Alphabetical Index

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10 Reasons Why I Love the BGA   chip packaging -- Ball Grid Array (BGA) packages are taking the industry by storm, and I’m glad to see it. ED 3/17/1997

2-D Quasistatic Field Solver   simulation, TEM mode -- If your system violates any of these assumptions, the simulator produces wrong answers. EDN 9/27/2001

A Time for All Things   chip packaging, differential signaling, ground bounce -- There is a good time and a bad time for a chip to sample its digital inputs. EDN 6/21/2001

A transmission line is always a transmission line   characteristic impedance, reflections, transmission line -- Does the input impedance behave one way on a long transmission line but differently when the load is adjacent to the driver? How does it know what to do? EDN 4/4/2002

AC Coupling Layout (for XAUI 3.125 Gb/s)   data coding, layout, reflections -- The parasitic body capacitance of the AC coupling caps perturbs the characteristic impedance of your transmission line. Newsletter v10_02 5/18/2007

AC Terminators   power dissipation, termination -- The promise of an AC terminator is the idea that maybe, just maybe, there is a value of C big enough to make a good termination, but at the same time small enough to not draw much current from the source. Newsletter v2-24 9/9/1998

Acceptable Crosstalk   crosstalk -- What is the limit of crosstalk that can be ignored? (and frozen turkeys) Newsletter v5- 11 10/30/2002

Acceptable Failure   metastability -- Without clearly quantified limits on the "acceptable probability of failure," you never know whether you have implemented too little or too much of your favorite failure- rate cure. EDN 3/2/2000

Accurate Series Termination   termination -- How are you supposed to calculate an appropriate series termination when you have such a large variance in the source impedance of the driver? Newsletter v4-14 11/1/2001

ADC grounding   grounding -- Chip designers often internally partition the ground-reference net (or substrate) for an ADC into isolated analog and digital regions. EDN 12/7/2000

Adequate Bandwidth   bandwidth, probes, testing -- A bandwidth-limit feature performs a service somewhat like vertical averaging, in that it reduces random noise, but it does not require a repetitive signal. Newsletter v11_03 5/19/2008

All About Surface-Mount Ferrites   EMC, ferrite bead -- (by Lee Hill) Don’t use a ferrite bead unless you have data showing impedance versus frequency while under the influence of DC bias current, and don’t operate ferrite beads close to their maximum rated current. EDN 8/21/2008

Analog to Digital Conversion Parameters   sampled data, testing -- Definitions of A/D specification terms, with hints about "specsmanship" in these numbers Newsletter v9_03 2/22/2006

Another Version of a Coax Probe   probes -- What kind of probes do I need for looking at noise (<100 mV to 300 mV range) on the various ground pins of some gigabit transceivers? Newsletter v1-18 11/26/1997

Approaching the Edge   management, probes -- Worst-case budgets don’t work if you don’t include all the necessary factors, or if you make wrong assumptions to fill in gaps in the available data. DesignCon 2004 2/1/2004

Ask For It   rise time -- A limitation on the minimum rise and fall times is absolutely critical to proper functioning of digital hardware. EDN 7/6/2000

Asymmetric Noise Margins   ground bounce, level translation, rise time -- Extreme asymmetries in the noise margin budget for a logic family create a preferred logic level. EDN 3/15/2001

Asymmetry in Broadside Configuration   differential signaling, layer stack, layout, skew -- In general I avoid broadside-coupled traces unless they are made necessary by routing considerations. EDN 11/14/2002

Aunt Judy   management -- Old Aunt Judy approaches you at a reception, with a little halt in her voice, and says, "You know about electronics, right? Well, I’ve got this old 8-track tape player… EDN 11/8/2007

Backplane Design   back plane, differential signaling, layer stack, serial link -- Differential trace geometry, power and ground stackup for big backplane. EDN 5/25/2000

Benefits of Resistive Probe   probes -- Here are ten good reasons to consider using a resistive-input probe. Newsletter v5-4 3/11/2002

BGA Crosstalk   crosstalk, ground bounce -- Details, measured lab results, and theory of crosstalk involving hundreds of outputs switching simultaneously in a high-speed Xilinx Virtex-4 FPGA package, as delivered to the Xilinx tech on-line forum March 1, 2005. Newsletter v8_03 3/1/2005

Bi-directional Alternatives   multi drop, PCI -- Hanging four loads on a bi-directional line; how PCI "reflected wave switching" works Newsletter v3-3 1/22/1999

Bi-directional Terminations   multi drop, termination -- Using a series terminator at both ends of the line. Newsletter v2-20 8/6/1998

Big Buffer   crosstalk, ground bounce -- Do you suppose there is much SSO noise margin left in a typical IC package design? Can you safely exceed the loading guidelines without causing SSO errors? I doubt it. Newsletter v8_07 10/18/2005

Big Hurl   management, power system, transmission line -- Engineers enjoy a long tradition of experience with dynamic processes. We have developed over the centuries many diverse means of dealing with them. EDN 7/21/2005

Blocking Capacitor Performance   level translation, reflections, serial link -- Cut a small round void in the reference plane layer right under the capacitor, thus relieving the capacitance to ground, while at the same time slightly increasing the series inductance. EDN 4/5/2012

Body and Soul   management -- Even if you never master a musical instrument to the point of performing onstage, the simple act of learning to play music stimulates parts of your brain critical to creativity and insight. EDN 11/27/2012

Both-ends Termination   termination -- The both-ends termination is supremely tolerant of imperfections within the transmission system and within the terminators themselves. EDN 1/18/2001

Breaking Up a Pair   layout, reflections, stripline -- The two traces comprising a differential pair, when routed close together, share a certain amount of cross-coupling. This coupling lowers the differential impedance between the traces. EDN 11/9/2000

Building a Signal Integrity Department   management -- What sort of a mission do you give to a department of signal integrity? EDN 6/4/1998

Bus Architecture and Timing   back plane, multi drop, ringing -- The ratio (bus delay)/(clock period) is a key indicator of bus design difficulty. DesignCon 1999 1/30/1999

Buying Time   differential signaling, skew -- Two strategies for minimizing the intra-pair skew accumulated by a differential net: (1) A pair that starts and ends going north has by definition equal numbers of right and left- hand turns. (2) How your layout enters or leaves a BGA makes a difference. EDN 5/2/2002

Bypass Capacitor Array   bypass capacitors, power system -- This spreadsheet produces a beautiful color version of my figure 8.9 showing the impedance of each element of a power system and also the composite impedance of all four elements taken in parallel. Newsletter v6-02 1/24/2003

Bypass Arrays   bypass capacitors, layout -- Does anyone out there actually DESIGN their bypassing networks? Newsletter v1-6 7/25/1997

Bypass Capacitor Layout   bypass capacitors, layout -- Little traces between your bypass capacitors and the power planes have a big effect on performance. Newsletter v2-3 1/23/1998

Bypass Capacitor Layout   bypass capacitors, layout, power system -- The primary symptoms of an inadequate, old- fashioned bypass capacitor array are increased power supply noise, increased crosstalk among signal traces, and increased electro-magnetic radiation. PCD 8/1/1997

Bypass Capacitor Sequencing   bypass capacitors, layout -- A trace of any practical length placed in series with the power terminal of a high-speed IC (especially one with multiple VCC pins) radically increases power supply noise at the VCC terminal and should be avoided like the plague. Newsletter 9_07 10/4/2006

Bypass Multi-Valued Arrays   bypass capacitors, power system -- I discourage engineers from combining together different- valued capacitors if they share the same package format. Newsletter v1-17 11/14/1997

Cable Shield Grounding   cables, connectors, EMC, grounding -- Joe, I am going to disagree with your suggestion that a shield with a resistor at one end acts as an effective EMI shield. In high-speed digital applications, it doesn’t. Newsletter v2-2 1/16/1998

Capacitor Layout Matters   bypass capacitors, layout, power system -- Your problem is likely caused by the layout, which has more than tripled the inductance of each bypass capacitor, not the values of types of capacitance. EDN 9/5/2002

Capacitor Placement   bypass capacitors, layout -- The function of a bypass capacitor is this: to help returning signal current get from the board back into the driver. Newsletter v2-1 1/7/1998

Carrier Detection   attenuation, serial link -- What happens when the opposing end of a link is disconnected, powered down, or disabled. EDN 9/4/2003

Characteristic Impedance of Lossy Line   characteristic impedance, dielectric loss, skin effect -- Skin-effect losses increase the real part of the impedance curve in the vicinity of the skin-effect onset, while the dielectric losses decrease the real part of impedance in the same area. EDN 10/3/2002

Charge Arrested   EE basics, transmission line -- Animations showing the behavior of moving charged particles at an open-circuited transmission-line endpoint. Newsletter v14_03 4/21/2011

Charge in Motion   EE basics, transmission line -- The slight compressibility of the sea of electrons in a metallic conductor generates most high-speed digital design effects. Newsletter v14_02 4/3/2011

Charge Unleashed   EE basics, transmission line -- Charge carriers within a metallic conductor move under the influence of local electrical fields. Lacking any impetus to move; they remain still. Newsletter v14_04 8/10/2011

