Relearning pc-board design in the era of sub-20 nm ICs

One of the more visited design articles on the Embedded.com siterecently has beenthree-partseries by Walt Kester about the problems facing embeddedsystems hardware developers in designing and building printed circuitboards. Complementing this series are a number of other articles, whitepapers and webinars on this topic. Some of my Editor’s Top Picks on this topic include::

Aguide to better EMC for pc-board design
Ensuringthe thermal integrity of your PC-board design
Correct-by-constructionpc-board techniques and tools
Writeyour own PCB design rule checker
AddressingEMI test challenges in nextgen PCB designs
Capturingand sharing Intellectual Property in PCB design
Designinghigh speed PCBs with a parallel design methodology
Usingconstrain management to ease board design

It is clear from these articles that the problems facing PCBdevelopers are challenging to say the least, especially when viewed inthe context the excellent analysis by Jack Ganssle in “HardwareTesting. ”Indeed, Jack and the authors ofsome of these design articles may be understating the problem when youtake into account recent and future advances in semiconductorfabrication and IC design.

Not only are Intel and Micron building 25nm NAND devices , but Samsung is seriously considering amoveto sub-20 nm geometries. Complicating the issue is that inorder to increase the functional density of the ICs, so-called 3-Dchip packaging i s being considered, in which chips arestacked vertically and connected one to the other by means ofthrough-silicon vias.

Such chip level advances will only make the problems PCB hardwaredesigners face even tougher – thermal profiles, crosstalk,electrostatic discharge, electromagnetic interference, and routingissues, to name a few. That makes their role in the embedded systemsdesign process even more important and deserving of even more intensivecoverage.

So I would like to hear from you about your ideas for designarticles: what you would like to read and write about, the problems youface and the tools and techniques you are using to deal with them. (Embedded.comEditor Bernard Cole, ,928-525-9087.

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