Keyword Index

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attenuation back plane bandwidth bypass capacitors
cables characteristic impedance chip packaging clocks
connectors crosstalk data coding delay
dielectric loss differential signaling dispersion EE basics
electromigration EM fields EMC equalizer
Ernie ESD ferrite bead Gigabit Ethernet
ground bounce grounding high-speed design formulas hot plugging
interconnections jitter layer stack layout
level translation management metastability microstrip
multi drop multi level open drain overshoot
PCI power dissipation power system probes
proximity effect reference plane reflections return current
ringing rise time sampled data serial link
simulation skew skin effect stripline
surface roughness synchronization system-on-a-chip TEM mode
termination testing transmission line via
wire wrap

attenuation

and characteristic impedance, dispersion, transmission line

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

and dielectric loss

Dielectric Loss Tangents 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)

and differential signaling, dispersion, serial link

Differential Receivers Tolerate High-Frequency Losses Differential receivers have more accurate switching thresholds than ordinary single-ended logic. (EDN 11/28/2002)

and management, serial link

Essential System Margin 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)

and microstrip, skin effect

Passivation and Solder Mask Copper traces on outer layers must be protected from corrosion by passivation or by coating them with an inert material. (EDN 6/13/2002)

and serial link

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

and skin effect

Nickel-Plated Traces 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)

and surface roughness, transmission line

Surface Roughness At a microscopic scale, no surface appears perfectly smooth. (EDN 12/6/2001)

and termination

Law of Product Development 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)

Voltage Conversion James Buchanon points out that my attenuating terminator may be impossible! (Newsletter v9_01 1/4/2006)

and testing

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

and transmission line

Comparing Transmission Media 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)

back plane

and bandwidth, testing

Frequent Obsession 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)

and connectors

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

and connectors, crosstalk

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

and crosstalk

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

and dielectric loss, via

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

and differential signaling, layer stack, serial link

Backplane Design Differential trace geometry, power and ground stackup for big backplane. (EDN 5/25/2000)

and multi drop, ringing

Bus Architecture and Timing The ratio (bus delay)/(clock period) is a key indicator of bus design difficulty. (DesignCon 1999 1/30/1999)

and multi level, serial link

Multi-Level Signaling -- Designcon2000 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)

and rise time, serial link

Millions and Billions 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)

and transmission line

Space-Time Diagrams 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)

Nibble Effect 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)

Current-Source Driver 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)

bandwidth

Erroneous Harmonics 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)

and back plane, testing

Frequent Obsession 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)

and delay, rise time, simulation, skin effect

Modeling Skin Effect Why does high-frequency current flow only on the outer surface of a printed-circuit trace? (EDN 4/12/2001)

and multi level, serial link

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

and overshoot, TEM mode, transmission line

Strange Microstrip Modes "Quasistatic" values of capacitance and inductance are the values you get at low frequencies, near dc. (EDN 4/26/2001)

and probes, testing

Adequate Bandwidth 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)

and reflections, ringing

Rising Problem 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)

and rise time

Real Signals 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)

It’s a Gaussian World 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)

and rise time, testing

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

and testing

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

and transmission line

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

bypass capacitors

Parasitic Inductance of Bypass II 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)

Quality Factor 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)

and chip packaging, power system, termination

On-Chip Bypassing with Series Terminations On-chip capacitors perform brilliantly in a series-terminated architecture. (EDN 4/29/2004)

On-Chip Bypassing with End Terminations On-chip capacitors have no effect on single-ended systems with symmetrically-split end-terminations. (EDN 5/27/2004)

and layout

Operating Above Resonance 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)

Bypass Arrays Does anyone out there actually DESIGN their bypassing networks? (Newsletter v1-6 7/25/1997)

Capacitor Placement 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)

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

(The) Way Home 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)

Parasitic Inductance of Bypass Capacitors 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)

Bypass Capacitor Sequencing 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)

and layout, power system

Bypass Capacitor Layout 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)

Capacitor Layout Matters 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)

and management, power system

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

and power system

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

Bypass Capacitor Array 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)

Voltage Regulator Model 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 II: ESR The ESR of your VRM output capacitor controls both its ripple amplitude and stability. (Newsletter v10_4 9/17/2007)

cables

Why 50-Ohms Mailbag 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)

Test My System Use good cables, not cheap ones. (HSDD 6.20 — 6.22 4/5/2013)

and connectors, EMC, ground bounce

Signal Ground Drain Wire 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)

and connectors, EMC, grounding

Cable Shield 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)

and differential signaling

Ribbon Cable Impedance The impedance of flat-ribbon cable depends on the pattern of grounds. (Newsletter v3-10 4/6/1999)

and equalizer

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

and layout, reflections, termination

Matching Pads The only passive circuits that guarantee good impedance translation for wideband signals are resistive pads. (EDN 12/21/2000)

and rise time

Risetime of Lossy Transmission Line 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)

and transmission line

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

So Good it Works on Barbed Wire 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)

characteristic impedance

and attenuation, dispersion, transmission line

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

and connectors

Tapered Transitions Consider the problem of adapting a straddle-mount SMA connector for a 10-Gbps digital application. (EDN 10/11/2001)

and crosstalk, jitter

Memory Bus Crosstalk 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)

and dielectric loss, skin effect

Characteristic Impedance of Lossy Line 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)

and differential signaling

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

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

Twisted Impedance 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)

and differential signaling, reflections

Differential Transitions 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)

and reflections, termination

Why Reflections Happen Whatever impedance creates no reflection is DEFINED as the characteristic impedance of the transmission structure. There is no other definition. (EDN 5/22/2013)

and reflections, transmission line

A transmission line is always a 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)

and ringing

Make It Better When the driver output resistance in the falling direction must be less than the output resistance in the rising direction, a common situation in CMOS totem-pole drivers, no value of series-terminating impedance can possibly make both edges perfect. (EDN 2/26/2013)

and testing

See Beyond the Edge 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)

chip packaging

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

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

and bypass capacitors, power system, termination

On-Chip Bypassing with Series Terminations On-chip capacitors perform brilliantly in a series-terminated architecture. (EDN 4/29/2004)

