Your Professional High Frequency PCB Manufacturer in China

PCBMay is a reliable high frequency PCB manufacturer in China since 2008, we could provide many different kinds of high frequency PCBs for your project.

Our PCB product line is the most adaptable on the market, providing customers a wide range of design options for all sorts of High Frequency applications.

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PCBMay: Your Trusted High Frequency PCB Supplier in China

PCBMay is one of the leading manufacturers of High Frequency PCBs. We make high-layer count circuit boards, as well as other related electronic products.

  • Over 12 years high frequency PCB manufacturing experience
  • Full raw material of high frequency PCB in stock
  • 7/24 sales and engineering tech support
  • 100% E-test and AOI inspection
  • 24h quick turn service for your prototype PCB

We guarantee the best price for your Rogers PCB at PCBMay. Learn more about this product here. It will keep you up to date on the latest developments in PCB technology.

 

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High Frequency PCB Series

Multilayer High Frequency PCB

PCBMay’s Multilayer High Frequency PCB powers many USB, routing, and multifunctional devices. We can make PCB with layers ranging from 4 to 40 layers depending on your device’s needs.

Rigid High-Frequency PCB

Some power supply applications, such as commercial energy production, necessitate Rigid high frequency PCB usage. Satellite dishes use this PCB as well. There are other options for selecting a surface finish aside from green.

Rigid-Flex High Frequency PCB

Learn about the advantages of our Rigid-Flex High Frequency PCB. We can make Rigid-Flex with Peelable Solder Mask too. Some customers prefer this because it is aligned with the final product design. Multilayer Flex is also available.

Flex High Frequency PCB

With a good PCB connector, Flex High Frequency PCB functions well. These connectors and coverlay are also available from us. We also have Panelized Flex PCBs that can be customized to your specifications.

FR4 High Frequency PCB

In terms of electronics design, the FR4 High Frequency PCB opens up a world of possibilities. Almost all these types of sophisticated PCBs are drilled with UV laser drills, as a preferrence.

Press-fit High Frequency PCB

The Press-fit High Frequency PCB may be utilized continuously due to its low thermal expansion characteristics. It might be a ceramic PCB or Teflon. It can be used in lead-free assembly.

High Frequency PCB By Materials (5)

  • 1> Rogers High Frequency PCB

    The high-frequency material for Rogers High Frequency PCB is ceramic. If signal integrity is your primary concern, this component is recommended for Prepreg and Laminate of your circuit board.

  • Taconic High Frequency PCB

    When using Taconic High Frequency PCB as your PCB material, you can achieve high speeds and mmWave frequencies. Taconic dielectric substrates are fit for high frequency circuits, so you won’t be disappointed.

  • PTFE High Frequency PCB

    We can make PTFE High Frequency PCBs for 5G and 6G networks. PTFE is the used with broadband. After PCB prototyping these signal-transfer-efficient materials, it’s ready for mass production.

  • TSM-DS3b High Frequency PCB

    TSM-DS3b High Frequency PCB is made of ceramic-filled reinforced material. Suitable for high-end applications; i.e. in 77 GHz Radar and High-Speed Telecom systems.

  • TC350 High Frequency PCB

    Microwave and RF board material TC350 High Frequency PCB is well known. Owned by Arlon, now part of the Rogers Corporation. Customers like the high thermal conductivity and thermal dissipation performance.

High Frequency PCB By Surface Finish (5)

  • Gold Finger High Frequency PCB

    Gold finger High Frequency PCB has gold material as the connector at the edge of boards. Differentiated PCB from other PCB by its dedication to High Frequency usage.

  • ENIG High Frequency PCB

    The ENIG surface finishing is a more expensive option. The ENIG High Frequency PCB tarnishes less than the ENIG High Frequency PCB. It can also withstand higher loads than PCBs using HASL or OSP.

  • HASL High Frequency PCB

    The HASL High Frequency PCB demonstrates that we can create cheap PCBs with low amounts of thermal expansion. Two attributes, lower DF and lower DK, are added bonuses of this product line.

  • Immersion Silver High Frequency PCB

    We manufacture Immersion Silver High Frequency PCBs for two main reasons: to preserve copper conductors from oxidation and to increase the board’s solderability.

  • OSP High Frequency PCB

    PCBs that have been coated with Organic Solderability Preservative are referred to as OSP High Frequency PCBs. This type of PCB has a one-year shelf life, which can be extended if stored properly.

