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  • Writer's pictureJack Lo

Radio Frequency and Interference

Updated: Feb 14, 2019

Signals are bouncing everywhere around us from our cell phones, laptops, routers, microwaves, and satellites. The problem is that all these signals are fighting each other for supremacy, introducing interference and resulting in signal degradation. As we edge closer to an IOT future where everything is connected, products like our Ultra-RF Ceramic MCPCB become more important to businesses and society as a whole.

Radio frequency PCBs can vary wildly in complexity, design, and cost depending on application. The complexity of radio frequency PCBs are due to the design/layout and material choice, both carefully considered for the Dk (dielectric constant), which ensures that the right signal/frequency is transmitted. If you were to imagine your radio being set to frequency 123, if the Dk is off, your radio signal would be distorted even though you've set it to the correct signal--this is why it's so important to keep the Dk consistent and strong.

Dielectric Constant (Dk)

The design of the board (spacing, routing, etc) and the materials used affect the Dk and the signal strength, so again, depending on your application and needs, the board will have to be customized. It's a good thing that we specialize in customized boards that are made specifically for you.

Coefficient of Thermal Expansion (CTE)

Another thing to worry about is CTE (coefficient of thermal expansion), which calculates how an object will change in size due to a change in temperature. If different components or layers expanded at a different rate, alignment would be off, and signal strength/integrity will be compromised. Depending on your application, the CTE would need to be lower so you don't have to worry about malfunctioning products in the heat or cold.

Reference Layer/Plane

A reference layer/plane, especially important to multi-layer PCBs, ensure that the signal is returned and doesn't split, minimizing noise and interference. Depending on the amount of layers, this will affect the layout and design of the board. Placement of the reference layer/plane is highly dependent on the amount of layers and the components surrounding it. Minimizing noise and interference for a consistent Dk is integral to any high frequency PCB.

Surface Mounting Technology

For any RF PCB, SMT is generally preferred over through-holes. By using SMT, the boards will have shorter leads with lower resistance and induction.

Personally, I can't imagine a world without the internet. If our Ultra-RF Ceramic MCPCB will help bring about a future with perfect reception, great wi-fi, and no dropped calls/networks, then I'm all for it.

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