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In a typical interconnect, there lie multiple places where capacitance plays a factor in the signal integrity. This includes the driver and receiver output/input capacitance, as well as the packages, vias, and the transmission lines. Failing to optimize these parameters can often lead to unwanted reflections, excessive radiated and or conducted emissions, and sometimes failure of components and systems.
Reflections can occur anytime there is an impedance mismatch on the line. Sources of mismatches are plentiful and include trace width changes, vias, stubs, reference plane changes, and even the so-called fiber weave effect. In this case, a trace can encounter a different dielectric constant depending on whether it is routed over glass or the epoxy resin in the dielectric material.
In this investigation, it is the capacitive contribution of the different components that are of interest, and how they affect the characteristic impedance the driver sees.
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Ralf Bruening, Zuken
Using powerful constraint techniques can be a double-edged sword. While the design process is made much safer by including constraints, it is all too easy to over-constrain the design and make it impossible to complete routing and placement. Even paper design guidelines can make products uneconomic to produce unless a great deal of engineering knowledge is applied during the design.
Paul Taubman, Nine Dot Connects
In Part 1 of this series, Paul Taubman made the bold statement that the PCB layout is just as much a mechanical effort as it is an electrical one. In Part 2, he threads the needle, explaining why he believes that a PCB truly a mechatronic design, and why mechanical engineers may be more prepared to take on the PCB layout.
Dr. John Parry, CEng, Mentor
When designing a PCB, thermal issues are often locked in at the point of selecting and laying out the chip package for the board. After that, only remedial actions are possible if the components are running too hot. Assumptions made about the uniformity of the airflow in these early design stages can mean a disaster for the commercial viability of a PCB if those assumptions are incorrect. A different approach is needed to improve reliability and to optimize board performance. Dr. John Parry of Mentor explains.