On-Chip Bypassing with End Terminations On-chip capacitors have no effect on single-ended systems with symmetrically-split end-terminations. (EDN 5/27/2004)

and connectors

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

and differential signaling, ground bounce

A Time for All Things There is a good time and a bad time for a chip to sample its digital inputs. (EDN 6/21/2001)

and EM fields, rise time

Think Small 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)

and EMC

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

clocks

and delay, skew

Serpentine Delays 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)

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

and differential signaling

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

and EMC, jitter

Intentional Clock Modulation 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)

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

Jitter-Free Clocks 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)

and interconnections, level translation

When to use AC Coupling When should one adopt DC coupling versus AC coupling? (Newsletter v4_15 11/13/2001)

and jitter

(The) Jitters 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)

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

Random and Deterministic 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)

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

Jitter and SNR Combined 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)

and overshoot, skew

Intentional Overshoot 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)

and skew

Tips on Controlling Clock 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)

and skew, synchronization

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

connectors

and back plane

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

and back plane, crosstalk

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

and cables, EMC, ground bounce

Signal Ground Drain Wire 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)

and cables, EMC, grounding

Cable Shield 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)

and characteristic impedance

Tapered Transitions Consider the problem of adapting a straddle-mount SMA connector for a 10-Gbps digital application. (EDN 10/11/2001)

and chip packaging

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

and crosstalk

Mutual Understanding 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)

and crosstalk, EM fields

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

and crosstalk, Ernie

Through-hole Clearances Connectors require continuity of the ground plane underneath the connector. (EDN 7/8/1999)

and crosstalk, layer stack, via

Connecting Layers 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)

and crosstalk, multi level

Shannon Says 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)

and crosstalk, testing

Measuring Connectors 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)

and differential signaling, stripline

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

and probes, testing

Step Response Test 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)

Confirm the Diagnosis 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)

crosstalk

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

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

Guard Traces 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)

and back plane

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

and back plane, connectors

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

and characteristic impedance, jitter

Memory Bus Crosstalk 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)

and connectors

Mutual Understanding 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)

and connectors, EM fields

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

and connectors, Ernie

Through-hole Clearances Connectors require continuity of the ground plane underneath the connector. (EDN 7/8/1999)

and connectors, layer stack, via

Connecting Layers 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)

and connectors, multi level

Shannon Says 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)

and connectors, testing

Measuring Connectors 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)

and differential signaling

Differential Crosstalk 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)

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

and differential signaling, layout

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

and EM fields

Twisted Crosstalk 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)

and EM fields, via

Quadrature Via Layout 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)

and EMC

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

and ferrite bead

Using Ferrites 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)

and ground bounce

Crosstalk and SSO Noise 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)

BGA Crosstalk 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)

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

Big Buffer 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)

and grounding

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

Ground Loops Single-point ground networks provide isolation only when communications remain localized to isolated sections of the network. (EDN 12/18/2012)

and grounding, reference plane

Noise Isolation Achieving isolation greater than 80 dB. (Newsletter v2-13 5/19/1998)

and high-speed design formulas, proximity effect, return current

Proximity Effect III Justification for crosstalk approximation (see High-Speed Digital Design p. 190, eqn. [5.1]) (Newsletter v4-8 10/3/2001)

and layout

(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)

Directionality of Crosstalk (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)

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

Crosstalk at Right Angles Crosstalk for traces crossing at right angles. (Newsletter v3-6 2/26/1999)

and management, testing

Margin 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)

and power system

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

and via

Crosstalk - Via to Trace 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 - Differential Vias 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 Ground vias, used in conjunction with a differential pair, arrest the spread of crosstalk. (EDN 4/28/2005)

data coding

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

and EMC

Scrambled Bus 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)

and Gigabit Ethernet

Fiber-Optic Encoding 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)

and ground bounce

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

and layout, reflections

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

and level translation

SONET data coding 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)

and level translation, reflections, serial link

DC Blocking Capacitor Placement 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 How do I choose the value for a DC blocking capacitor in a serial link application? (Newsletter v7_09 1/10/2005)

and serial link

Serial Killers 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)

delay

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

and bandwidth, rise time, simulation, skin effect

Modeling Skin Effect Why does high-frequency current flow only on the outer surface of a printed-circuit trace? (EDN 4/12/2001)

and clocks, skew

Serpentine Delays 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)

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

and multi drop, PCI

PCI Series Terminations Resistors 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)

and testing

Finger the Culprit 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)

and transmission line

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

and via

Delay Through 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)

dielectric loss

and attenuation

Dielectric Loss Tangents 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)

and back plane, via

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

and characteristic impedance, skin effect

Characteristic Impedance of Lossy Line 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)

and dispersion, skin effect

Mixtures of skin-effect and dielectric loss 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)

differential signaling

Differential Signaling (Through Connectors) 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)

and attenuation, dispersion, serial link

Differential Receivers Tolerate High-Frequency Losses Differential receivers have more accurate switching thresholds than ordinary single-ended logic. (EDN 11/28/2002)

and back plane, layer stack, serial link

Backplane Design Differential trace geometry, power and ground stackup for big backplane. (EDN 5/25/2000)

and cables

Ribbon Cable Impedance The impedance of flat-ribbon cable depends on the pattern of grounds. (Newsletter v3-10 4/6/1999)

and characteristic impedance

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

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

Twisted Impedance 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)

and characteristic impedance, reflections

Differential Transitions 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)

and chip packaging, ground bounce

A Time for All Things There is a good time and a bad time for a chip to sample its digital inputs. (EDN 6/21/2001)

and clocks

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

and connectors, stripline

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

and crosstalk

Differential Crosstalk 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)

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

and crosstalk, layout

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

and EMC

Differential-to-common-mode conversion 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)

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

and EMC, skew

Common Mode Analysis of Skew A twenty-percent skew creates a ten-percent common-mode component. (EDN 1/22/2004)

and layer stack, layout, skew

Asymmetry in Broadside Configuration In general I avoid broadside-coupled traces unless they are made necessary by routing considerations. (EDN 11/14/2002)

and layout

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

and probes, testing

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

and reflections, transmission line

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

and return current

Return Current Matters 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)

and skew

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

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

Buying Time 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)