Chip Scale Transmission Lines   ringing, termination, transmission line -- On-chip interconnections rarely require termination, but pcb traces often do. This conclusion is directly related to the properties of RC and LC transmission lines. Newsletter v7_01 1/29/2004

Clean Power   power system -- With electromagnetic noise present, you can talk sensibly about potential differences only between points that are co-located, that is, points so close that the total field strength between those points is negligible. EDN 8/3/2000

Clock Jitter Propagation   clocks, jitter -- Any sort of resonance, even a tiny one, spells disaster for a highly cascaded system. EDN 2/6/2003

Common Mode Analysis of Skew   differential signaling, EMC, skew -- A twenty-percent skew creates a ten-percent common-mode component. EDN 1/22/2004

Common-mode ground currents   grounding -- Instead of thinking of your digital ground region as a solid sheet, think of it as a picture frame. This simple model explains the basis of single-point grounding and many other common- mode noise issues. Newsletter v7_02 3/24/2004

Comparing Transmission Media   attenuation, transmission line -- Transmission line comparisons may be complicated by various geometrical factors, but if you just remember that BIGGER conductors have LESS resistive loss you will have gone a long way towards understanding transmission line losses. Newsletter v12_05 7/26/2009

Confirm the Diagnosis   connectors, probes, testing -- The confirmation step is crucial because it takes a lot of time to do re-work, or re-layout, and you must be sure of your conclusions (3.125 Gb/s serial link). Newsletter v11_02 3/26/2008

Connecting Layers   connectors, crosstalk, layer stack, via -- In a multi-layer pcb the vias perform the role of a tiny connector, where the signal-to-ground-via ratio controls via crosstalk. EDN 7/22/2004

Constant-Resistance Termination   reflections, termination -- The constant-resistance circuit forms an almost ideal termination regardless of the input capacitance of the receiver. EDN 6/12/2003

Constant-Resistance Equalizer   equalizer, reflections, termination -- This circuit combines a good termination with a useful equalizing function. EDN 7/10/2003

Crossing the River   reference plane, return current, rise time -- (by Doug Smith) Cross a river without a bridge and your clothes get soaked. Cross a split-plane gap with a high-speed signal and your whole development schedule gets soaked. EDN 7/24/2008

Crosstalk - Differential Vias   crosstalk, via -- My CAD tools predict the level of crosstalk from differential digital traces to differential analog traces. That’s fine, but how about the crosstalk from differential digital vias to differential analog vias? How does that work and how big is it? Newsletter v8_02 2/15/2005

Crosstalk - Differential Vias with Grounds   crosstalk, via -- Ground vias, used in conjunction with a differential pair, arrest the spread of crosstalk. EDN 4/28/2005

Crosstalk - Via to Trace   crosstalk, via -- Measurements of crosstalk between an interplane via and an inner-layer trace relevant to the question of minimum separation between a sensitive differential analog pair and a digital via on the same PCB. Newsletter v8_01 1/25/2005

Crosstalk and SSO Noise   crosstalk, ground bounce -- What you need is a simple experiment that will separate the effects of SSN (simultaneous switching noise) from other crosstalk. Newsletter v3-9 3/30/1999

Crosstalk at Right Angles   crosstalk, layout -- Crosstalk for traces crossing at right angles. Newsletter v3-6 2/26/1999

Current-Source Driver   back plane, transmission line -- A current-source driver overlaps its own signal on top of other signals passing by without inhibiting their progress. Newsletter v12_04 4/15/2009

(The) Curse of FAST Logic   power dissipation, rise time -- Your circuits fill a motherboard, not a whole room, but still fall prey to the same signal propagation difficulties encountered in 1946 by Mauchly and Eckert on the ENIAC project. ED 5/1/1996

Dangerous Games   management -- You were the kid popping wheelies, probing the limits of unstable equilibrium. On the playground swing set, every jump tested your knowledge of gravity, the nature of inelastic collisions, and bruised ankles. EDN 4/9/2009

Data Coding for Low Noise   data coding, ground bounce -- Limited-weight codes provide noise-canceling properties similar to differential signaling, but using fewer interconnections. EDN 6/24/2004

DC Blocking Capacitor Placement   data coding, level translation, reflections, serial link -- Slower systems sometimes benefit from placing the DC blocking capacitors close to the source, but not multi-gigabit systems. Newsletter v7_08 12/12/2004

DC Blocking Capacitor Value   data coding, level translation, reflections, serial link -- How do I choose the value for a DC blocking capacitor in a serial link application? Newsletter v7_09 1/10/2005

DC Loading   probes, testing -- This the first case I can recall of a transceiver whose output gets bigger when loaded. Not all LVDS outputs do this. Newsletter v11_04 7/18/2008

Debugging Hardware   testing -- Debugging new hardware can be difficult and trying. The most common mistakes that most new engineers make when first debugging a system are: trying to debug too much at once, not testing their assumptions, and keeping inadequate records. EDN 8/16/2001

De-constructing Gain and Impedance from S11   attenuation, testing -- From measurements of S11, determine both the gain and characteristic impedance of a uniform transmission structure. EDN 11/10/2005

Delay Through Via   delay, via -- For vias which traverse several planes, the delay is a function not only of the via but also of the position and configuration of nearby bypass capacitors. Newsletter v2-29 10/29/1998

Designing a Split Termination   termination -- A Thevenin equivalent circuit helps you understand the need for two resistor values and how they work together to meet the impedance and current-drive constraints imposed by your driver. EDN 4/3/2008

Diagnostic Testing (and Tasting)   management, testing -- Diagnostic testing requires a keen awareness of all aspects of the system at hand. The operator must remain ever vigilant during testing, aware of even the tiniest clue about system behavior. EDN 4/26/2007

Dielectric Loss Tangents   attenuation, dielectric loss -- For a capacitor formed from a lossy dielectric material, the loss tangent is the ratio at any particular frequency between the real and imaginary parts of the impedance of the capacitor. Newsletter v4-5 6/11/2001

Differential (Microstrip) Trace Impedance   characteristic impedance, differential signaling -- Many different combinations of height, width and spacing can generate the same differential impedance. Newsletter v5-2 1/22/2002

Differential Clocks   clocks, differential signaling -- What’s the impact of using differential clocks in a parallel bus? Newsletter v1-10 9/4/1997

Differential Coupling   differential signaling, transmission line -- Differential links need not be tightly coupled to work effectively. EDN 11/13/2008

Differential Crosstalk   crosstalk, differential signaling -- I have a number of high-speed differential PECL signals that I need to route in parallel on the PCB. Newsletter v3-20 8/23/1999

Differential Pair Skew   differential signaling, skew -- What impact does pair skew have on a received differential signal? Newsletter v1-7 8/5/1997

Differential Receivers Tolerate High-Frequency Losses   attenuation, differential signaling, dispersion, serial link -- Differential receivers have more accurate switching thresholds than ordinary single-ended logic. EDN 11/28/2002

Differential Reflections   differential signaling, reflections, transmission line -- Does the standard formula for reflections also apply to differential/balanced lines where two lines carry one signal? Newsletter v2-21 8/17/1998

Differential Routing   differential signaling, layout -- Is it better to route differential traces over/under (broadside) or side-by-side (edge-coupled)? Newsletter v2-30 11/11/1998

Differential Signaling (Through Connectors)   differential signaling -- I have 16 differential line pairs that have to go through a connector. What signal to ground ratio and pattern should I use? Newsletter v3-12 5/7/1999

Differential TDR   differential signaling, probes, testing -- A differential TDR instrument provides two outputs, x and –x, which you connect to the traces under test. EDN 8/22/2002

Differential Termination   differential signaling, termination -- Terrible things can happen to the common-mode artifacts if your trace delay equals one-quarter of the clock period. EDN 6/8/2000

Differential-to-common-mode conversion   differential signaling, EMC -- Any imbalanced circuit element within an otherwise well- balanced transmission channel creates a region of partial coupling between the differential and common modes of transmission at that point. EDN 10/17/2002

Differential Transitions   characteristic impedance, differential signaling, reflections -- The trick of inserting nearby compensation to fix problems elsewhere within the transition region is the secret to successful transition design. EDN 1/8/2009

Differential U-Turn   connectors, differential signaling, stripline -- What is the effect of a split in a solid plane on the impedance of a coplanar differential pair? EDN 9/1/2000

Diode Terminations   power dissipation, termination, transmission line -- Is there any technical basis for concluding that diodes provide a "cleaner" signal? Newsletter v2-19 7/28/1998

Directionality of Crosstalk   crosstalk, layout -- (Originally titled: The Real Truth About Crosstalk) If you are trying to manage crosstalk from first principles, so it comes out right on the first spin, look into the new crosstalk prediction tools that feature IBIS I/O modeling. ED 8/18/1997

Double-Tracking   back plane, crosstalk -- Let’s begin this discussion looking at the belt-and-suspenders, super-safe differential stripline architecture. Newsletter v7_05 9/7/2004

Driving the World of Gigabit Ethernet   Gigabit Ethernet -- How should we best specify the I/O performance of drivers for the Gigabit Ethernet parallel interface? EDN 11/6/1997

