IN MY OPINION

Interconnect Advances Fuel Technology Growth
By Orwill Hawkins, Vice President of Marketing, LadyBug Technologies

With increased frequencies, higher data rates, and lower noise levels, the microwave industry serves as a leader in technological capability. Demand for quality interconnects has increased right along with other higher-performance areas in the industry.
Read More...

MILITARY MICROWAVE DIGEST


MMD March 2014
New Military Microwave Digest

ON THE MARKET


E-Band Active X5 Multiplier
Model SFA-743843516-12SF-N1 is an E-band X5 active multiplier with center frequency at 79 GHz with minimum +/-5 GHz operational bandwidth. It converts 14.8 to 16.8 GHz/+5 dBm input signal to deliver 74 to 84 GHz frequency band with more than +16 dBm power.
Sage Millimeter

Hand-Flex™ Coaxial Cable
Covering DC to 12.5 GHz, this 8” coaxial cable, 141-8SMNB+, has a bulkhead Female Type-N connector at one end and SMA-Male at the other. Features include low loss, excellent return loss, hand formable, and an 8mm bend radius for tight installations.
Mini-Circuits

Phase Trimmer Series
This new phase trimmer series is designed for RF applications where phase match between two cables is needed for proper system performance. Phase trimmers, offered from DC to 50 GHz, will give an accurate phase adjustment over a specified frequency range.
RLC Electronics

Planar Monolithics Industries
Model PTRAN-100M18G-SFB-3UVPX-MAH is a transceiver covering the frequency range of 100 MHz to 18 GHz. The transceiver fits into a 3U Open VPX form factor utilizing the high speed VITA 67 RF connector.
Planar Monolithics Industries

SMT High-Power Attenuators
Now available with full design support capabilities are three new SMT high-power attenuators from Anaren. These 30 to 50W devices are high-performance, high-power chip attenuators covering DC to 3.0 GHz and feature high return loss and small footprints.
Richardson RFPD

See all products in this issue


September 2012

Noise Immunity – A Mandatory Design Aspect for Integrated Circuits and Systems
By Wolfgang Damm, Director Product Marketing – Wireless Telecom Group

Ultra-fast switching speed of modern electronic components and devices requires new Vcc and GND architectures – on board and on chip.

Operating a digital device within the specified min-max-power range does not guarantee that Vcc noise will not affect electronic circuits’ switching behavior and signal response. This article describes how unwanted signals at Vcc and GND can cause phase noise and signal jitter in electronic components and systems, and what designers and test engineers can do to ensure noise immunity of their designs.

Figure 1: Data jitter can be caused by quickly changing Vcc levels. For simplification the signal’s rise time is shown in a linear way, real signals look however very different.

GND is regarded as a stable reference level and Vcc is thought to be a static level supply, but this is typically not the case with modern high speed, high frequency electronics. With increasing integration and growing requirements for speed and accuracy, noise will permeate supply the power and affect the functionality of integrated circuits and systems.

What Circuits are Vulnerable to Noise on VCC?
The short answer to the question is: all of them. Some applications are less critical, but many show serious distortion if unwanted noise is present at GND and Vcc.

Serial Data Circuits
High-speed data signals rely upon serial transmission: examples are USB-3, SATA-3, and PCIe systems. At some point, these signals do no longer resemble pure rectangular forms. The eye diagram reveals that the transmission path causes distortion and the signal takes on sinusoidal character. Serial data receivers recover their embedded clock from the data stream. Obviously, any variation of data timing will decrease reliability of the receiver.

Figure 2: The effects of White Gaussian Noise injected onto Vcc. The left image shows the operation of an integrated circuit with very clean Vcc supply. The output shows almost no noise elements. The right image shows the effects when very low noise energy (100mV) is injected onto Vcc. The operational limits of the circuit are never exceeded at any time, but the distortion on the switching output are massive.

AD/DA Converters
Precision Analog/ Digital and Digital/Analog converters are naturally sensitive to noise at Vcc. With 16-bit, 18-bit, 20-bit of even higher resolution, these converters come with ultra stable reference sources. Still, noise on Vcc can reduce the overall accuracy easily by 1 to 3 bits. To regain the original accuracy, the converters have to be immunized against noise on Vcc.

Linear Amplifiers
Although linear amplifier use internal current sources to supply their circuitry, they are not immune against fast Vcc variations. While the current source compensates for any change of Vcc, some noise elements pass through, reaching the sensitive input stages. Amplification multiplies this distortion.