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

and termination

PECL Biasing 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)

Differential 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)

and transmission line

Differential Coupling Differential links need not be tightly coupled to work effectively. (EDN 11/13/2008)

dispersion

and attenuation, characteristic impedance, transmission line

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

and attenuation, differential signaling, serial link

Differential Receivers Tolerate High-Frequency Losses Differential receivers have more accurate switching thresholds than ordinary single-ended logic. (EDN 11/28/2002)

and dielectric loss, skin effect

Mixtures of skin-effect and dielectric loss 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)

and microstrip, transmission line

Strange Microstrip Mailbag Follow-up to April 26, 2001 column in EDN, "Strange Microstrip Modes." (Newsletter v4-16 11/28/2001)

EE basics

Water Analogy 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)

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

Superposition Linear superposition opens the door to many advanced methods of circuit analysis. (EDN 10/7/2010)

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

and equalizer, sampled data

Undo Machine The signal distortion caused by some linear time-invariant processes can be completely un-done. (EDN 1/6/2011)

and Ernie

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

and management

High-Speed Digital Design: Overview 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)

and power system

Parallel Resonance 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)

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

and rise time

Take the Fifth How many harmonic terms must I take to adequately represent a good squarewave? (EDN 2/3/2011)

and sampled data

Impulsive Behavior Stimulate any linear system with one short, intense pulse, and you see a response characteristic of that particular system. (EDN 12/2/2010)

and transmission line

Charge in Motion 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 Arrested Animations showing the behavior of moving charged particles at an open-circuited transmission-line endpoint. (Newsletter v14_03 4/21/2011)

Charge Unleashed 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)

electromigration

and ESD, overshoot, ringing

(For Your) Protection Protection diodes have a limited lifetime—don’t wear them out. (EDN 12/9/2004)

and management, power dissipation

Relevance of Physics 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)

EM fields

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

and chip packaging, rise time

Think Small 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)

and connectors, crosstalk

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

and crosstalk

Twisted Crosstalk 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)

and crosstalk, via

Quadrature Via Layout 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)

and EMC, simulation

EM Simulation Software (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)

and grounding, probes

Measuring Nothing When looking at a noisy, jittery signal, how can you tell which parts of the signal are "real" and which parts derive from noise and interference? (EDN 4/23/2013)

and high-speed design formulas, return current, via

Via Inductance The inductance of a via depends on the path of returning signal current. (Newsletter v6-04 3/15/2003)

and microstrip

Field Cancellation 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)

and power system, return current, via

Short-Term Impedance of Planes 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)

and return current

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

Power of Attraction 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)

and via

In-Between Spaces 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)

EMC

Why Digital Engineers Don’t Believe in 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)

Going Vertical 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)

Musical Interference 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)

Working with EMC Consultants 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)

and cables, connectors, ground bounce

Signal Ground Drain Wire 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)

and cables, connectors, grounding

Cable Shield 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)

and chip packaging

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

and clocks, jitter

Intentional Clock Modulation 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)

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

Jitter-Free Clocks 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)

and crosstalk

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

and data coding

Scrambled Bus 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)

and differential signaling

Differential-to-common-mode conversion 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)

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

and differential signaling, skew

Common Mode Analysis of Skew A twenty-percent skew creates a ten-percent common-mode component. (EDN 1/22/2004)

and EM fields, simulation

EM Simulation Software (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)

and ferrite bead

All About Surface-Mount Ferrites (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)

and ferrite bead, power system

Segmenting the Vcc Plane 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)

and grounding

Moats and Floats How to conduct multiple comparative layout studies in one pcb fabrication cycle. (ED 2/17/1997)

Picket Fences (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)

Radiated Digital Ground Noise 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)

Hidden Schematic (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)

and grounding, power system

Front-Connected Power Supply Why connections on the front side of a plug-in card are a bad idea. (Newsletter v4-17 12/5/2001)

and grounding, reference plane

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

and management

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

and simulation

Simulation Software 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)

EMI Simulations Tools (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)

and termination

Reducing Emissions (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)

Value of End Terminator 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)

equalizer

and cables

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

and EE basics, sampled data

Undo Machine The signal distortion caused by some linear time-invariant processes can be completely un-done. (EDN 1/6/2011)

and reflections, termination

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

Ernie

and connectors, crosstalk

Through-hole Clearances Connectors require continuity of the ground plane underneath the connector. (EDN 7/8/1999)

and EE basics

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

and management

Ernie’s Story 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)

and power system

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

ESD

Watery Grave 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)

Nature of 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)

and electromigration, overshoot, ringing

(For Your) Protection Protection diodes have a limited lifetime—don’t wear them out. (EDN 12/9/2004)

and testing

Nasty 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)

ferrite bead

Ferrite Beads 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)

and crosstalk

Using Ferrites 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)

and EMC

All About Surface-Mount Ferrites (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)

and EMC, power system

Segmenting the Vcc Plane 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)

and probes

Probing Two Points You should ground each probe near its respective point of measurement. (Newsletter v5-12 9/18/2002)

Gigabit Ethernet

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

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

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

Gigabit Ethernet Specification 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)

and data coding

Fiber-Optic Encoding 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)

ground bounce

and cables, connectors, EMC

Signal Ground Drain Wire 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)

and chip packaging, differential signaling

A Time for All Things There is a good time and a bad time for a chip to sample its digital inputs. (EDN 6/21/2001)

and crosstalk

Crosstalk and SSO Noise 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)

BGA Crosstalk 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)

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

Big Buffer 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)

and data coding

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

and level translation, rise time

Asymmetric Noise Margins Extreme asymmetries in the noise margin budget for a logic family create a preferred logic level. (EDN 3/15/2001)

grounding

Earth Ground 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)

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

ADC 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)

Multiple ADC 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)

Common-mode ground currents 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)

and cables, connectors, EMC

Cable Shield 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)

and crosstalk

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

Ground Loops Single-point ground networks provide isolation only when communications remain localized to isolated sections of the network. (EDN 12/18/2012)

and crosstalk, reference plane

Noise Isolation Achieving isolation greater than 80 dB. (Newsletter v2-13 5/19/1998)

and EM fields, probes

Measuring Nothing When looking at a noisy, jittery signal, how can you tell which parts of the signal are "real" and which parts derive from noise and interference? (EDN 4/23/2013)

and EMC

Moats and Floats How to conduct multiple comparative layout studies in one pcb fabrication cycle. (ED 2/17/1997)