Driving Two Loads   layout, multi drop, ringing -- Any time you build a split-tee, always simulate the circuit with a maximal degree of capacitive imbalance in the receivers. EDN 7/19/2001

Driving-Point Impedance   reflections, termination -- In a perfect series-terminated architecture, you can measure the driving point impedance at the driver, in the middle of the line, or a hundred miles away, the measurement always returns the same number: Z0. EDN 5/14/2009

Dual Ground Shields   layer stack, reference plane -- Theoretically, if the planes are completely solid (no holes), they would act as near-perfect isolation boundaries, BUT you have to consider the holes… Newsletter v3-19 8/12/1999

Dual Transceivers   layout, multi drop, rise time -- You can make extremely small, zero-cost, high-performance switches from ordinary solder pads and solder paste. EDN 6/10/1999

Earth Ground   grounding -- The most important point to make with regard to grounding is that the input to every digital logic gate is a DIFFERENTIAL amplifier. Newsletter v2-12 5/7/1998

ECL and PECL   level translation -- Can I directly connect a differential ECL signal to a differential PECL device? Newsletter v2-22 8/25/1998

ECL and PECL Reader Responses   level translation -- Further discussion of ECL-to-PECL level translation. Newsletter v2-23 9/1/1998

EM Simulation Software   EM fields, EMC, simulation -- (by Bruce Archambeault) Dr. Bruce Archambeault, distinguished engineer at IBM, IEEE fellow, and the author of the "EMI/EMC Computational Modeling Handbook", responds to my questions about electromagnetic (EM) simulation software. EDN 6/26/2008

EMI Simulations Tools   EMC, simulation -- (Originally titled: EMI Simulation Tools) Many EMI simulators are embellished with flashy demonstrations, which, like the smell of coffee brewing, or the sound of bacon frying, promise more than they can possibly deliver. EDN 3/2/1998

Endpoint Distortion   reflections, termination -- The nature of instantaneous signal distortion at the receiver is defined by an equivalent circuit comprising two components: a series resistance and a shunt capacitance. EDN 6/11/2009

Equalizing Cables   cables, equalizer -- How do you equalize LVDS signals transmitted through cables of say 10 to 50m? EDN 8/2/2001

Equivalent Circuit Source Impedance   high-speed digital design formulas -- What is the true source impedance of the equivalent circuit at figure 1.6 (page 13)? Newsletter v2-9 3/23/1998

Ernie's Story   Ernie, management -- Engineers without a basic understanding of high-speed effects will likely end up just like Ernie, sitting in somebody else’s office, fidgeting and sweating. ED 12/1/1996

Erroneous Harmonics   bandwidth -- You won’t find a quote in my book about "harmonics" because that isn’t a good way to look at the problem. Newsletter v4-9 10/4/2001

ESR of Regulator Output Capacitor   bypass capacitors, management, power system -- How can the ESR of a bulk capacitor (tantalum or electrolytic capacitor) affect a linear voltage regulator? Newsletter v5-3 2/25/2002

Essential System Margin   attenuation, management, serial link -- You should make tiny artificially adjustments to every line in the budget until you drive the system margin to zero. Only you will know where these adjustments are hidden. EDN 12/11/2003

Extra Fries, Please   skew -- In the high-speed world, timing is everything, so I predict that delay-compensated clock repeaters will be really hot. EDN 1/7/1999

Eye Don't Like It   jitter, simulation, testing -- An eye diagram makes a wonderful way to check finished system margins, but a terrible diagnostic tool. EDN 11/9/2006

Eye of the Probe   probes, simulation -- If your probe loads the circuit and corrupts the physical measurement, how can you ever discern the "real signal" at C3 with no probe attached? EDN 12/1/2006

Ferrite Beads   ferrite bead -- Ferrite beads come in two flavors: high-Q, resonant beads and low-Q, non- resonant beads, also called lossy, or absorptive beads. EDN 10/12/2000

Fiber-Optic Encoding   data coding, Gigabit Ethernet -- Codes that scramble the data post-coding cannot control either the DC balance or the maximum run-length of the scrambled output. EDN 1/10/2002

Field Cancellation   EM fields, microstrip -- Eddy currents flowing in a solid reference plane underneath a pcb trace partially cancel the magnetic fields emanating from that trace. EDN 3/3/2011

Finger the Culprit   delay, testing -- When debugging a rare mode of failure, never attempt a direct fix. The test cycles associated with each attempted improvement will kill your development schedule. Your first order of business is to make the problem worse. EDN 6/21/2007

Flip-Flops   metastability -- What actually causes the metastability in Flip- Flops? Newsletter v4-2 5/12/2000

(For Your) Protection   electromigration, ESD, overshoot, ringing -- Protection diodes have a limited lifetime—don’t wear them out. EDN 12/9/2004

Four-Way Distribution   layout, multi drop -- How to best distribute a bus to four different loads. Newsletter v1-14 10/17/1997

Frequent Obsession   back plane, bandwidth, testing -- Frequency-domain instruments can play an important role in the measurement process, but should not be the main focus of your specification. EDN 10/12/2006

Front-Connected Power Supply   EMC, grounding, power system -- Why connections on the front side of a plug-in card are a bad idea. Newsletter v4-17 12/5/2001

Fundametals of PCB Design   layout, power dissipation -- This introductory overview of printed-circuit design treats the main difficulties you will likely meet when planning, designing, and manufacturing printed circuit boards for digital applications. Web 8/16/2010

(The) Future of On-Chip Interconnections   interconnections, multi level -- Today’s chip-layout software takes into account the RC propagation delays of major bus structures and clock lines. In tomorrow’s designs, at even higher speeds, the full RLC nature of the on-chip transmission channels will emerge. EDN 2/3/2000

Gigabit Ethernet   Gigabit Ethernet -- Gigabit Ethernet is going to be faster, with more parallel signals, and tighter layout constraints. PCD 2/1/1997

Gigabit Ethernet Specification   Gigabit Ethernet -- The GMII is designed as a chip-to-chip interface. The expected link distance is therefore about 3 to 12 inches. Newsletter v2-6 2/2/1998

Going Non-linear   simulation -- Spice is grand for non-linear circuits, but if your circuit is linear you might question whether it is best. The FFT shines as an efficient computational tool for long transmission channels. EDN 5/16/2002

Going Vertical   EMC -- Keeping your traces close to a solid, uninterrupted reference plane is one of simplest, most effective things you can do to reduce electromagnetic radiation and harden your product against ESD. EDN 10/14/1999

Ground Bounce Calculations   high-speed design formulas -- On page 62 of the High-Speed Digital Design Text… where does the factor of 1.52 come from? Newsletter v1-12 9/26/1997

Ground Current   layer stack, return current -- Details the exact path of returning signal current when a chip switches HI or LO Newsletter v3-7 3/15/1999

Ground Fill   EMC, grounding, reference plane -- Isolated, discontinuous regions of ground fill do not help reduce magnetic-field coupling between traces or radiation from the board. EDN 5/26/2005

Ground Fills   EMC, grounding, reference plane -- The "poured ground" (more commonly called a "ground fill") is a technique useful on two-layer boards for reducing crosstalk due to ELECTRIC FIELD coupling. Superceded by "Ground Fill", EDN 26 May 2005. Newsletter v1-3 6/24/1997

Ground/Power Planes   grounding, layer stack, power system -- At very high speeds, bypass capacitance needs to be within less than 1/10 of a rising-edge-length in order to function effectively. Newsletter v1-8 8/15/1997

Guard Traces   crosstalk -- A guard trace, or guard track, is a pcb trace that is installed parallel to an existing high-speed signal. Guard traces are usually installed in the hope of reducing crosstalk. Newsletter v15_02 5/17/2012

Hairball Nets   layout, multi drop, termination -- Terminating big globs of unstructured loads. Newsletter v4-10 10/8/2001

Half Measures   power dissipation, reflections, termination -- (Regarding series termination) a good energy- balance equation often easily sums up the operation of a complicated system without bogging you down in details. EDN 1/5/2006

Healthy Power   Ernie, power system -- When your prototype board comes back from fabrication, take the time to check the health of its power system. EDN 3/30/2000

Hidden Schematic   EMC, grounding -- (by Bruce Archambeault) Dr. Bruce Archambeault, creator of the IBM EMC rule-checking program "EMSAT", says "Ground is a good place to grow potatoes and carrots", but a poor concept for high-frequency engineering. EDN 5/25/2006

High-Speed Backplane Connectors   back plane, connectors, crosstalk -- Discusses the main factors affecting backplane connector performance, and predicts the future of backplane connector development. EMC Soc 8/17/2011

High-Speed Digital Design: Overview   EE basics, management -- This survey article highlights key similarities, and important differences, between high-speed digital and microwave hardware, addressing factors related to transmitters, transmission pathways, receivers, and the people who design them. MTT-9 8/15/2011

High-Speed Return Signals   layer stack, return current -- How do high speed return signals travel on a 4 layer pc board? Newsletter v1-15 10/27/1997

Holding On   reflections, termination -- The tri-state feature, if available in your driver, acts as a sort of additional short-time dynamic memory element that you can use to extend the hold time of your driver. EDN 7/9/2009