Figure 3: PLLs are particularly receptive to noise on Vcc. They are multiplying their input frequencies and with that, multiplying jitter and phase noise effects caused by Vcc noise.

PLLs
Phase-Locked Loop (PLL) circuits are widely used for frequency generation, clock synchronization and in demodulators or FSK decoders. Their functionality is based on phase sensitive detection of differences between input and output signals of the control oscillator.
PLLs are everywhere in the electronic world; examples are CPUs which utilize many PLLs to generate internal and external clocks for their operation and communication with other, on board devices. This applies also to other data processing devices. Low frequency clocks are fed to the chip, but are internally multiplied by PLLs to the desired frequencies. By nature, PLLs are susceptible to any unwanted signal or noise at Vcc. Special attention is necessary to achieve sufficient noise immunity.

Effects of Noise on the Vcc Power Bus?
As described above, amplifiers react to noise at their inputs, which distorts the output signal and results in lower transmission signal quality. Switching circuits, which incorporate basically every digital circuit, show internal jitter and also signal edge jitter if noise is present at Vcc. Analyzing serial transmission devices shows, that the opening in the eye-diagram becomes significantly smaller, and results in an increase in system BER.

Figure 4: GND and Vcc traces, and also connecting components on a circuit board have to be regarded as a chain of inductivities. This is also the case but for the current paths of integrated circuits. All these inductivities influence the speed in which electrons can flow to the required components. Output drivers have to overcome residual trace capacity. Energy supply is a particular challenge when parallel outputs change their status from one mutual state to the other. The example shows Vcc jitter caused by output switching from “0” to “1”.

What are the Sources for Noise on VCC?
The main culprit is the switch-mode power supply. They operate with pulse-width-modulation, switching high-amplitude, high-frequency energy. A low-pass filter should block ripple voltages at the switching frequency and the harmonic frequencies to avoid electromagnetic interference (EMI), but unfortunately, the “fingerprint” of a switched-mode power supply is all over the printed circuit board and even within the chip itself.

GND and Vcc traces are equivalent to a circuit of a series of inductors. The power supply cable, connectors and the VCC trace all behave like small inductors. The values are very small indeed, but they add up, and fast switching high speed circuits demand very fast Vcc supply responses.

Figure 5: Noisecom’s JV9000 Noise on Vcc Generator is a valuable tool to optimize noise immunity analysis of chips and electronic systems. This generator allows to inject White Gaussian noise and CW signals on Vcc. Different versions, including such for high Vcc currents are available.

Surprisingly, the other key source of Vcc noise are integrated circuits themselves. This self-induced noise comes from logical switches that cause charge carriers to change their status. Each driver of an integrated circuit output pin connected to a board trace has to deal with a residual trace capacitance. Output level changes from logical “1” to “0” require the capacitor to be discharged, and conversely, output level changes from “0” to “1” need to charge the capacitance. Currents that are required for this are significantly higher than the currents that drive the inputs. This results in Ground bounce or Vcc jitter; and is particularly critical when parallel output ports switch their status at the same time to the same level.

Tools to Improve Noise Immunity
A first tier defense against unwanted noise on Vcc are support capacitors, positioned in the direct proximity to the Vcc pin of an IC. While these capacitors reduce noise significantly, they will not eliminate it. Developers must ensure that their designs are operating in the desired way, even with residual noise at Vcc; they have to immunize their electronics against noise.
Some design tools simulate noise energy at Vcc. Results may provide some indication on the chip’s behavior. The best way to improve immunization is to inject specific amounts of noise and CW signals into the Vcc line and analyze it directly. Instruments like Noisecom’s JV9000 Vcc Noise Generator provide these signals. Defined levels of noise or CW signals are coupled onto the Vcc bus, allowing study of the circuit’s response to noise and noise immunity.

Conclusion
Phase noise and jitter have always been a concern of circuit designers. With increasing switching speeds, GND and Vcc sources and references should be considered frequency dependent components. Special attention should be paid to the circuits’ Vcc design to ensure the functionality of the circuit will not be compromised by noise elements on GND or Vcc busses. Special generators, like Noisecom’s JV9000 allow injecting specific amounts of noise and CW signal energy. The circuits’ response to noise on Vcc can be analyzed. Noise immunity is paramount to ensure flawless functionality of electronic circuits even under challenging supply power conditions.

Wireless Telecom Group
www.wirelesstelecomgroup.com
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