Picket Fences (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)

Radiated Digital Ground Noise 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)

Hidden Schematic (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)

and EMC, power system

Front-Connected Power Supply Why connections on the front side of a plug-in card are a bad idea. (Newsletter v4-17 12/5/2001)

and EMC, reference plane

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

and layer stack, power system

Ground/Power Planes 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)

and power system

Not Your Fault Green safety wires do not form a reliable single-point ground reference. (EDN 3/5/2009)

and probes

Mysterious Ground 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)

high-speed design formulas

Ground Bounce Calculations 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)

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

and crosstalk, proximity effect, return current

Proximity Effect III Justification for crosstalk approximation (see High-Speed Digital Design p. 190, eqn. [5.1]) (Newsletter v4-8 10/3/2001)

and EM fields, return current, via

Via Inductance The inductance of a via depends on the path of returning signal current. (Newsletter v6-04 3/15/2003)

and power system

Resistance 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)

hot plugging

Hot Plugging and Beefy Guys Named Mark Mark McGwire reminds me of some of the technicians I have seen working on large systems (EDN 11/5/1998)

interconnections

Interconnections Matter 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)

and clocks, level translation

When to use AC Coupling When should one adopt DC coupling versus AC coupling? (Newsletter v4_15 11/13/2001)

and multi level

(The) Future of On-Chip Interconnections 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)

and system-on-a-chip

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

jitter

and characteristic impedance, crosstalk

Memory Bus Crosstalk 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)

and clocks

(The) Jitters 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)

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

Random and Deterministic 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)

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

Jitter and SNR Combined 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)

and clocks, EMC

Intentional Clock Modulation 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)

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

Jitter-Free Clocks 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)

and rise time

PLL Response 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)

and simulation, testing

Eye Don’t Like It An eye diagram makes a wonderful way to check finished system margins, but a terrible diagnostic tool. (EDN 11/9/2006)

and testing

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

Jitter Characterization 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 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 Capture 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 Tracking 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 Reference Clock Settings 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)

layer stack

and back plane, differential signaling, serial link

Backplane Design Differential trace geometry, power and ground stackup for big backplane. (EDN 5/25/2000)

and connectors, crosstalk, via

Connecting Layers 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)

and differential signaling, layout, skew

Asymmetry in Broadside Configuration In general I avoid broadside-coupled traces unless they are made necessary by routing considerations. (EDN 11/14/2002)

and grounding, power system

Ground/Power Planes 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)

and power system, return current

Interplane Capacitance 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)

and reference plane

Dual Ground Shields 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)

and return current

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

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

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

layout

and bypass capacitors

Operating Above Resonance 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)

Bypass Arrays Does anyone out there actually DESIGN their bypassing networks? (Newsletter v1-6 7/25/1997)

Capacitor Placement 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)

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

(The) Way Home 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)

Parasitic Inductance of Bypass Capacitors 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)

Bypass Capacitor Sequencing 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)

and bypass capacitors, power system

Bypass Capacitor Layout 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)

Capacitor Layout Matters 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)

and cables, reflections, termination

Matching Pads The only passive circuits that guarantee good impedance translation for wideband signals are resistive pads. (EDN 12/21/2000)

and crosstalk

(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)

Directionality of Crosstalk (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)

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

Crosstalk at Right Angles Crosstalk for traces crossing at right angles. (Newsletter v3-6 2/26/1999)

and crosstalk, differential signaling

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

and data coding, reflections

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

and differential signaling

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

and differential signaling, layer stack, skew

Asymmetry in Broadside Configuration In general I avoid broadside-coupled traces unless they are made necessary by routing considerations. (EDN 11/14/2002)

and multi drop

Four-Way Distribution How to best distribute a bus to four different loads. (Newsletter v1-14 10/17/1997)

Tricky DRAM Lines 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)

To Tee or Not To Tee? 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)

and multi drop, power dissipation

Three Drop Bus 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)

and multi drop, ringing

Driving Two Loads 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)

and multi drop, rise time

Dual Transceivers You can make extremely small, zero-cost, high-performance switches from ordinary solder pads and solder paste. (EDN 6/10/1999)

and multi drop, termination

Really Cool Bus This unidirectional structure supports one driver with many, many loads. (EDN 10/26/2000)

Hairball Nets Terminating big globs of unstructured loads. (Newsletter v4-10 10/8/2001)

and power dissipation

Fundametals of PCB Design 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)

and probes, skew

Tiny Difference 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)

and reflections, stripline

Breaking Up a Pair 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)

and termination

Placement of End 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)

How Close is Close Enough? How close to the driver must you keep your series terminations? (EDN 4/9/1998)

and testing

Wafer-Probe Launch 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)

level translation

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

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

and clocks, interconnections

When to use AC Coupling When should one adopt DC coupling versus AC coupling? (Newsletter v4_15 11/13/2001)

and data coding

SONET data coding 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)

and data coding, reflections, serial link

DC Blocking Capacitor Placement 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 How do I choose the value for a DC blocking capacitor in a serial link application? (Newsletter v7_09 1/10/2005)

and ground bounce, rise time

Asymmetric Noise Margins Extreme asymmetries in the noise margin budget for a logic family create a preferred logic level. (EDN 3/15/2001)

and reflections, serial link

Blocking Capacitor Performance 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)

and termination

Yao! What a Handshake 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)

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

management

Keeping Up With Moore 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)

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

Managing Scotty 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)

Why Johnny Can’t Design a High-Speed Digital System 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)

When Everything Matters 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)

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

Why Teach Science? 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)

Rollback RoHS 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)

Aunt Judy 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)

Dangerous Games 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)

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

Quality 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)

Winsome Waveform Wizardry 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)

Spotlight Interview with Dr. Howard Johnson 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)

Remembrance 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)

Body and Soul 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)