Hot Plugging and Beefy Guys Named Mark   hot plugging, power system -- Mark McGwire reminds me of some of the technicians I have seen working on large systems EDN 11/5/1998

How Close is Close Enough?   layout, termination -- How close to the driver must you keep your series terminations? EDN 4/9/1998

How Fast is Fast?   ringing -- In digital systems, the frequencies of interest depend on the edge transition time of the logic involved. EDN 7/2/1998

How Many Segments   rise time, sampled data, simulation -- Examples show effect of inadequate number of segments in piece-wise linear (PWL) approximation. Newsletter v12_07 12/9/2009

I Still Love the BGA   chip packaging -- Hate mail, mostly from mechanical designers and production test engineers, about BGA’s Newsletter v2-10 4/6/1998

IBIS   simulation -- IBIS is going to solve a lot of common, everyday, high-speed design problems, but, first we have to get our chip vendors to provide IBIS model files for every part they make. PCD 4/1/1997

Impulsive Behavior   EE basics, sampled data -- Stimulate any linear system with one short, intense pulse, and you see a response characteristic of that particular system. EDN 12/2/2010

In-Between Spaces   EM fields, via -- According to Kirchoff’s laws for circuit analysis, the total inductance of two inductors placed in series should equal the sum of their independent inductances; this is not true for parasitic inductances in high-speed digital circuits. EDN 5/24/2007

Inducing Metastability   metastability, skew -- What if I *WANT* to induce the metastable state in a flip-flop? Newsletter v4-4 6/4/2001

Initial Condition   termination, transmission line -- A split termination biases the line at a halfway voltage so that the driver need only source or sink enough current to swing the line halfway in either direction. EDN 1/10/2008

Intentional Clock Modulation   clocks, EMC, jitter -- Over the years, various techniques have been proposed for modulating, or dithering, the clock frequency to break up the accumulated spectral power into a larger number of new modes. EDN 8/3/1998

Intentional Overshoot   clocks, overshoot, skew -- Ernie reduces the value of his series terminator, inducing some intentional overshoot that partially compensates for the lack of vivre in the received signal and speeding up (slightly) the threshold crossing. EDN 8/7/2003

Interconnections Matter   interconnections -- When you look at a digital machine, if you are not looking at the interconnections, you are missing one of the most important parts of the structure. EDN 5/13/1999

Interplane Capacitance   layer stack, power system, return current -- Follow-up to "High-Speed Return Signals" newsletter v1-15, discusses the effective useful radius of the interplane capacitance. Newsletter v3-21 8/30/1999

It's a Gaussian World   bandwidth, rise time -- My previous article, "Real Signals" (EDN Oct. 08, 2009), suggests that most digital output waveforms follow a nearly Gaussian profile. Let’s test that theory with a real-world measurement. EDN 1/7/2010

Jitter and Phase Noise   clocks, jitter -- Converting spectral-power-density noise measurements into rms and peak-to- peak jitter. Newsletter v4-7 6/25/2001

Jitter and SNR Combined   clocks, jitter -- I would rather not consider of the joint probability of occurrence of vertical noise and horizontal jitter in the same equation. Newsletter v7_06 11/18/2004

Jitter Capture   jitter, testing -- If you want to measure jitter the same way your receiver sees it, program your jitter measurement equipment to mimic your receiver’s PLL tracking algorithm. Newsletter v13_01 3/19/2010

Jitter Characterization   jitter, testing -- I wish I could begin by stating the definition of jitter. Wouldn’t it be great if there was only one definition? Unfortunately, the subject isn’t that simple. Here’s a sampling of definitions from various sources. Newsletter v11_06 10/8/2008

Jitter Creation   jitter, testing -- Here is a simple and effective jitter-creation circuit you can use in your own laboratory to create calibrated amounts of jitter. Observing this source, you can try all the features of your jitter-measurement equipment to see what they all do. Newsletter v12_06 10/8/2009

Jitter Measurement   jitter, testing -- What is the best way to measure Signal jitter using a Digital Oscilloscope? Newsletter v3-22 10/21/1999

Jitter Reference Clock Settings   jitter, testing -- You can never measure (or even define) the meaning of jitter in any absolute sense. All you can do is compare one signal against another and measure the difference in zero-crossing times between the two waveforms. Newsletter v15_03 8/21/2012

Jitter Tracking   jitter, testing -- A deep grasp of jitter, wander, and how a PLL reacts to them will help refine your understanding of serial data communications. Newsletter v13_02 9/3/2010

Jitter-Free Clocks   clocks, EMC, jitter -- Is there any way to make a timing reference that has low jitter and low spectral peaks and at the same time is compatible with zero-delay-repeater structures? EDN 8/5/1999

(The) Jitters   clocks, jitter -- If you are using a clock multiplier, or a PLL-based clock regenerator, make sure to comply with the specifications for offset, wander, and jitter on the reference clock input. ED 1/20/1997

Keeping Up With Moore   management -- multi-layer pc-boards, solid power and ground planes, surface-mount technology, reflow soldering, and the BGA package were the prominent advances in packaging during the last 20 years. EDN 5/7/1998

Killer Packet   data coding -- Scrambling by itself does *nothing* to improve the worst case DC balance. Newsletter v5-7 6/7/2002

Law of Product Development   attenuation, termination -- Regarding attenuating terminations, "The more independant requirements you place on a circuit, the more complex the circuit must become." Newsletter v8_06 10/3/2005

Line Length   reflections, ringing -- The critical line length beyond which many people use terminators varies from about 1/10 to 1/3 the length of the rising edge. Newsletter v3-14 6/7/1999

Linearity   EE basics -- Linearity is one of two properties essential for good signal fidelity, audio or otherwise. The other property is time-invariance. EDN 9/9/2010

Logic Analyzer Test Points   probes -- The input impedance of the logic analyzer probe… makes a good deal of difference Newsletter v3-2 1/21/1999

Lossless Propagation   attenuation, characteristic impedance, dispersion, transmission line -- In the short term, the input impedance of a uniform, lossless, distortionless transmission line appears purely resistive. EDN 12/3/2007

Making Gaussian Edges   rise time -- This analog filter network converts each input step into a smooth, Gaussian-shaped rising and falling edge. EDN 12/3/2009

Making Noise   power system, testing -- A massive array of sources creates a huge amount of noise useful for testing power supply noise immunity. EDN 9/15/2005

Manager's Guide to Digital Design   management -- This one-page executive summary includes everything a manageer needs to know about high-speed digital design. (April 8, 2010). EDN 4/8/2010

Managing Scotty   management -- Scotty to Kirk, "We cannot get the shields back in less than an hour, Captain. The Klingon attack cracked our DiLithium crystal, and there’s antimatter leaking everywhere…" EDN 6/7/2001

Margin Testing   crosstalk, management, testing -- (by JP Miller) Testing a link in isolation is never sufficient; links must be tested in combination with other noise sources. EDN 3/3/2005

Matching Pads   cables, layout, reflections, termination -- The only passive circuits that guarantee good impedance translation for wideband signals are resistive pads. EDN 12/21/2000

Measuring Connectors   connectors, crosstalk, testing -- I would like to replace one connector type with a different, less expensive model. How do I prove the two connectors have the same electrical characteristics? EDN 5/10/2001

Measuring Droop   power system, probes -- What is the best technique to make DC voltage measurement on a power rail? Will a four-point measurement technique be the most accurate? EDN 2/3/2005

Measuring Power and Ground   power system -- Follow-up to "Measuring Power-to-Ground Impedance", nwsltr v2- 14 Newsletter v3-13 5/21/1999

Measuring Power-Plane Resonance   power system -- James Mears of National Semiconductor describes his experience attempting to measure the impedance between power-and-ground planes. Newsletter v2-27 10/15/1998

Measuring Power-Ground Impedance   power system -- How to convert network-analyzer measurements of the impedance between a pair of power-and-ground planes from dB to ohms. Suggestions on probe configuration. Newsletter v2-14 5/26/1998

Measuring Skew   probes, skew -- You can’t depend on automatic de-skewing when measuring tightly coupled differential systems. EDN 2/5/2004

Memory Bus Crosstalk   characteristic impedance, crosstalk, jitter -- I am currently working on high speed memory bus with interconnect jitter. My memory team recommends changing the bus geometry to improve timing. Newsletter v9_06 8/22/2006

Metastability in Flip Flops   metastability -- What happens if you have two flip-flops in series, both using the same clock, and the first one goes metastable? Newsletter v3-15 7/14/1999

Metastable Persons   metastability -- When you violate the setup-and-hold times on a flip-flop, the output might erratically go high, stay low, or pop one way and then back again. EDN 3/16/2000

Millions and Billions   back plane, rise time, serial link -- When considering any aspect of your circuit geometry, the relation between physical size and risetime helps determine the relative importance of that object in the overall scheme of the circuit. EDN 8/18/2005

Minimum-Inductance Distribution of Current   EM fields, return current -- Faraday, in his mind’s eye, saw lines of force traversing all space. Newsletter v6_07 7/22/2003

Mitigating Crosstalk   crosstalk, differential signaling, layout -- What can be done to reduce the amount of crosstalk in a pcb. Newsletter v6-01 1/20/2003

