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PCB Tech
Analysis of PCB printed circuit board layering
PCB Tech
Analysis of PCB printed circuit board layering

Analysis of PCB printed circuit board layering

2021-11-07
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Author:Downs

There are many ways to solve EMI problems. Modern EMI suppression methods include: using EMI suppression coatings, selecting appropriate EMI suppression parts, and EMI simulation design. Starting from the most basic PCB printed circuit board layout, discuss the role of PCB layer stacking in controlling EMI radiation and design techniques.

Power bus

Properly placing a capacitor of appropriate capacity near the power supply pin of the IC can make the IC output voltage jump faster. However, the problem does not end here. Due to the limited frequency response of the capacitor, the capacitor cannot generate the harmonic power required to drive the IC output cleanly in the full frequency band. In addition, the transient voltage formed on the power bus will form a voltage drop across the inductance of the decoupling path, and these transient voltages are the main common mode EMI interference sources. How should we solve these problems?

As far as the IC on our circuit board is concerned, the power layer around the IC can be regarded as an excellent high-frequency capacitor, which can collect the part of the energy leaked by the discrete capacitor that provides high-frequency energy for clean output. In addition, the inductance of a good power layer should be small, so the transient signal synthesized by the inductance is also small, thereby reducing common mode EMI.

Of course, the connection between the power layer and the IC power pin must be as short as possible, because the rising edge of the digital signal is getting faster and faster, and it is best to connect it directly to the pad where the IC power pin is located. This needs to be discussed separately.

In order to control common-mode EMI, the power plane must help decoupling and have a sufficiently low inductance. This power plane must be a well-designed pair of power planes. Someone may ask, how good is good? The answer to the question depends on the layering of the power supply, the materials between the layers, and the operating frequency (that is, a function of the rise time of the IC). Generally, the spacing of the power layer is 6mil, and the interlayer is FR4 material, the equivalent capacitance of the power layer per square inch is about 75pF. Obviously, the smaller the layer spacing, the greater the capacitance.

pcb board

There are not many devices with a rise time of 100 to 300 ps, but according to the current IC development speed, devices with a rise time in the range of 100 to 300 ps will occupy a high proportion. For circuits with a rise time of 100 to 300ps, 3mil layer spacing will no longer be suitable for most applications. At that time, it was necessary to use layering technology with a layer spacing of less than 1 mil, and to replace FR4 dielectric materials with materials with a high dielectric constant. Now, ceramics and ceramic plastics can meet the design requirements of 100 to 300 ps rise time circuits.

Although new materials and new methods may be used in the future, for today’s common 1 to 3ns rise time circuits, 3 to 6mil layer spacing and FR4 dielectric materials, it is usually sufficient to handle high-end harmonics and make the transient signal low enough, that is to say , Common mode EMI can be reduced very low. The PCB printed circuit board layered stacking design examples given in this article will assume a layer spacing of 3 to 6 mils.

Electromagnetic shielding 

From the perspective of signal traces, a good layering strategy should be to put all signal traces on one or several layers, and these layers are next to the power layer or ground layer. For the power supply, a good layering strategy should be that the power layer is adjacent to the ground layer, and the distance between the power layer and the ground layer is as small as possible. This is what we call the "layering" strategy.

PCB printed circuit board stacking

What stacking strategy helps to shield and suppress EMI? The following layered stacking scheme assumes that the power supply current flows on a single layer, and the single voltage or multiple voltages are distributed in different parts of the same layer. The case of multiple power layers will be discussed later.

4-layer board

There are several potential problems with the 4-layer board design. First of all, the traditional four-layer board with a thickness of 62 mils, even if the signal layer is on the outer layer, and the power and ground layers are on the inner layer, the distance between the power layer and the ground layer is still too large.

If the cost requirement is first, you can consider the following two traditional 4-layer board alternatives. These two solutions can improve the performance of EMI suppression, but they are only suitable for applications where the component density on the board is low enough and there is enough area around the components (place the required power copper layer).

The first is the preferred solution. The outer layer of the PCB printed circuit board is the ground layer, and the middle two layers are the signal/power layer. The power supply on the signal layer is routed with a wide line, which can make the path impedance of the power supply current low, and the impedance of the signal microstrip path is also low. From the perspective of EMI control, this is the best 4-layer PCB structure available. In the second scheme, the outer layer uses power and ground, and the middle two layers use signals. Compared with the traditional 4-layer board, the improvement is smaller, and the interlayer impedance is as poor as the traditional 4-layer board.

If you want to control the trace impedance, the above stacking scheme must be very careful to arrange the traces under the power and ground copper islands. In addition, the copper islands on the power supply or ground layer should be interconnected as much as possible to ensure DC and low-frequency connectivity.