Seek Inspiration Successful engineers purposefully drive their career in the direction they want it to go. They meet a lot of people. They seek inspiration. (EDN 6/25/2013)

and attenuation, serial link

Essential System Margin 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)

and bypass capacitors, power system

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

and crosstalk, testing

Margin 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)

and EE basics

High-Speed Digital Design: Overview 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)

and electromigration, power dissipation

Relevance of Physics 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)

and EMC

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

and Ernie

Ernie’s Story 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)

and power dissipation

Way Too Cool LED traffic lights clog with snow, become indiscernible, and cause fatal traffic accidents. (EDN 2/4/2010)

and power system, transmission line

Big Hurl 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)

and probes

Approaching the Edge 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)

and testing

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

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

Diagnostic Testing (and Tasting) 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)

metastability

Metastability in Flip Flops 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)

Acceptable Failure 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)

Metastable Persons 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)

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

and skew

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

microstrip

and attenuation, skin effect

Passivation and Solder Mask Copper traces on outer layers must be protected from corrosion by passivation or by coating them with an inert material. (EDN 6/13/2002)

and dispersion, transmission line

Strange Microstrip Mailbag Follow-up to April 26, 2001 column in EDN, "Strange Microstrip Modes." (Newsletter v4-16 11/28/2001)

and EM fields

Field Cancellation 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)

and probes

Scrape It 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)

and reflections, transmission line

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

multi drop

and back plane, ringing

Bus Architecture and Timing The ratio (bus delay)/(clock period) is a key indicator of bus design difficulty. (DesignCon 1999 1/30/1999)

and delay, PCI

PCI Series Terminations Resistors 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)

and layout

Four-Way Distribution How to best distribute a bus to four different loads. (Newsletter v1-14 10/17/1997)

Tricky DRAM Lines 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)

To Tee or Not To Tee? 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)

and layout, power dissipation

Three Drop Bus 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)

and layout, ringing

Driving Two Loads 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)

and layout, rise time

Dual Transceivers You can make extremely small, zero-cost, high-performance switches from ordinary solder pads and solder paste. (EDN 6/10/1999)

and layout, termination

Really Cool Bus This unidirectional structure supports one driver with many, many loads. (EDN 10/26/2000)

Hairball Nets Terminating big globs of unstructured loads. (Newsletter v4-10 10/8/2001)

and PCI

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

and termination

Bi-directional Terminations Using a series terminator at both ends of the line. (Newsletter v2-20 8/6/1998)

multi level

and back plane, serial link

Multi-Level Signaling -- Designcon2000 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)

and bandwidth, serial link

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

and connectors, crosstalk

Shannon Says 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)

and interconnections

(The) Future of On-Chip Interconnections 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)

open drain

and termination

Open-Drain Lines 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)

overshoot

and bandwidth, TEM mode, transmission line

Strange Microstrip Modes "Quasistatic" values of capacitance and inductance are the values you get at low frequencies, near dc. (EDN 4/26/2001)

and clocks, skew

Intentional Overshoot 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)

and electromigration, ESD, ringing

(For Your) Protection Protection diodes have a limited lifetime—don’t wear them out. (EDN 12/9/2004)

and ringing

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

Severe Overshoot Mailbag ...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)

PCI

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

and delay, multi drop

PCI Series Terminations Resistors 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)

and multi drop

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

power dissipation

and electromigration, management

Relevance of Physics 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)

and layout

Fundametals of PCB Design 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)

and layout, multi drop

Three Drop Bus 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)

and management

Way Too Cool LED traffic lights clog with snow, become indiscernible, and cause fatal traffic accidents. (EDN 2/4/2010)

and power system

Power Bus Noise 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)

and reflections, termination

Half Measures (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)

and rise time

(The) Curse of FAST Logic 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)

and termination

AC Terminators 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)

and termination, transmission line

Diode Terminations Is there any technical basis for concluding that diodes provide a "cleaner" signal? (Newsletter v2-19 7/28/1998)

power system

Power-Ground Source Impedance 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)

Measuring Power-Ground Impedance 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)

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

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

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

Power-On-Reset 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)

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

Clean Power 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)

Voltage Regulator Droop 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)

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

and bypass capacitors

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

Bypass Capacitor Array 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)

Voltage Regulator Model 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 II: ESR The ESR of your VRM output capacitor controls both its ripple amplitude and stability. (Newsletter v10_4 9/17/2007)

and bypass capacitors, chip packaging, termination

On-Chip Bypassing with Series Terminations On-chip capacitors perform brilliantly in a series-terminated architecture. (EDN 4/29/2004)

On-Chip Bypassing with End Terminations On-chip capacitors have no effect on single-ended systems with symmetrically-split end-terminations. (EDN 5/27/2004)

and bypass capacitors, layout

Bypass Capacitor Layout 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)

Capacitor Layout Matters 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)

and bypass capacitors, management

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

and crosstalk

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

and EE basics

Parallel Resonance 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)

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

and EM fields, return current, via

Short-Term Impedance of Planes 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)

and EMC, ferrite bead

Segmenting the Vcc Plane 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)

and EMC, grounding

Front-Connected Power Supply Why connections on the front side of a plug-in card are a bad idea. (Newsletter v4-17 12/5/2001)

and Ernie

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

and grounding

Not Your Fault Green safety wires do not form a reliable single-point ground reference. (EDN 3/5/2009)

and grounding, layer stack

Ground/Power Planes 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)

and high-speed design formulas

Resistance 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)

and hot plugging

Hot Plugging and Beefy Guys Named Mark Mark McGwire reminds me of some of the technicians I have seen working on large systems (EDN 11/5/1998)

and layer stack, return current

Interplane Capacitance 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)

and management, transmission line

Big Hurl 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)

and power dissipation

Power Bus Noise 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)

and probes

Power Plane Resistance The DC resistance between any two points within a region of arbitrary shape is easily measured. (EDN 7/11/2002)

Measuring Droop 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)

and reference plane

Steel-plated Power Planes 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)

and testing

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

probes

Probing High-Speed Digital Designs 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)

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

Another Version of a Coax Probe 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)

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

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

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

Perfect Probe 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)

and bandwidth, testing

Adequate Bandwidth 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)

and connectors, testing

Step Response Test 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)