Mixtures of skin-effect and dielectric loss   dielectric loss, dispersion, skin effect -- Long, high-speed pcb traces operate in a zone influenced by both skin-effect and dielectric losses. Both mechanisms attenuate the high-frequency portion of your signals, but in slightly different ways. EDN 9/19/2002

Moats and Floats   EMC, grounding -- How to conduct multiple comparative layout studies in one pcb fabrication cycle. ED 2/17/1997

Modeling Skin Effect   bandwidth, delay, rise time, simulation, skin effect -- Why does high-frequency current flow only on the outer surface of a printed-circuit trace? EDN 4/12/2001

Multi-Level Signaling -- Designcon2000   back plane, multi level, serial link -- multi-amplitude signaling won’t help much below 2.5 Gb/s, however, at higher speeds where the loss slope increases MAS becomes very useful. DesignCon 2000 1/30/2000

Multiple ADC grounding   grounding -- Several of you wrote about "ADC Grounding" (EDN, Dec 7, 2000, pg 36) to ask what happens when you have more than one ADC. EDN 2/1/2001

Musical Interference   EMC -- When you can walk up to your equipment and make it play Dixie on an AM radio, you will have captured the attention of your digital engineers. EMC Soc Nwsltr 7/1/2002

Mutual Understanding   connectors, crosstalk -- A connector configured with too few power and ground pins, or with too many heavy loads, generates a lot of crosstalk. EDN 1/1/1998

Mysterious Ground   grounding, probes -- All good probes come with short, tiny ground attachments. For single- ended measurements, don’t depend on mysterious ground connections. Always use a good, short ground connection. EDN 2/7/2002

Nasty ESD Testing   ESD, testing -- A thin, plastic package sitting on a metal desk, with wires hanging out the back of the package will prove embarrassingly susceptible to ESD. Newsletter v4-13 10/24/2001

Nature of ESD   ESD -- Once inside your product, ESD transient currents spread far and wide regardless of any ground jumpers, 100K resistors, and transorbs that may exist. EDN 8/6/2009

Negative Delay   clocks, delay, skew -- If Congress invented negative-delay legislation, it might improve its reputation for alacrity. EDN 8/30/2001

Nibble Effect   back plane, transmission line -- A distributed bus simultaneously activates more than one driver. The timing on a distributed bus is as intricately planned as a ballet. Newsletter v12_03 3/26/2009

Nickel Matters   skin effect, testing -- Nickel plating substantially increases the high-frequency resistance of a pcb trace. It lengthens the step response of the trace, exacerbating both inter-symbol interference and jitter. EDN 10/23/2012

Nickel-Plated Traces   attenuation, skin effect -- We have been advised that due to the changes to the skin effect caused by the Ni/Au on the traces for high frequency RF designs we could be building in a problem. Newsletter v5-6 4/22/2002

Noise Isolation   crosstalk, grounding, reference plane -- Achieving isolation greater than 80 dB. Newsletter v2- 13 5/19/1998

Noise Partitioning   crosstalk, EMC -- (by W. Michael King) Keep your loud, high-powered partitions from interfering with your little-bitty quiet ones. EDN 3/4/2004

Not all EMC engineers are bald   EMC, management -- If you want to keep doing what you love to do you must constantly re- educate yourself. EDN 1/24/2002

Not Your Fault   grounding, power system -- Green safety wires do not form a reliable single-point ground reference. EDN 3/5/2009

OFC Madness   power system -- Ernie heard that ofc cryogenic power cables are really good, but very expensive ($100’s). Should he buy one? EDN 3/1/2007

On-Chip Bypassing with End Terminations   bypass capacitors, chip packaging, power system, termination -- On-chip capacitors have no effect on single-ended systems with symmetrically-split end-terminations. EDN 5/27/2004

On-Chip Bypassing with Series Terminations   bypass capacitors, chip packaging, power system, termination -- On-chip capacitors perform brilliantly in a series-terminated architecture. EDN 4/29/2004

Open-Drain Lines   open drain, termination -- Should I use one pull-up resistor located somewhere in the middle of my line, or two resistors of twice the value located at each end? Newsletter v2-5 2/9/1998

Operating Above Resonance   bypass capacitors, layout -- It’s OK to use a bypass capacitor well above its point of series-resonance. That’s the normal mode of operation for most bypass capacitors. ED 4/14/1997

Parallel Resonance   EE basics, power system -- You can determine the peak of a parallel-resonant circuit step response from a graph of its inductive and capacitive asymptotes. EDN 2/2/2012

Parasitic Inductance of Bypass II   bypass capacitors -- The following values for the inductance of a surface-mounted bypass capacitor were collected using the step-response technique described in chapter 8 of High-Speed Digital Design. Newsletter v6_09 12/1/2003

Parasitic Inductance of Bypass Capacitors   bypass capacitors, layout -- You can estimate the parasitic series inductance of a bypass capacitor in a multi-layer board with solid power and ground planes. EDN 7/20/2000

Parasitic Pads   reflections -- It seems that the very short 1-in. trace I’m using is covered more with part pads than with 50-ohm trace. EDN 8/17/2000

Passivation and Solder Mask   attenuation, microstrip, skin effect -- Copper traces on outer layers must be protected from corrosion by passivation or by coating them with an inert material. EDN 6/13/2002

PCI Bus   PCI -- Discussion of "second-reflected-wave switching" and terminations. Newsletter v2-28 10/22/1998

PCI Series Terminations Resistors   delay, multi drop, PCI -- It’s OK to use series termination resistors with bi-directional transceivers. The series resistor just delays the incoming signals and degrades their risetimes. Newsletter v1-4 7/4/1997

PECL Biasing   differential signaling, termination -- I thought that PECL outputs always need external resistors to ground since PECL drivers can only source current but not sink it. Newsletter v1-5 7/14/1997

Perfect Probe   probes -- The probe I want shows me exactly the signals I need to see without affecting signal quality when I touch the system. EDN 10/14/2004

Persistent Edge   return current, rise time -- Are there really any high-frequency currents still flowing in portions of a transmission line after those portions have been passed over by a voltage disturbance moving down the line? Newsletter v8_05 8/23/2005

Picket Fences   EMC, grounding -- (by W. Michael King) About the use of a "picket fence" array of ground vias to shield internal sections of a board from each other. Newsletter v2-16 6/8/1998

Placement of End Termination   layout, termination -- The sequencing of the end-terminator and its associated load can make a measurable difference in signal quality. Newsletter v2-7 2/25/1998

Planning For Signal Integrity   ringing, simulation -- At these extremes of speed, even simple problems, like ringing, can become complex. Check out the nifty new simulation tools now available for dealing with signal integrity problems. ED 5/12/1997

PLL Response Time   jitter, rise time -- If you wish to clean up a jittery reference clock, removing the jitter, use a very low PLL tracking bandwidth. On the other hand, a serial data recovery application requires the highest PLL tracking bandwidth practicable. Newsletter v15_04 12/10/2012

Pointy Tips   probes, testing -- Some high-speed oscilloscope probes comes equipped with tips so pointy, so sharp, that you can set them down onto a pcb trace just as gently as a phonograph needle and still pick up a great signal. EDN 5/29/2008

Popsicle-stick Analysis   proximity effect, simulation, skin effect, transmission line -- You can model the proximity effect (and see edge-current concentration) using a simple model made from a sheet of rubber and a popsicle stick. EDN 3/7/2002

Potholes   reflections -- Adjustments to the width of a transmission line on either side of a heavy capacitive load can partially compensate for the load. EDN 11/11/1999

Power and Ground Resonance   power system -- (originally titled: Power Plane Resonance) Your power and ground planes do not form a perfect lumped-element capacitor. EDN 9/1/1998

Power Bus Noise   power dissipation, power system -- The CMOS devices that we have looked at can draw peak currents of about an Amp from the power bus (when a single gate switches) if they are connected with a sufficiently low inductance. Newsletter v1-9 8/26/1997

Power of Attraction   EM fields, return current -- Suspend a nickel in the air above the battleship Arizona. Remove all the conduction-band electrons from the nickel and place them on the battleship. Newsletter v14_01 2/11/2011

Power Plane Resistance   power system, probes -- The DC resistance between any two points within a region of arbitrary shape is easily measured. EDN 7/11/2002

Power Plane Resonance   power system -- Your power and ground planes do not form a perfect lumped-element capacitor. EDN 9/1/1998

Power-Ground Source Impedance   power system -- This reader takes issue with my claim of having achieved a power-to-ground impedance of 0.01 ohms by paralleling one hundred 0.1uF caps, each having 1 ohm or less impedance at the frequencies of interest. Newsletter v2-4 1/30/1998

Power-On-Reset   power system -- Many digital-design teams assign the design of the power-on-reset circuit to their youngest, least experienced engineer. This assignment is a mistake. EDN 12/3/1998

Practical Advice   management, testing -- Years ago, an engineer named Allen Goodrich gave me a unique piece of advice. EDN 11/22/2001

Probes   probes -- How to accurately probe for noise on power supply nodes. Newsletter v1-13 10/6/1997

Probing for Noise   probes -- How can a probe pick up noise when looking at its own ground? EDN 12/4/1997

