Solder connectors required in previous hard wired opening 22 therethrough is disposed in the hole 12. A
designs. compressible fuzz button interconnect 20 is disposed in the
The present invention was specifically designed for use on central opening 22 and contacts the Solid center conductor
an active array antenna currently under development by the 15. A plurality of threaded holes 16 are disposed in a lateral
assignee of the present invention to interconnect transmit/ 65 sidewall of the lower metal plate 11.
receive modules to a first level microstrip feed within a The terms fuZZ buttons and fuZZ button interconnects
Subarray. The present invention may also be used to realize should be understood to mean those types of currently
5,886,590
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practiced in the art, for example, in U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,552,752, disc 25 is adjusted to tune out the discontinuity at the
5,146,453, and 5,631,446. orthogonal microStrip to fuZZ button/coax junction.
A microStrip circuit board 30 is disposed adjacent to and FIG. 3 is a side view of the launcher 10 of FIG.2 showing
abuts the lower metal plate 11. The microstrip circuit board a quasi-channelized 50 ohm microStrip line or conductor 36
30 is comprised of a lower ground plane 31, a central employed therein. FIG.3 details the locations of the micros
dielectric layer 32 and an upper ground plane 33. A groove trip line 36 relative to the cavity 4.0a and the plurality of
34 is disposed in the upper ground plane 33 to expose the ground Visa 38 that contact the upper and lower ground
central dielectric layer 32, and a microStrip line or conductor planes 31, 33.
36 is formed thereon that extends from a lateral edge of the
microstrip circuit board 30 to a plated via 35 that is disposed FIGS. 4a and 4b show top and bottom views of the
through the microstrip circuit board 30 and aligns with the microstrip circuit board 30 and its microstrip line 36
fuzz button interconnect 20. A cylindrical portion of the employed in the launcher of FIG. 1. The locations of all of
lower ground plane 31 is also removed to provide a con the ground visa 38 are shown in FIGS. 4a and 4b. The via
35 that contacts the fuZZ button interconnect 20 is shown.
ductive pad 39 that contacts the via 35 and the fuzz button
interconnect 20. The conductive pad 39 is insulated from the 15
The capacitive disc 25 is shown at an internal end of the
lower ground plane 31 by the gap between them formed by microstrip line 36. The capacitive disc 25 is aligned with the
the removed cylindrical portion of the lower ground plane conductive pad 39, the via 35, and the fuzzbutton intercon
31. The microstrip circuit board 30 has a plurality of through nect 20.
holes 37 that align with the plurality of threaded holes 13 in FIG. 5 is a graph showing return loSS of a reduced to
the lower metal plate 11. A plurality of plated ground visa 38 practice prototype of the first embodiment of the orthogonal
are disposed through the central dielectric layer 32 and coax to microstrip launcher 10. The RF signal is shown at
contact the upper and lower ground planes 31, 33. A capaci the input to the microstrip conductor 36 and the input to the
tive disc 25 is disposed at an internal end of the microStrip fuzz button interconnect 20. FIG. 6 is a graph showing
line or conductor 36, and contacts the via 35 and the end of insertion loSS of the reduced to practice prototype of the first
the microstrip line or conductor 36. 25 embodiment of the orthogonal coax to microStrip launcher
An upper metal plate 40 is disposed on top of the upper 10.
ground plane 33. The upper metal plate 40 has an air channel FIG. 7 is a cross sectional side view of a second embodi
42 that extends from the lateral edge of the microStrip circuit ment of an Orthogonal coax to microStrip launcher 10a in
board 30 to the location past the via 35. The upper metal accordance with the present invention. The Second embodi
plate 40 has a plurality of through holes 41 therethrough that ment of the orthogonal coax to microStrip launcher 10a is
align with the through holes 37 disposed through the micros substantially the same as the first embodiment, but the
trip circuit board 30 and the plurality of threaded holes 13 in coaxial connector 14 connects to the microStrip conductor
the lower metal plate 11. A plurality of threaded holes 43 are 36 from above, through the upper metal plate 43.
disposed in a lateral sidewall of the upper metal plate 40 that The Second embodiment of the orthogonal coax to
are substantially the same as the threaded holes 16 in the 35 microstrip launcher 10a has a solid lower metal plate 11 with
lower metal plate 11. A Second coaxial connector 17 is a plurality of threaded holes (not shown) disposed therein.