Confirm the Diagnosis 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)

and differential signaling, testing

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

and EM fields, grounding

Measuring Nothing When looking at a noisy, jittery signal, how can you tell which parts of the signal are "real" and which parts derive from noise and interference? (EDN 4/23/2013)

and ferrite bead

Probing Two Points You should ground each probe near its respective point of measurement. (Newsletter v5-12 9/18/2002)

and grounding

Mysterious Ground 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)

and layout, skew

Tiny Difference 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)

and management

Approaching the Edge 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)

and microstrip

Scrape It 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)

and power system

Power Plane Resistance The DC resistance between any two points within a region of arbitrary shape is easily measured. (EDN 7/11/2002)

Measuring Droop 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)

and simulation

Eye of the Probe 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)

Two-way Street 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)

and skew

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

and termination, transmission line

What’s That Plateau? An unexpected plateau implies the presence of a transmission line stub. (Newsletter v7_03 6/14/2004)

and testing

Pointy Tips 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)

DC Loading 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)

Measuring Shadows Measurements never reveal the thing you wish to know, only the shadow of that thing. (EDN 3/26/2013)

proximity effect

and crosstalk, high-speed design formulas, return current

Proximity Effect III Justification for crosstalk approximation (see High-Speed Digital Design p. 190, eqn. [5.1]) (Newsletter v4-8 10/3/2001)

and return current, skin effect

Proximity 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 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)

and simulation, skin effect, transmission line

Popsicle-stick Analysis 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)

reference plane

and crosstalk, grounding

Noise Isolation Achieving isolation greater than 80 dB. (Newsletter v2-13 5/19/1998)

and EMC, grounding

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

and layer stack

Dual Ground Shields 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)

and power system

Steel-plated Power Planes 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)

and return current, rise time

Crossing the River (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)

reflections

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

Potholes 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)

Parasitic Pads 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)

and bandwidth, ringing

Rising Problem 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)

and cables, layout, termination

Matching Pads The only passive circuits that guarantee good impedance translation for wideband signals are resistive pads. (EDN 12/21/2000)

and characteristic impedance, differential signaling

Differential Transitions 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)

and characteristic impedance, termination

Why Reflections Happen Whatever impedance creates no reflection is DEFINED as the characteristic impedance of the transmission structure. There is no other definition. (EDN 5/22/2013)

and characteristic impedance, transmission line

A transmission line is always a 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)

and data coding, layout

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

and data coding, level translation, serial link

DC Blocking Capacitor Placement 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 How do I choose the value for a DC blocking capacitor in a serial link application? (Newsletter v7_09 1/10/2005)

and differential signaling, transmission line

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

and equalizer, termination

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

and layout, stripline

Breaking Up a Pair 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)

and level translation, serial link

Blocking Capacitor Performance 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)

and microstrip, transmission line

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

and power dissipation, termination

Half Measures (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)

and ringing

Line Length 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)

and ringing, termination

Shot Heard ’Round the World Let’s apply Sabine’s theory of acoustic reverberation to a digital problem. (EDN 10/16/2008)

and ringing, wire wrap

Point to Point Wiring and Big Loads 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)

and rise time, termination

Terminator I 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 Resistor R2 acts as an isolation component, preventing the FPGA capacitance from directly loading the terminating resistor. (EDN 3/30/2006)

Terminator III 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)

and simulation

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

and termination

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

Why is That? 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)

Driving-Point Impedance 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)

Endpoint Distortion 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)

Holding On 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)

and transmission line

What’s That Glitch? 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)

Sliding Edge 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)

return current

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

Visible 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)

and crosstalk, high-speed design formulas, proximity effect

Proximity Effect III Justification for crosstalk approximation (see High-Speed Digital Design p. 190, eqn. [5.1]) (Newsletter v4-8 10/3/2001)

and differential signaling

Return Current Matters 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)

and EM fields

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

Power of Attraction 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)

and EM fields, high-speed design formulas, via

Via Inductance The inductance of a via depends on the path of returning signal current. (Newsletter v6-04 3/15/2003)

and EM fields, power system, via

Short-Term Impedance of Planes 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)

and layer stack

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

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

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

and layer stack, power system

Interplane Capacitance 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)

and proximity effect, skin effect

Proximity 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 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)

and reference plane, rise time

Crossing the River (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)

and rise time

Persistent Edge 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)

and termination

Terminator Crazy The first clue as to whether a terminator is needed is the ratio of trace delay to rise time. (ED 10/1/1996)

and transmission line

TDR and Ice Cube Trays The "Ice Cube Tray" model of distributed transmission. (Newsletter v3-5 2/5/1999)

ringing

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

and back plane, multi drop

Bus Architecture and Timing The ratio (bus delay)/(clock period) is a key indicator of bus design difficulty. (DesignCon 1999 1/30/1999)

and bandwidth, reflections

Rising Problem 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)

and characteristic impedance

Make It Better When the driver output resistance in the falling direction must be less than the output resistance in the rising direction, a common situation in CMOS totem-pole drivers, no value of series-terminating impedance can possibly make both edges perfect. (EDN 2/26/2013)

and electromigration, ESD, overshoot

(For Your) Protection Protection diodes have a limited lifetime—don’t wear them out. (EDN 12/9/2004)

and layout, multi drop

Driving Two Loads 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)

and overshoot

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

Severe Overshoot Mailbag ...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)

and reflections

Line Length 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)

and reflections, termination

Shot Heard ’Round the World Let’s apply Sabine’s theory of acoustic reverberation to a digital problem. (EDN 10/16/2008)

and reflections, wire wrap

Point to Point Wiring and Big Loads 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)

and simulation

Planning For Signal Integrity 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)

Ringing in a New Era 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)

Sharp Edges 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)

and termination

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

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

Whang That Ruler 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)

and termination, transmission line

Chip Scale Transmission Lines 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)

rise time

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

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

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

and back plane, serial link

Millions and Billions 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)

and bandwidth

Real Signals 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)