Probing High-Speed Digital Designs   probes -- In high-speed system developments, the ubiquitous 10-pF 10:1 capacitive-input probe is no longer adequate. The two alternatives are the FET-input probe and the resistive-input probe. ED 3/17/1997

Probing Two Points   ferrite bead, probes -- You should ground each probe near its respective point of measurement. Newsletter v5-12 9/18/2002

Proximity Effect   proximity effect, return current, skin effect -- Is there a "Proximity Effect" in strip lines or microstrips that is caused by currents flowing in adjacent conductors? Newsletter v4-1 3/10/2000

Proximity Effect II   proximity effect, return current, skin effect -- Do you have any references dealing… with the current density distribution in a ground plane under a high frequency signal trace? Newsletter v4-3 6/1/2001

Proximity Effect III   crosstalk, high-speed digital design formulas, proximity effect, return current -- Justification for crosstalk approximation (see High-Speed Digital Design p. 190, eqn. [5.1]) Newsletter v4-8 10/3/2001

Point to Point Wiring and Big Loads   reflections, ringing, wire wrap -- Your best choices are to either slow down the driver risetime a little bit so the whole thing acts as one big lumped-element circuit, or use a real 75-ohm transmission line. Newsletter v3-16 7/21/1999

Pulse Width Compression   bandwidth, testing -- A pulse-width compression test overcomes the limitations of probe placement and loading. EDN 3/29/2007

Quadrature Connector Layout   connectors, crosstalk, EM fields -- Figure 1 illustrates the blueprint for a differential connector that radically reduces crosstalk between nearest-neighbor pairs. EDN 1/5/2012

Quadrature Via Layout   crosstalk, EM fields, via -- No matter where you place a differential via pair, you can always rotate its alignment to mitigate crosstalk from a troublesome differential source. EDN 12/1/2011

Quality   management -- Quality is not the result of comprehensive computer simulations. Quality is the result of knowing, through experience, how a product will actually be used in the field and anticipating those needs. EDN 11/3/2011

Quality Factor   bypass capacitors -- High-Q capacitors exacerbate resonances in a circuit, and resonance is the last thing you need in a power distribution system. Digital folks want low-Q capacitors. EDN 12/5/2005

Quantization Noise   sampled data, testing -- Measurement of low-level analog distortion requires two complementary things: a very good source and a very good instrument for signal detection. Newsletter v9_02 1/12/2006

Radiated Digital Ground Noise   EMC, grounding -- Ideally, you should ground your digital logic, the chassis, any cable grounds, and the cable shield (if present) to a common point. Newsletter v2-17 6/26/1998

Rainy-day Fun   transmission line -- You can use puddles of water to solve certain difficult problems in the design of high-speed transmission lines. EDN 3/4/1999

Random and Deterministic Jitter   clocks, jitter -- The point of separating jitter into random and deterministic components is that the deterministic components have a lower ratio of peak value to standard deviation than do the random components. EDN 6/27/2002

Real Signals   bandwidth, rise time -- The step responses of high-speed digital drivers tend to look Gaussian. The same goes for scope probes and pre-amplifiers. EDN 10/8/2009

(The) Real Truth About Crosstalk   crosstalk, layout -- If you are trying to manage crosstalk from first principles, so it comes out right on the first spin, look into the new crosstalk prediction tools that feature IBIS I/O modeling. ED 8/18/1997

Really Cool Bus   layout, multi drop, termination -- This unidirectional structure supports one driver with many, many loads. EDN 10/26/2000

Reason for Ground Split   crosstalk, grounding -- There are indeed applications so sensitive that they require separation of the analog and digital ground regions. Newsletter v9_04 3/24/2006

Reducing EMI with Differential Signaling   differential signaling, EMC -- You need not struggle to place ordinary differential digital traces any closer than 0.5 mm for any EMI purpose. EDN 12/12/2002

Reducing Emissions   EMC, termination -- (by Bruce Archambeault) Most radiated emissions problems depend more on signal currents than signal voltages. The source-termination resistance controls both received signal amplitude and drive current. EDN 3/1/2001

Reference-Free Pair   characteristic impedance, differential signaling -- An "image plane" method calculates the impedance of an over/under configuration with no solid reference plane. EDN 7/20/2006

Relevance of Physics   electromigration, management, power dissipation -- The engineering curriculum for first-year students at Oxford University still includes a good amount of basic physics, despite attempts by computer scientists at other universities to de-emphasize that subject. EDN 5/1/2003

Remembrance   management -- On Jan 9, 2012, my father passed away at the age of 79 after a long battle with Alzheimer’s… Newsletter v15_01 2/28/2012

Resistance   high-speed digital design formulas, power system -- Regarding page 414, equation for calculating the DC resistance of power planes based on the diameters of two contact points space at X amount of distance. Newsletter v1-11 9/15/1997

Resonance in Short Transmission Line   ringing, termination -- The resonant frequency and Q of a short, unterminated line varies strongly with capacitive loading. Newsletter v6-06 4/14/2003

Return Current in Plane   return current -- Distribution of return current on the solid plane underlying a high-speed signal trace. Newsletter v3-11 4/26/1999

Return Current Matters   differential signaling, return current -- Differential architectures sometimes tempt us to ignore return current issues… [but] even in a differential configuration, current flows on the planes under each trace separately. EDN 9/16/2004

Ribbon Cable Impedance   cables, differential signaling -- The impedance of flat-ribbon cable depends on the pattern of grounds. Newsletter v3-10 4/6/1999

Ringing in a New Era   ringing, simulation -- From this day forward there is absolutely, completely, totally no longer any excuse whatsoever for system problems, glitches, data errors or other artifacts related to ringing in digital signals. EDN 10/9/1997

Risetime of Lossy Transmission Line   cables, rise time -- The risetime of a long skin-effect limited cable scales with the square of its length, not according to the sum-of-squares rule for [the risetime of] cascaded linear systems. EDN 10/2/2003

Rising Problem   bandwidth, reflections, ringing -- The Gaussian edge best represents actual digital logic. It displays virtually no perceptible ringing in the time domain—just like the real circuit Newsletter v9_05 6/16/2006

Rollback RoHS   management -- Lead-free solder is not a "green" solution. Lead-free solder actually damages the environment more than 60/40 solder. Newsletter v10_01 4/16/2007

Scattering Parameters   reflections, simulation -- Relates S-parameter matrices provided by a network analyzer to transmission-matrices used for simulation work. Newsletter v6_03 2/17/2003

Scrambled Bus   data coding, EMC -- The improvement in common-mode radiation from the straight, unencoded, worst-case example to the best scrambled-and-coded version is better than 30 dB. Newsletter v7_10 12/14/2004

Scrape It   microstrip, probes -- I only know six ways to remove solder mask for probing: Scraping, milling, grinding, micro-blasting, chemical stripping, and ultraviolet (UV) illumination. EDN 5/1/2008

Second-Level Interconnects   interconnections, system-on-a-chip -- A reader suggests, "The days of discrete design and interconnect are rapidly disappearing, if not gone already." Newsletter v2-15 6/4/1998

See Beyond the Edge   characteristic impedance, testing -- The far-end reflected signal is usually considered the end of usable data in a TDR waveform, but a wealth of information lies beyond this point. EDN 10/13/2005

Segmenting the Vcc Plane   EMC, ferrite bead, power system -- I don’t cut up the Vcc plane unless I have one circuit that is substantially more sensitive to Vcc noise than the other circuits on the board. Newsletter v2-18 7/23/1998

Serial Killers   data coding, serial link -- If you are responsible for selecting a serial interface standard, I’d like to pass along a few ideas for your selection criteria, starting with some concepts having to do with the physical link protocol, particularly DC balance. Newsletter v7_07 12/1/2004

Series Resonance   EE basics, power system -- A digital power system needs lots of large, simple, non-resonant, bypass capacitors, not fancy resonant circuit tricks. EDN 3/1/2012

Serpentine Delays   clocks, delay, skew -- If you are using some form of delay line to match clock delays at all points of usage within a pc board, here’s a short list of the items you need to match: EDN 2/15/2001

Setting the Standard for Gigabit Ethernet   Gigabit Ethernet -- The Gigabit Ethernet standard provides for a number of physical layer transmission interfaces. ED 6/23/1997

Settling Time Measurements   delay -- What is the correct method to measure the settling time of a digital waveform? Newsletter v3-17 7/28/1999

Seven Percent Solution   termination, testing -- The distribution of 10%-resistor values in a bin does not follow a simple Gaussian profile. EDN 6/10/2010

Severe Overshoot   overshoot, ringing -- Will overshoot and undershoot impact the receiver, damage it or cause excessive recovery time? Newsletter v2-31 12/2/1998

Severe Overshoot Mailbag   overshoot, ringing -- ...the clamp diodes shot current into the VCC net… …make sure you are measuring the overshoot correctly… ...Undershoot on some lines on some SRAM chips will cause "weak writes"… Newsletter v3-1 1/14/1999

Shannon Says   connectors, crosstalk, multi level -- Connector vendors will soon realize that great improvements in the information-carrying capacity of their products may be had by reducing crosstalk. EDN 11/13/2003