secured to the threaded holes 16 in the lower metal plate 11 The threaded holes in the solid lower metal plate 11 are
and the threaded holes 43 the upper metal plate 40. A center substantially the same at the threaded holes 13 described
conductor (not shown) of the Second coaxial connector 17 with reference to the first embodiment. A microstrip circuit
contacts on the microStrip conductor 36. 40 board (not shown) is disposed adjacent to the Solid lower
A cover plate 44 is disposed adjacent to the upper metal metal plate 11. The microstrip circuit board has a lower
plate 40 and has a plurality of through holes 45 that align ground plane 31, a central dielectric layer 32 and an upper
with the through holes 41 in the upper metal plate 40. A ground plane 33. A groove (not shown) is disposed in the
plurality of threaded machine ScrewS 46 are disposed upper ground plane 33 to expose the central dielectric layer
through the through holes 45 in the cover plate 44, the 45 32, and a microstrip line or conductor 36 is formed thereon
through holes 41 in the upper metal plate 40, the through as in the first embodiment. AS in the first embodiment, the
holes 37 disposed through the microstrip circuit board 30, microStrip circuit board has a plurality of through holes (not
and thread into the plurality of threaded holes 13 in the lower shown) that align with the plurality of threaded holes in the
metal plate 11 to Secure the orthogonal coax to microStrip lower metal plate 11. A plurality of ground visa 38 are
launcher 10 together. 50 disposed through the central dielectric layer 32 and contact
The quasi-channelized 50 ohm microstrip line 36 is the upper and lower ground planes 31, 33.
connected to a capacitive disc 25 used to match the discon An upper metal plate 40 is disposed on top of the upper
tinuity at the orthogonal junctions shown in FIG. 2. In the ground plane 33. The upper metal plate 40 has an air channel
center of the capacitive disc 25 is a plated via 35 that that extends from the lateral edge of the microStrip circuit
connects to a metal pad 39 on the opposite side of the circuit 55 board to the location past the end of the microStrip conductor
board 30. The metal pad 39 is isolated from the microstrip 36. A through hole 45 is formed at the end of the air channel
ground plane 31 by an annular clearOut area (the gap) whose that is aligned with the end of the microstrip conductor 36.
diameter Substantially matches the outer diameter of the The upper metal plate 40 has a plurality of through holes
coaxial connector 14 within the lower metal plate 11 upon (not shown) therethrough that align with the through holes
which the circuit board 20 is mounted. The metal pad 39 has 60 disposed through the microStrip circuit board and the plu
a diameter designed to be Substantially equal to but prefer rality of threaded holes in the lower metal plate 11. As in the
ably slightly greater than the diameter of the fuzz button first embodiment, a plurality of threaded holes (not shown)
interconnect 20. The compressible fuzz button interconnect are disposed in a lateral Sidewall of the upper metal plate 40
20 is used as the coax center conductor and contacts the that match the threaded holes (not shown) in the lower metal
metal pad 39 on the microstrip circuit board 30 at one end 65 plate 11. A second coaxial connector (not shown) is Secured
while contacting the central conductor 15 of the coaxial to the threaded holes in the lower and upper metal plates 11,
connector 14 at the outer end. The diameter of the capacitive 40. A center conductor of the Second coaxial connector
5,886,590
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contacts the microStrip conductor 36. The upper metal plate The third embodiment of the orthogonal coax to micros
40 has a hole 45 therethrough, and a dielectric sleeve 21, trip launcher 10b shown in FIG. 8 is an alternative approach
Such as a sleeve made of polytetrafluoroethylene 21, for to vertically launch an RF signal onto a microstrip line 36
example, having a central opening therethrough is disposed from above the circuit board which involves shaping the
in the hole 46. A fuzzbutton interconnect 20 is disposed in circuit board to form a 90 degree radial bend. The coaxial
the central opening and contacts the microStrip conductor center pin 47 has its thin metal tab 48 adhesively secured
36. with epoxy to the microstrip line 36 prior to installing the
A cover plate 44 is disposed adjacent to the upper metal fuzzbutton interconnect 20. The performance of the vertical
plate 40 and has a plurality of through holes (not shown) that transition provided by the third embodiment of the orthogo
align with the through holes in the upper metal plate 40. A nal coax to microStrip launcher 10b operates to a frequency
plurality of threaded machine Screws (not shown) are dis of about 18 GHz. A prototype of the third embodiment of the
posed through the through holes in the cover plate 44, the orthogonal coax to microstrip launcher 10b was fabricated
through holes in the upper metal plate 40, the through holes and tested, and was found to perform properly.