It’s a Gaussian World 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)

and bandwidth, delay, simulation, skin effect

Modeling Skin Effect Why does high-frequency current flow only on the outer surface of a printed-circuit trace? (EDN 4/12/2001)

and bandwidth, testing

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

and cables

Risetime of Lossy Transmission Line 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)

and chip packaging, EM fields

Think Small 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)

and EE basics

Take the Fifth How many harmonic terms must I take to adequately represent a good squarewave? (EDN 2/3/2011)

and ground bounce, level translation

Asymmetric Noise Margins Extreme asymmetries in the noise margin budget for a logic family create a preferred logic level. (EDN 3/15/2001)

and jitter

PLL Response 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)

and layout, multi drop

Dual Transceivers You can make extremely small, zero-cost, high-performance switches from ordinary solder pads and solder paste. (EDN 6/10/1999)

and power dissipation

(The) Curse of FAST Logic 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)

and reference plane, return current

Crossing the River (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)

and reflections, termination

Terminator I 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 Resistor R2 acts as an isolation component, preventing the FPGA capacitance from directly loading the terminating resistor. (EDN 3/30/2006)

Terminator III 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)

and return current

Persistent Edge 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)

and sampled data

Shaping Edges 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)

and sampled data, simulation

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

sampled data

and EE basics

Impulsive Behavior Stimulate any linear system with one short, intense pulse, and you see a response characteristic of that particular system. (EDN 12/2/2010)

and EE basics, equalizer

Undo Machine The signal distortion caused by some linear time-invariant processes can be completely un-done. (EDN 1/6/2011)

and rise time

Shaping Edges 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)

and rise time, simulation

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

and testing

Quantization Noise 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)

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

serial link

and attenuation

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

and attenuation, differential signaling, dispersion

Differential Receivers Tolerate High-Frequency Losses Differential receivers have more accurate switching thresholds than ordinary single-ended logic. (EDN 11/28/2002)

and attenuation, management

Essential System Margin 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)

and back plane, differential signaling, layer stack

Backplane Design Differential trace geometry, power and ground stackup for big backplane. (EDN 5/25/2000)

and back plane, multi level

Multi-Level Signaling -- Designcon2000 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)

and back plane, rise time

Millions and Billions 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)

and bandwidth, multi level

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

and data coding

Serial Killers 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)

and data coding, level translation, reflections

DC Blocking Capacitor Placement 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 How do I choose the value for a DC blocking capacitor in a serial link application? (Newsletter v7_09 1/10/2005)

and level translation, reflections

Blocking Capacitor Performance 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)

simulation

IBIS 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)

Going Non-linear 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)

and bandwidth, delay, rise time, skin effect

Modeling Skin Effect Why does high-frequency current flow only on the outer surface of a printed-circuit trace? (EDN 4/12/2001)

and EM fields, EMC

EM Simulation Software (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)

and EMC

Simulation Software 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)

EMI Simulations Tools (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)

and jitter, testing

Eye Don’t Like It An eye diagram makes a wonderful way to check finished system margins, but a terrible diagnostic tool. (EDN 11/9/2006)

and probes

Eye of the Probe 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)

Two-way Street 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)

and proximity effect, skin effect, transmission line

Popsicle-stick Analysis 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)

and reflections

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

and ringing

Planning For Signal Integrity 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)

Ringing in a New Era 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)

Sharp Edges 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)

and rise time, sampled data

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

and skin effect

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

and TEM mode

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

skew

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

and clocks

Tips on Controlling Clock 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)

and clocks, delay

Serpentine Delays 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)

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

and clocks, overshoot

Intentional Overshoot 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)

and clocks, synchronization

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

and differential signaling

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

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

Buying Time 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)

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

and differential signaling, EMC

Common Mode Analysis of Skew A twenty-percent skew creates a ten-percent common-mode component. (EDN 1/22/2004)

and differential signaling, layer stack, layout

Asymmetry in Broadside Configuration In general I avoid broadside-coupled traces unless they are made necessary by routing considerations. (EDN 11/14/2002)

and layout, probes

Tiny Difference 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)

and metastability

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

and probes

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

skin effect

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

Skin Hot How skin resistance changes with temperature. (EDN 3/6/2003)

and attenuation

Nickel-Plated Traces 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)

and attenuation, microstrip

Passivation and Solder Mask Copper traces on outer layers must be protected from corrosion by passivation or by coating them with an inert material. (EDN 6/13/2002)

and bandwidth, delay, rise time, simulation

Modeling Skin Effect Why does high-frequency current flow only on the outer surface of a printed-circuit trace? (EDN 4/12/2001)

and characteristic impedance, dielectric loss

Characteristic Impedance of Lossy Line 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)

and dielectric loss, dispersion

Mixtures of skin-effect and dielectric loss 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)

and proximity effect, return current

Proximity 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 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)

and proximity effect, simulation, transmission line

Popsicle-stick Analysis 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)

and simulation

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

and testing

Nickel Matters 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)

stripline

and connectors, differential signaling

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

and layout, reflections

Breaking Up a Pair 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)

surface roughness

and attenuation, transmission line

Surface Roughness At a microscopic scale, no surface appears perfectly smooth. (EDN 12/6/2001)

synchronization

and clocks, skew

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

system-on-a-chip

and interconnections

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

TEM mode

and bandwidth, overshoot, transmission line

Strange Microstrip Modes "Quasistatic" values of capacitance and inductance are the values you get at low frequencies, near dc. (EDN 4/26/2001)

and simulation

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

termination

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

Accurate Series 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)

Designing a Split 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)

and attenuation

Law of Product Development 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)

Voltage Conversion James Buchanon points out that my attenuating terminator may be impossible! (Newsletter v9_01 1/4/2006)

and bypass capacitors, chip packaging, power system

On-Chip Bypassing with Series Terminations On-chip capacitors perform brilliantly in a series-terminated architecture. (EDN 4/29/2004)

On-Chip Bypassing with End Terminations On-chip capacitors have no effect on single-ended systems with symmetrically-split end-terminations. (EDN 5/27/2004)

and cables, layout, reflections

Matching Pads The only passive circuits that guarantee good impedance translation for wideband signals are resistive pads. (EDN 12/21/2000)

and characteristic impedance, reflections

Why Reflections Happen Whatever impedance creates no reflection is DEFINED as the characteristic impedance of the transmission structure. There is no other definition. (EDN 5/22/2013)

and differential signaling

PECL Biasing 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)

