EMC becomes ever more complex

As chip speeds and communication frequencies rise, microcontrollers and other components are getting more sensitive to any type of interference. That’s making electromagnetic compatibility an increasingly important aspect of any system design.

It shows up in all areas of the electronics industry. This week, Freescale Semiconductor unveiled a line of system basis chips that help automotive engineers manage EMC and electrostatic discharge in networked modules. National Technical Systems Inc. highlighted its EMC testing capabilities when it opened two new test facilities this week.

Preventing EMC problems is becoming more of a challenge, forcing designers to look at more subtle aspects of board layout and signal transmissions.  Freescale engineers note that cables and network connections serve as antenna, forcing designers to focus on emissions with every module that’s tied to a network. Which is most all of them.

There are numerous solutions for those who take the time to study this complex area. EMC comes up in a number of sessions at IPC APEX EXPO in Las Vegas April 6-8. That’s just one of the shows where interested designers can learn more about this challenging field. As signal speeds head towards the “black arts” of RF and microwave frequencies, learning new tricks will become a more critical job for any successful design team.

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