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RF and High Speed PCB and EMI Design Fundamentals

Course 042

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  -  On Demand, RF Mentor e-Learning / Rick Fornes


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This course enables practicing engineers and CAD technicians to develop design rules for RF and high-speed designs, choose an optimal design tool, and organize the design process to most efficiently execute the design that will insure circuit performance, and minimize costs and production time.

Recordings of this two day classroom course can now be viewed online at your convenience anywhere you have internet access. This course is composed of over 12 hours of recorded video presentation material available on-demand over a 2 month period. The class has been professionally video recorded and edited into segments that can be played back on any device that supports a web browser and Vimeo video streaming (web browser is required to enable access to the video). During the 60 day access period, you can view the recordings as often as you like. You will also be able to download a PDF of the instructor's notes, so that you can follow along with the lecture.

Learning objectives

Upon completing the course you will be able to:

  • Discuss fundamental RF and digital PCB design issues.
  • Compare and contrast transmission lines types, characteristics, and situations in which they can be used.
  • Describe, evaluate, and compare termination types, PCB materials and fabrication processes, and packaging types.
  • Identify and compensate for sources of interference - EMI and EMC.
  • Measure and fine-tune circuit performance.
  • Identify and select tools for developing transmission line design rules.

Target Audience

Anyone working with RF circuits or high-speed digital logic, including RF engineers, digital logic engineers, technicians, and PCB layout professionals will benefit from this course. A practical engineering background and basic mathematics are required to follow the course.


Day One

Fundamentals of Digital and RF Circuits
 • RF vs. high speed digital • Signal integrity • Properties of high speed logic gates • Pulse rise/fall times • Propagation time • Spectra of digital signals
Simple but very important physics
 • Electric fields, dielectrics, and capacitance • Magnetic fields, mu-materials, and inductance • Electromagnetics and boundaries • Frequency, wavelength, and phase • Resistance and Ohm's Law
Transmission Line Fundamentals
 • PCB traces • Velocity of propagation • Electrical length • Skin effect • Microstrip lines • Striplines • Coaxial • Coplaner • Line impedance • Transmission energy • Reflected waves • Terminations
Use of Transmission Lines
 • Transmission line or wire ? • Line impedance control • Transmission line systems • Line parasitics

Day Two

PCB Layout Strategies
 • Grounding via placement • DC Power distribution • "Ground" return • Ground bounce • Plane layers
PCB Materials and Fabrication
 • Dielectric materials • The basic fab process • Layer Stack-ups • Multi-layer parasitics • Dispersion
Sources of Interference
 • Cross talk • PCB inductors • Mutual inductance • Shield traces • Ribbon cables
EMI Issues
 • Current loop size • Bypass capacitors • CMOS special considerations • Ground discontinuity • Slew rate control
EMC Issues
 • Managing fields • Differential signals
Delay Matching
 • Harder than it looks • Serpentine line coupling
Design Rules
 • For low noise • For Signal Integrity • For low EMI • Notching ground planes • Danger of autorouting