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Controlling Crosstalk in PCB Designs

Patrick Carrier
Product Marketing Manager PCB Analysis Tools Mentor Graphics

Signal Integrity Concerns


Signal Quality
Noise margin
Relative to Vih/Vil Voltage swing at receiver Ringback/non-monotonicities

Overshoot

Timing
Flight times, Setup/Hold Times

Crosstalk
Noise induced by aggressor signal to victim

Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC)


Radiated Emissions, Signal strength at various frequencies
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Signal Integrity and Crosstalk


Crosstalk
ClockA ClockB

Crosstalk occurs when 2 or more neighboring traces couple together

ClockA (Aggressor)

Coupled Region
ClockB (Victim)

Sending a signal down one trace causes a signal to appear on the 2nd trace

Net Topologies

Net ClockA inducing crosstalk on ClockB

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Background
The aggressor signal or trace
Switches and causes crosstalk

The victim signal or trace


Responds by developing an unintended signal

The effect is 3-dimensional


Victims can be adjacent, above or below the Aggressor

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E-Fields and B-Fields


E-fields (electric)
Capacitive coupling between trace and plane, between trace and other traces Voltage injected onto victim

B-fields (magnetic)
Inductive coupling between traces Current injected onto victim

electric field lines (blue) magnetic field lines (red)


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Crosstalk Overview
Two types of coupling
Mutual Inductance Mutual Capacitance

Two types of crosstalk


Far-end crosstalk
A.k.a. Forward crosstalk A.k.a. FEXT

Near-end crosstalk
A.k.a. Reverse crosstalk A.k.a. NEXT

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FEXT
Propagates with aggressor signal edge Has same width as aggressor signal edge Amplitude determined by coupling
Grows continuously Negative coupling caused by mutual inductance Positive coupling caused by mutual capacitance

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FEXT
Crosstalk pulses stack to form a larger pulse

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NEXT
Propagates in the reverse direction of aggressor signal edge Has width equal to twice the signal propagation time Amplitude determined by coupling
Saturates when parallelism length = aggressor edge length Positive coupling caused by mutual inductance Positive coupling caused by mutual capacitance

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NEXT
Crosstalk pulses line up to form a longer pulse

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Crosstalk Examples
NEXT and FEXT from real simulation NEXT has width equal to twice the line length (5or 768ps) FEXT has same width as aggressor signal edge (200ps)

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Crosstalk Examples
Highlight areas of layout with high crosstalk

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Differential crosstalk
Equal and opposite pulses of crosstalk can be induced on either side of the differential pair Also need to be concerned about higher-voltage aggressor signals leave extra spacing

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Differential crosstalk
Differential signal = DIFFERENCE of single-ended signals Adiff = Aplus Aminus = 2*Asingle
Both crosstalk and signal amplitude are twice their single-ended counterparts Differential crosstalk just like single-ended

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Crosstalk in PCI Express


Major design concern
Same as in PCI and PCI-X
Large number of signals Signals need to go to the same place Large amount of parallelism

Edge rates ~ 50ps


About 1/3 of an inch More crosstalk for given parallelism

Main method of control = increased spacing

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Crosstalk in PCI Express


PCI Express consists of unidirectional differential pairs
TX RX

Main concern is crosstalk at receiver Crosstalk can ALSO be controlled by altering aggressor directionality
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Crosstalk in PCI Express


On Microstrip Routing
Interleave TX and RX differential pairs

On Stripline Routing
Interleave RX and TX pairs for long routes Do not interleave RX and TX pairs for short routes Use simulation to determine NEXT/FEXT crossover point
Can vary based on length, spacing, stackup Model different dielectric layers with appropriate dielectric constants FEXT is not zero

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Controlling Crosstalk
Space signals further apart
Weaker field interaction

Minimize parallelism
Allows less time for coupled energy to build up Shorter lengths Spread out when able

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Controlling Crosstalk
Minimized through trace spacing
Smaller dielectric heights = less spacing required

Typically good to have at least 3 times the dielectric height for spacing Should do analysis on signals using a simulator like HyperLynx

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Sweeping Trace Spacing

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Sweeping Coupling Length

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Other methods of noise coupling


Simultaneous switching noise (SSN)
Looks just like crosstalk in the lab
Edge-aligned phenomena

I/Os switching all at once create excessive power draw which can show up on other signals
Caused by high power distribution network impedance (PDN) Can be prevented with proper decoupling analysis

Via noise coupling


Vias can have mutual inductance and capacitance Vias radiate noise into plane pairs, which can couple onto other vias and pins

Check out our webinar later this month:


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Thank you

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