Differential 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)

and EMC

Reducing Emissions (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)

Value of End Terminator 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)

and equalizer, reflections

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

and layout

Placement of End 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)

How Close is Close Enough? How close to the driver must you keep your series terminations? (EDN 4/9/1998)

and layout, multi drop

Really Cool Bus This unidirectional structure supports one driver with many, many loads. (EDN 10/26/2000)

Hairball Nets Terminating big globs of unstructured loads. (Newsletter v4-10 10/8/2001)

and level translation

Yao! What a Handshake 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)

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

and multi drop

Bi-directional Terminations Using a series terminator at both ends of the line. (Newsletter v2-20 8/6/1998)

and open drain

Open-Drain Lines 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)

and power dissipation

AC Terminators 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)

and power dissipation, reflections

Half Measures (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)

and power dissipation, transmission line

Diode Terminations Is there any technical basis for concluding that diodes provide a "cleaner" signal? (Newsletter v2-19 7/28/1998)

and probes, transmission line

What’s That Plateau? An unexpected plateau implies the presence of a transmission line stub. (Newsletter v7_03 6/14/2004)

and reflections

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

Why is That? 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)

Driving-Point Impedance 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)

Endpoint Distortion 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)

Holding On 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)

and reflections, ringing

Shot Heard ’Round the World Let’s apply Sabine’s theory of acoustic reverberation to a digital problem. (EDN 10/16/2008)

and reflections, rise time

Terminator I 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 Resistor R2 acts as an isolation component, preventing the FPGA capacitance from directly loading the terminating resistor. (EDN 3/30/2006)

Terminator III 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)

and return current

Terminator Crazy The first clue as to whether a terminator is needed is the ratio of trace delay to rise time. (ED 10/1/1996)

and ringing

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

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

Whang That Ruler 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)

and ringing, transmission line

Chip Scale Transmission Lines 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)

and testing

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

and transmission line

Initial Condition 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)

and via

Stub Termination (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)

testing

Debugging Hardware 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)

Ten Measurements 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)

and attenuation

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

and back plane, bandwidth

Frequent Obsession 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)

and bandwidth

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

and bandwidth, probes

Adequate Bandwidth 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)

and bandwidth, rise time

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

and characteristic impedance

See Beyond the Edge 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)

and connectors, crosstalk

Measuring Connectors 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)

and connectors, probes

Step Response Test 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)

Confirm the Diagnosis 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)

and crosstalk, management

Margin 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)

and delay

Finger the Culprit 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)

and differential signaling, probes

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

and ESD

Nasty 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)

and jitter

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

Jitter Characterization 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 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 Capture 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 Tracking 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 Reference Clock Settings 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)

and jitter, simulation

Eye Don’t Like It An eye diagram makes a wonderful way to check finished system margins, but a terrible diagnostic tool. (EDN 11/9/2006)

and layout

Wafer-Probe Launch 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)

and management

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

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

Diagnostic Testing (and Tasting) 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)

and power system

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

and probes

Pointy Tips 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)

DC Loading 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)

Measuring Shadows Measurements never reveal the thing you wish to know, only the shadow of that thing. (EDN 3/26/2013)

and sampled data

Quantization Noise 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)

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

and skin effect

Nickel Matters 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)

and termination

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

transmission line

Transmission Lines/Gate Delay 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)

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

Trace Inductance 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)

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

and attenuation

Comparing Transmission Media 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)

and attenuation, characteristic impedance, dispersion

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

and attenuation, surface roughness

Surface Roughness At a microscopic scale, no surface appears perfectly smooth. (EDN 12/6/2001)

and back plane

Space-Time Diagrams 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)

Nibble Effect 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)

Current-Source Driver 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)

and bandwidth

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

and bandwidth, overshoot, TEM mode

Strange Microstrip Modes "Quasistatic" values of capacitance and inductance are the values you get at low frequencies, near dc. (EDN 4/26/2001)

and cables

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

So Good it Works on Barbed Wire 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)

and characteristic impedance, reflections

A transmission line is always a 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)

and delay

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

and differential signaling

Differential Coupling Differential links need not be tightly coupled to work effectively. (EDN 11/13/2008)

and differential signaling, reflections

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

and dispersion, microstrip

Strange Microstrip Mailbag Follow-up to April 26, 2001 column in EDN, "Strange Microstrip Modes." (Newsletter v4-16 11/28/2001)

and EE basics

Charge in Motion 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 Arrested Animations showing the behavior of moving charged particles at an open-circuited transmission-line endpoint. (Newsletter v14_03 4/21/2011)

Charge Unleashed 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)

and management, power system

Big Hurl 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)

and microstrip, reflections

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

and power dissipation, termination

Diode Terminations Is there any technical basis for concluding that diodes provide a "cleaner" signal? (Newsletter v2-19 7/28/1998)

and probes, termination

What’s That Plateau? An unexpected plateau implies the presence of a transmission line stub. (Newsletter v7_03 6/14/2004)

and proximity effect, simulation, skin effect

Popsicle-stick Analysis 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)

and reflections

What’s That Glitch? 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)

Sliding Edge 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)

and return current

TDR and Ice Cube Trays The "Ice Cube Tray" model of distributed transmission. (Newsletter v3-5 2/5/1999)

and ringing, termination

Chip Scale Transmission Lines 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)

and termination

Initial Condition 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)

via

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

and back plane, dielectric loss

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

and connectors, crosstalk, layer stack

Connecting Layers 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)

and crosstalk

Crosstalk - Via to Trace 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 - Differential Vias 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 Ground vias, used in conjunction with a differential pair, arrest the spread of crosstalk. (EDN 4/28/2005)

and crosstalk, EM fields

Quadrature Via Layout 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)

and delay

Delay Through 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)

and EM fields

In-Between Spaces 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)

and EM fields, high-speed design formulas, return current

Via Inductance The inductance of a via depends on the path of returning signal current. (Newsletter v6-04 3/15/2003)

and EM fields, power system, return current

Short-Term Impedance of Planes 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)

and termination

Stub Termination (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)

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)

and reflections, ringing

Point to Point Wiring and Big Loads 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)