Shaping Edges   rise time, sampled data -- If you have a record of a driver’s actual output signal shape, or can extracted it from an IBIS file, use it. In the absence of other information, assume a Gaussian shape. EDN 11/12/2009

Sharp Edges   ringing, simulation -- A PWL edge over-stimulates the resonant behavior. A smooth Gaussian edge better represents a real digital signal, eliminating phantom ripples in your simulation output. EDN 6/22/2006

Short Transmission Line Model   transmission line -- Lumped-element modeling of transmission line behavior using the "PI-Model" Newsletter v3-18 8/7/1999

Short-Term Impedance of Planes   EM fields, power system, return current, via -- Doesn’t the returning signal current just pop between the planes through the parasitic capacitance of the planes themselves, you might ask? Newsletter v6_05 3/24/2003

Shot Heard 'Round the World   reflections, ringing, termination -- Let’s apply Sabine’s theory of acoustic reverberation to a digital problem. EDN 10/16/2008

Signal Ground Drain Wire   cables, connectors, EMC, ground bounce -- Why should disconnecting the "drain wire" at the connectors have such a drastic impact on the rise/fall time of the outer conductors? Newsletter v2-32 12/4/1998

Signal Integrity Mailbag   clocks, EMC, jitter -- My recent column on intentional clock modulation (EDN, Aug 3, 1998, pg 24) spurred some interesting responses from readers. EDN 10/8/1998

Simulation Software   EMC, simulation -- What are the primary issues at hand, and what are the important questions to ask before you get yourself mired in a project that may not pay off. Newsletter v1-16 11/4/1997

Single Point Ground   grounding -- Moat-and-drawbridge approach used on mixed-signal board. Newsletter v2-26 9/29/1998

Skin Effect Calculations   skin effect -- Derivation of skin-effect loss equations in High-Speed Digital Design Web

Skin Hot   skin effect -- How skin resistance changes with temperature. EDN 3/6/2003

Sliding Edge   reflections, transmission line -- When you connect two boards made from dissimilar fiberglass laminate materials, will high-speed signals reflect due to the sudden change in board properties as they move across the connection interface? EDN 9/3/2009

Slippery Slopes   differential signaling, skew -- Differential Skew revisited: skew disperses your risetime, increasing your susceptibility to jitter caused by additive noise. EDN 4/1/2004

Slow Wave Mode   delay, transmission line -- The slow-wave effect hampers signal transmission on some on-chip MIS (metal-insulator-semiconductor) interconnections. EDN 11/8/2001

So Good it Works on Barbed Wire   cables, transmission line -- Next time you look at a transmission line, I hope you’ll focus on the big four properties: characteristic impedance, high-frequency loss, delay, and crosstalk. EDN 7/5/2001

Software Crosstalk   crosstalk -- Explains why software tests for ringing and crosstalk are necessary and what specific features are needed. Newsletter v5-0 6/24/2002

SONET data coding   data coding, level translation -- Figure 1 shows one way to build a non-linear DC restorer. This circuit fixes the DC balance of a SONET data string that has lost its DC level because of AC-coupling. Newsletter v5-5 3/29/2002

(The) Sound of Progress   back plane, connectors -- The vias and breakout patterns underneath a connector control its physical scale and thus its electrical performance. EDN 5/12/2011

Space-Time Diagrams   back plane, transmission line -- Where the waves cross, at each point in time and space the transmission line sums their amplitudes. Like rogue waves crossing in the middle of the ocean, the effective total height of the combination may exceed that of either wave alone. Newsletter v12_02 1/25/2009

Specsmanship   management -- Every Joe at the lumberyard understands that a 2x4 does not measure two inches by four inches. EDN 2/2/2006

Spotlight Interview with Dr. Howard Johnson   management -- Dr. Johnson responds to questions from the EE Web staff about technology, it’s direction, the importance of early education, and the influence of parents and mentors. This article is reprinted in honor of his father, Dr. Jim Johnson, 1932-2012. Web 2/21/2012

Spread Your Returns   crosstalk, ground bounce -- BGA package analysis; Signals closest to a good return suffer the least ground bounce. EDN 3/31/2005

Squeeze Your Layer Stack   back plane, dielectric loss, via -- Given the same trace width and trace impedance, a lower dielectric constant lets you squeeze the layer stack. Newsletter v7_04 9/1/2004

Star Topology   ringing, termination -- A star topology connects N devices in a completely symmetrical, peer-to- peer fashion. EDN 11/11/2004

Steel-plated Power Planes   power system, reference plane -- A thin coating of steel, applied to the inside-facing surfaces of a power and ground plane pair may help damp power plane resonance. EDN 3/21/2002

Step Response Test   connectors, probes, testing -- My favorite repetitive step response stimulus is a simple square wave with 50% duty cycle. (This article includes many details of measurement technique and interpretation.) Newsletter v11_01 3/13/2008

Straddle-Mount Connectors   chip packaging, connectors -- Follow-up to "Tapered Transitions", EDN 11 Oct., 2001 Newsletter v4-18 12/19/2001

Strange Microstrip Mailbag   dispersion, microstrip, transmission line -- Follow-up to April 26, 2001 column in EDN, "Strange Microstrip Modes." Newsletter v4-16 11/28/2001

Strange Microstrip Modes   bandwidth, overshoot, TEM mode, transmission line -- "Quasistatic" values of capacitance and inductance are the values you get at low frequencies, near dc. EDN 4/26/2001

Stub Termination   termination, via -- (by Lambert (Bert) Simonovich) A via-stub termination can eliminate via resonance at the expense of a modest amount of flat-loss attenuation. EDN 5/13/2010

Stubs & Vias   reflections -- I would like to know the effects of stubs and vias in high-speed PCB designs. Newsletter v2-25 9/16/1998

Submicron ASICs and EMI-EMC   chip packaging, EMC -- Above Fk the limited rise/fall time in your chips provides a natural filtering effect that limits emissions. EDN 4/13/2000

Superposition   EE basics -- Linear superposition opens the door to many advanced methods of circuit analysis. EDN 10/7/2010

Surface Roughness   attenuation, surface roughness, transmission line -- At a microscopic scale, no surface appears perfectly smooth. EDN 12/6/2001

Synchronizing clocks   clocks, skew, synchronization -- What should I do to prevent noise problems if I choose not to synchronize the whole clock tree. Newsletter v4-6 6/19/2001

Take the Fifth   EE basics, rise time -- How many harmonic terms must I take to adequately represent a good squarewave? EDN 2/3/2011

Tapered Transitions   characteristic impedance, connectors -- Consider the problem of adapting a straddle-mount SMA connector for a 10-Gbps digital application. EDN 10/11/2001

TDR and Ice Cube Trays   return current, transmission line -- The "Ice Cube Tray" model of distributed transmission. Newsletter v3-5 2/5/1999

Ten Layer Stack   layer stack, return current -- Discussion of multi-layer board stack for system with multiple power voltages. Newsletter v2-11 4/27/1998

Ten Measurements   testing -- Ten measurements define the body of knowledge we call, "Signal Integrity." Master them, and you will become a guru of the art. EDN 5/10/2012

Terminator Crazy   return current, termination -- The first clue as to whether a terminator is needed is the ratio of trace delay to rise time. ED 10/1/1996

Terminator I   reflections, rise time, termination -- If you can limit the magnitude of the reflections to, say, x percent of the signal swing, then the worst-case time-domain jitter induced by those errant reflected blips will amount to only a x percent of the signal risetime. EDN 3/2/2006

Terminator II   reflections, rise time, termination -- Resistor R2 acts as an isolation component, preventing the FPGA capacitance from directly loading the terminating resistor. EDN 3/30/2006

Terminator III   reflections, rise time, termination -- I want to force the apparent termination impedance to equal precisely 50 ohms, with minimum degradation of the received signal risetime. EDN 4/27/2006

Think Small   chip packaging, EM fields, rise time -- The three-dimensional rule for physical scaling of electrical connections immutably controls the performance of connectors, packages, component bodies, vias, and many other common structures. Newsletter v8_04 5/4/2005

Three Drop Bus   layout, multi drop, power dissipation -- The three privileged locations on a long net are at one end, the other end, and right smack in the middle. Newsletter v4-12 10/18/2001

Through-hole Clearances   connectors, crosstalk, Ernie -- Connectors require continuity of the ground plane underneath the connector. EDN 7/8/1999

Time Invariance   EE basics -- Hard clipping obeys time-invariance, but not superposition. A tremolo circuit obeys superposition, but varies its gain with time. EDN 11/4/2010

Tiny Difference   layout, probes, skew -- Measuring a tiny time difference like 5 ps can be quite challenging. Anjaly will need well-matched, skew-calibrated probes and perfectly symmetric attachments to the board. Newsletter v9_08 12/21/2006

Tips on Controlling Clock Skew   clocks, skew -- Your ability to manage and control clock skew has been recently improved by the introduction of a new generation of multi-output, low-skew clock drivers. ED 7/21/1997

To Tee or Not To Tee?   layout, multi drop -- The basic problem with this topology is that all three branches are long compared to the length of a rising edge. EDN 2/2/1998

(The) Torches and the Hair   bandwidth, multi level, serial link -- Mankind has a long history of experience dealing with bandwidth-limited communication channels. DesignCon 2003 2/17/2003