disposed through the microStrip circuit board, and thread FIG. 9 is a graph showing return loss of a reduced to
into the plurality of threaded holes in the lower metal plate 15 practice prototype of the third embodiment of the coax to
11 to Secure the orthogonal coax to microStrip launcher 10 microStrip launcher. FIG. 10 is a graph showing Insertion
together. The cover plate 44 has a hole 46 therein that is loSS of a reduced to practice prototype of the third embodi
aligned with the hole 45 in the upper metal plate 40. A ment of the coax to microStrip launcher.
coaxial connector 14 having a Solid center conductor 15 is Thus, coaxial to microStrip orthogonal launchers that use
secured to the top of the upper metal plate 40 such that the a compressible fuZZ button center conductor as a SolderleSS
center conductor 15 extends into the hole 46 and contacts the interconnection have been disclosed. It is to be understood
fuzzbutton interconnect 20 disposed in the dielectric sleeve that the described embodiments are merely illustrative of
21. Some of the many specific embodiments that represent
As in the first embodiment, a plurality of threaded holes 25
applications of the principles of the present invention.
(not shown) are disposed in a lateral Sidewall of the lower Clearly, numerous and other arrangements can be readily
metal plate 11, and a plurality of threaded holes (not shown) devised by those skilled in the art without departing from the
are disposed in a lateral Sidewall of the upper metal plate 40 Scope of the invention.
that are substantially the same as the threaded holes 16 in the What is claimed is:
lower metal plate 11. A second coaxial connector (not 1. An orthogonal coax to microStrip launcher comprising:
shown) is secured to the threaded holes in the lower metal a lower metal plate having a hole disposed therethrough;
plate 11 and the threaded holes the upper metal plate 40 as a coaxial connector having a center conductor that
in the first embodiment. A center conductor (not shown) of extends into the hole in the lower metal plate;
the Second coaxial connector contacts on the microStrip a dielectric sleeve having a central opening therethrough
conductor 36.
35 disposed in the hole in the lower metal plate;
In the Second embodiment of the present invention, the a compressible fuZZ button interconnect disposed in the
fuzz button interconnect 20 is used to vertically launch an central opening of the dielectric Sleeve that contacts the
RF signal from the coaxial connector 14 above the circuit center conductor of the coaxial connector;
board onto the microstrip line 36. This technique uses a
direct fuZZ button interconnect 20 to make contact between 40
a microStrip circuit board disposed adjacent to the lower
the microstrip line 36 and the central conductor 15 of the metal plate that comprises a lower ground plane, a
coaxial connector 14. An opening in the outer Shield of the central dielectric layer, an upper ground plane having a
coaxial connector 14 is provided to prevent Short-circuiting microStrip conductor formed thereon that extends from
of the microstrip line 36 and to match the discontinuity at the a lateral edge of the microStrip circuit board to a plated
orthogonal junction. By using the fuZZ button interconnect 45
Via disposed through the microStrip circuit board Said
20, a blind SolderleSS vertical coaxial to microStrip transition via connecting to a conductive pad insulated from the
through an air cavity 4.0a onto the circuit board is realized. lower ground plane and aligned with the fuZZ button
FIG. 8 is a cross sectional side view of a third embodiment interconnect, a plurality of plated ground Visa disposed
of an orthogonal coax to microStrip launcher 10b in accor through the central dielectric layer that contact the
dance with the present invention. The third embodiment of 50
upper and lower ground planes, and a capacitive disc
an orthogonal coax to microStrip launcher 10b is similar to that contacts the via and the end of the microStrip
the embodiment shown in FIG. 7. However, the third conductor;
embodiment uses a microStrip circuit board having a 90 an upper metal plate disposed on the upper ground plane
degree radial bend therein. As is shown in FIG. 8, the central having an air channel that is Substantially coextensive
dielectric layer 32, the upper ground plane 33 and the lower 55 with the microStrip conductor;
ground plane 31 are radiused So that the upper ground plane a Second coaxial connector having a center conductor that
33 ends adjacent to the location of the hole in the dielectric contacts the microStrip conductor; and
sleeve 21. a cover plate disposed adjacent to the upper metal plate.
