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On-chip high-speed interconnects with underlayer orthogonal metal grids, including grid-backed lines (GBLs) and grid-backed coplanar waveguides (GBCPWs), are characterized through s-parameter measurements. For GBL test structures, the presence of underlayer metal grids reduces dispersion by a factor of 4 while the local speed of light decreases by a factor of 2 in comparison to those of conventional microstrip lines. The dispersion reduction comes from suppressing higher order modes; the local speed of light reduction comes from a longer current return path. These characteristics are beneficial for compact CMOS analog circuit designs. Losses caused by substrate and conductor lines are restrained by shielding the substrate and by involving weaker electric fields. Resonance at a frequency characterized by that of a patch antenna was observed and needs to be considered in high-speed circuit designs. The grids have weaker effects in the case of CPWs, where the side ground plate effects are significant. A signal transmission example shows that dispersion and frequency-dependent losses are important in determining the signal rise edge. Semi-empirical distributed resistance-inductance-capacitance-conductance (RLCG) equivalent circuit models are constructed for the interconnects below the resonant frequencies.
Date of Publication: Aug. 2004