Trace Between Capacitors   crosstalk, layout -- Will crosstalk occur if I route a trace underneath a bypass capacitor? Newsletter v3-4 1/28/1999

Trace Inductance   transmission line -- Can you give me a basic (approximate) formula for the inductance of (1) a bare pc trace, and (2) A trace suspended above an adjacent plane. Newsletter v3-8 3/23/1999

Trace Scaling   simulation, skin effect -- How to circumvent minimum feature-size limitations in your SI simulation tool. EDN 3/4/2010

Transmission Lines/Gate Delay   transmission line -- What does this mean: "Until the driver becomes aware of the impedance mismatch at the end of the line the line looks resistive" Newsletter v1-19 12/4/1997

Transmission-line Scaling   bandwidth, transmission line -- Every pc-board trace has a limited bandwidth. As chips go faster and faster, you eventually run into this limitation. EDN 2/4/1999

Tricky DRAM Lines   layout, multi drop -- The app note I’m looking at suggests that my DRAM address lines run in a "T" shape… with a ground plane cut under the DRAMs Newsletter v1-20 12/15/1997

Twisted Crosstalk   crosstalk, EM fields -- Differential links have a good reputation for rejecting external noise. Unfortunately, that good reputation extends only to noise that affects both wires equally. Newsletter v12_01 1/9/2009

Twisted Impedance   characteristic impedance, differential signaling -- When separation, S, is less than wire diameter, D, doesn’t your formula ln(2S/D) return a negative value for characteristic impedance? What gives? EDN 9/18/2008

Two-way Street   probes, simulation -- Transmission lines, like streets, support traffic in two directions. A voltage probe shows only an aggregate voltage waveform, but doesn’t say which way the waveform is moving. EDN 1/4/2007

Uncertainty Principle   bandwidth, rise time, testing -- The shorter the duration of an event in time, the wider must be the spread of frequencies associated with it. EDN 7/19/2007

Undo Machine   EE basics, equalizer, sampled data -- The signal distortion caused by some linear time- invariant processes can be completely un-done. EDN 1/6/2011

Unified Eletrodynamic Force   EM fields -- The magnetic force is nothing more, and nothing less, than a direct consequence of Einstein’s theory of relativity. EDN 2/5/2009

Using Ferrites   crosstalk, ferrite bead -- If two or more ferrites are placed parallel and close to each other will this result in crosstalk between them? Newsletter v1-2 6/13/1997

Value of End Terminator   EMC, termination -- Should an end-terminator always be set at the highest value that works because that minimizes the current and therefore gives the best EMI performance? Newsletter v5-1 1/7/2002

Via Capacitance   via -- Formula [7.6] in High-Speed Digital Design for the capacitance of a via is a crude approximation. I’ve now got some better material. Newsletter v5-9 7/15/2002

Via Inductance   EM fields, high-speed digital design formulas, return current, via -- The inductance of a via depends on the path of returning signal current. Newsletter v6-04 3/15/2003

Via Inductance II   via -- Corroborates real-world measurements of via inductance with a simple approximation. Newsletter v6_08 9/10/2003

Visible Return Current   return current -- I may at last have found a way to demonstrate, in a direct (and dramatic) fashion, to any observer, where and how high-frequency current flows in a printed circuit board. Newsletter v8_08 12/1/2005

Visualizing Differential Crosstalk   crosstalk, differential signaling -- The spacing between the wires of a differential stripline pair affects crosstalk only mildly EDN 12/5/2008

Voltage Conversion   attenuation, termination -- James Buchanon points out that my attenuating terminator may be impossible! Newsletter v9_01 1/4/2006

Voltage Regulator Droop   power system -- When the load draws current, the new larger value of regulator output resistance will increase the droop measured at Vcc. That sounds bad, but in some very special circumstances it is actually good for your circuit. EDN 9/14/2006

Voltage Regulator Model   bypass capacitors, power system -- One step-response test reveals enough information to form a simple circuit model of most any voltage regulator. EDN 8/17/2006

VRM Stability - Part I: Feedback   crosstalk, power system -- Feedback must be carefully controlled because, by its very nature, feedback invites the risk of self-oscillation. Newsletter v10_3 9/10/2007

VRM Stability - Part II: ESR   bypass capacitors, power system -- The ESR of your VRM output capacitor controls both its ripple amplitude and stability. Newsletter v10_4 9/17/2007

Wafer-Probe Launch   layout, testing -- At 28-Gb/s the SMA runs out of gas, so connect your VNA to the layout test card using a high-performance microwave wafer probe. EDN 10/6/2011

Water Analogy   EE basics -- Pump A forces water at constant pressure p1 around a closed loop controlled by valve B at a steady velocity v1. This is the law of EDN 7/15/2010

Water Hammer   EE basics, Ernie -- A system of water pipes with a large electric snap-action water valve and a flow regulator explodes at midnight. EDN 8/12/2010

Watery Grave   ESD -- Design your system to survive near-miss situations. The most common near-miss scenarios include discharges to your product chassis, the wires leading into or out of your chassis, or metallic objects near those wires. EDN 6/23/2005

(The) Way Home   bypass capacitors, layout -- Current always makes a loop. If it goes out, it must find a way back home. The shapes of both the outgoing and the return paths affect the observed inductance. EDN 6/22/2000

Way Too Cool   management, power dissipation -- LED traffic lights clog with snow, become indiscernible, and cause fatal traffic accidents. EDN 2/4/2010

Whang That Ruler   ringing, termination -- A capacitive load applied to a pcb trace lowers its resonant frequency much like a quarter taped to the end of a ruler lowers its resonant pitch. EDN 4/7/2011

What's That Glitch?   reflections, transmission line -- Have you ever seen a non-monotonic glitch in a signal like the one shown in Figure 1? Can you guess what causes it? EDN 8/19/2004

What's That Plateau?   probes, termination, transmission line -- An unexpected plateau implies the presence of a transmission line stub. Newsletter v7_03 6/14/2004

When Everything Matters   management -- Squeeze that last drop of performance from a CMOS architecture by turning up the clock or adding a few new features and you may choke on the curse of complexity—where every decision you make interacts with every other decision. EDN 1/6/2005

When Logic Switches Too Fast   rise time -- When new chips are substituted into older designs, the new, faster chips may bring you nothing but headaches. ED 7/1/1996

When to use AC Coupling   clocks, interconnections, level translation -- When should one adopt DC coupling versus AC coupling? Newsletter v4_15 11/13/2001

Who's Afraid of the Big, Bad Bend?   microstrip, reflections, transmission line -- Right-angle bends in PC-board traces perform perfectly well in digital designs in speeds as fast as 2 Gbps. EDN 5/11/2000

Why 50-Ohms Mailbag   cables -- Regarding my article "Why 50 Ohms?" (EDN, Sept 14, 2000, pg 30), I received some interesting justifications for the use of 50-ohm coaxial cabling. EDN 1/4/2001

Why 50 Ohms?   cables, transmission line -- Why do most engineers use 50-ohm pc-board transmission lines? Why not 60 or 70 ohms ? EDN 9/14/2000

Why Digital Engineers Don't Believe in EMC   EMC -- Digital engineers don’t believe current flows in loops, existence of the H-field, gates are differential amplifiers, existence of EM waves, or that EMC will advance their careers EMC Soc nwsltr 3/2/1998

Why is That?   reflections, termination -- You need three things: Good measurement equipment, a simulation system handles your application, and knowledge of what factors might reasonably affect your design. I teach the knowledge part. Newsletter v11_05 9/2/2008

Why Johnny Can't Design a High-Speed Digital System   management -- As a class, digital engineers are less well equipped now than they were 30 years ago to design a high-speed digital system. DesignCon 2003 2/17/2003

Why Teach Science?   management -- Science is not for everybody. You could live like an aborignal, running around naked in the forest chasing deer with bows and arrows, for all I care. EDN 2/1/2007

Winsome Waveform Wizardry   management -- This fast-paced podcast appearance with Chris Gammel on the "Amp Hour" touches on many of the finer points of life, including how to hide technical details from your boss, how to get a standard through the IEEE, and dealing with unwelcome co-workers. Web 1/9/2012

Wire-Wrap   wire wrap -- What are other simple ways of connecting two ICs together that are more robust than wire-wrap? Newsletter v2-8 3/5/1998

Words of Wisdom   management, testing -- What instructions would you give to a development team working on a 10 Gb/s serial link? EDN 4/3/2003

Working with EMC Consultants   EMC -- The biggest EMC mistake you can make is the failure to get your consultant involved at a sufficiently early stage. Newsletter v5-10 9/10/2002

Yao! What a Handshake   level translation, termination -- Making the output voltage equal VT is the easiest thing in the world for a driver. The terminating voltage is a "natural resting place". If you disconnect the driver, the load immediately relaxes, all by itself, to VT. EDN 2/7/2008

Your layout is skewed   differential signaling, skew -- Chamfering or rounding of differential corners does not eliminate skew. EDN 4/18/2002

Z[min]   level translation, termination -- Understanding Z[min], dear reader, is the secret to successful end-termination design. EDN 2/27/2008