A center pin 47 having a thin metal tab 48 at its end is 2. The Orthogonal coax to microStrip launcher of claim 1
disposed in the hole in the dielectric sleeve 21 and is used 60 wherein the dielectric sleeve comprises a sleeve made of
in cooperation with a fuzz button interconnect 20 that is polytetrafluoroethylene.
disposed behind the center pin 47. The metal tab 48 at the 3. The Orthogonal coax to microStrip launcher of claim 1
end of the tapered portion of the coaxial center pin 47 is wherein the capacitive disc is used to match the disconti
electrically connected to the microStrip conductor 36 using nuity at the orthogonal junction between the microStrip line
an adhesive, Such as an epoxy adhesive, for example. The 65 and the coaxial connector.
upper metal plate 40 is radiused to accept the radially bent 4. The Orthogonal coax to microStrip launcher of claim 1
microstrip circuit board as is shown in FIG. 8. wherein the diameter of the capacitive disc is adjusted to
5,886,590
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tune out the discontinuity at the junction orthogonal between 9. An orthogonal coax to microStrip launcher comprising:
the microStrip conductor and the fuZZ button interconnect a lower metal plate;
and center conductor of the coaxial connector. a curved microStrip circuit board disposed adjacent to the
5. The orthogonal coax to microStrip launcher of claim 1 lower metal plate that comprises a lower ground plane,
wherein the fuZZ button interconnect comprises a blind a central dielectric layer, and an upper ground plane
SolderleSS vertical coaxial to microStrip transition. having a microStrip conductor formed thereon;
6. An orthogonal coax to microStrip launcher comprising: an upper metal plate having an internal contour that
a lower metal plate; matches the contour of the curved microStrip circuit
a microStrip circuit board disposed adjacent to the lower board, and that comprises an air channel that is Sub
metal plate that comprises a lower ground plane, a Stantially coextensive with the microStrip conductor,
central dielectric layer, an upper ground plane having a and having a through hole that is aligned with the inner
microStrip conductor formed thereon, and a plurality of end of the microStrip conductor;
ground Visa disposed through the central dielectric a cover plate disposed adjacent to the upper metal plate
layer that contact the upper and lower ground planes, 15 having a hole therein that aligns with the hole in the
upper metal plate;
an upper metal plate disposed on the upper ground plane a dielectric Sleeve having a central opening disposed in
comprising an air channel that is Substantially coexten the hole in the upper metal plate and in the through hole
Sive with the microStrip conductor, and a through hole of the upper metal plate;
that is aligned with the inner end of the microStrip a center pin having a thin metal tab at its end disposed in
conductor, and a dielectric sleeve having a central the hole in the dielectric sleeve that is electrically
opening disposed in the through hole; connected to the microStrip conductor;
a fuZZ button interconnect disposed in the central opening a fuzz, button interconnect disposed in the hole in the
that contacts the microStrip conductor; dielectric sleeve that contacts the center pin;
a cover plate disposed adjacent to the upper metal plate 25 a coaxial connector having a center conductor that
having a hole therein that aligns with the hole in the extends into the hole in the cover plate and contacts the
upper metal plate; fuZZ button interconnect disposed in the dielectric
a coaxial connector having a Solid center conductor that sleeve, and
extends into the hole and contacts the fuZZ button a Second coaxial connector disposed at the end of the
interconnect disposed in the dielectric sleeve; and microStrip conductor having a center conductor that
a Second coaxial connector disposed at the end of the contacts the microStrip conductor.
microStrip conductor having a center conductor that 10. The orthogonal coax to microstrip launcher of claim
contacts the microStrip conductor. 8 wherein the dielectric sleeve comprises a sleeve made of
7. The orthogonal coax to microstrip launcher of claim 5 polytetrafluoroethylene.
wherein the dielectric sleeve comprises a sleeve made of 35 11. The orthogonal coax to microstrip launcher of claim 8
polytetrafluoroethylene. wherein the fuZZ button interconnect comprises a blind
8. The orthogonal coax to microstrip launcher of claim 5 SolderleSS Vertical coaxial to microStrip transition through an
wherein the fuZZ button interconnect comprises a blind air cavity onto the microStrip conductor.
SolderleSS Vertical coaxial to microStrip transition through an
air cavity onto the microStrip conductor. k k k k k