High Frequency PCB By Layers (5)

  • 8 Layer High Frequency PCB

    Multiple layers of PCB are required for durability, multifunctionality, and lightness. This is also why 8 Layer High Frequency PCB is created. In layering, we apply regulated pressure and high-temperature procedures.

  • 10 Layer High Frequency PCB

    You can choose 10 Layer High Frequency PCB for its longer life and greater durability. It is an acceptable multilayer board choice because of its better composition and flame retardant quality.

  • 14 Layer High Frequency PCB

    Devices requiring a frequency range of 500MHz to 2GHz is why you’ll need a 14-layer high-frequency PCB, which is often built of advanced fiberglass or PTFE. The material allows for a quicker signal flow rate.

  • 16 Layer High Frequency PCB

    Some PCB engineers favor this 16 Layer High Frequency PCB. It provide superior outfitting for systems used in aircraft, navigation systems, and other applications because of the incomparable qualities of the material.

  • 20 Layer High Frequency PCB

    You will be able to include state-of-the-art lamination technology for demanding, high frequency applications with the 20 Layer High Frequency PCB. The high layer count is justified by the complexity of the specs.

High Frequency PCB Advantages

Fast Delivery Time
Fast Delivery Time
PCBMay can offer 24H or 48H quick-turn delivery time for your prototypes, we use the forwarders such as DHL, FedEx, UPS, TNT, etc, which can meet your requirement.
Professional Team Work
Professional Team Work
PCBMay has one professional team from engineering, production, sales, and service support, who can support you in 7*24h, so just send your Gerber file & BOM list to us.
Cost Down
Cost Down
PCBMay can help you to put the cost down if you choose our service because PCBMay has one advanced auto production line, and there's not much labor cost.
Quality Control
Quality Control
PCBMay follows the IPC Class 2 or Class 3 quality control. There're IQC, IPQC, QPC, FQC, OQC, and provide high-quality products for customers.

PCBMay High Frequency PCB Properties

Our PCB manufacturing capabilities enable us to meet any High Frequency board criteria you may have. The specifications that are currently available are listed below.

PCB Aspect ratio: 1:1 (Laser) / 20:1 (manual)

Minimum BGA: 7mil

Minimum solder mask clearance: 1.5mil

Board size: 10mm × 10mm up to 22.5 by 30 inches

Board Thickness: 0.4mm to 8mm

For these boards, we generally use SMT because it leaves less residue.

PCBMay High Frequency PCB Properties
PCBMay High Frequency PCB Production

PCBMay High Frequency PCB Production

With sophisticated manufacturing capabilities, we are a reputable Chinese provider of High Frequency PCB goods.

Look no further than PCBMay, the correct multilayer PCB fabricator for you, since we can manufacture PCBs at a low cost to meet your budget.

Even though it is cost-effective, we adhere to and agree to international safety requirements. Before manufacturing, we do safety checks to ensure that the circuit boards are free of defects.

Please contact us for more information.

PCBMay Is a Skillful High Frequency PCB Manufacturer for You

Want superb High-Frequency PCBs but don’t want to pay a high price for them? Then PCBMay is the one to ask! We bring the finest of both worlds together. All of our circuit boards have fulfilled the AOI and E-testing procedures. Our facilities are very well-equipped.

We provide Quick-turn PCB for your High Frequency PCB—we can have your order delivered within days!

To learn more about our additional services, please contact us right away. We can also assist you with PCB design and PCB schematics.

PCBMay Is a Skillful High Frequency PCB Manufacturer for You

Why Choose PCBMay for Your High-Frequency PCB

Why Choose PCBMay for Your High-Frequency PCB
Why Choose PCBMay for Your High-Frequency PCB 2

As a leading High Frequency PCB manufacturer in China, we have a significant amount of stock in all of the high-frequency laminates as we have been producing PCBs with these materials for many years.

Some of the applications of these PCBs are WIFI models, RF antenna, IP infrastructure, radar systems, power amplifiers, diplexers/multiplexers, test and measurement, and many more.

As an ISO certificated factory, PCBMay strictly controls the quality of products and provides customers’ high-quality high-frequency PCBs. We also make sure to deliver the product within the scheduled delivery time. PCBMay assures the perfect product to our customers since we use our latest machinery equipment.

High Frequency PCB Fabrication

High Frequency PCB Manufacture

Following regular PCB trade events throughout the world, PCBMay applies rigorous standards in PCB safety manufacture.

As a result, expect high-quality PCBs designed for high-frequency applications. Our PCB drilling, exposing, plating, etching, and other production lines are all functioning properly.

PCB punching, electrical testing, SMT, and overall assembly are additional areas where we excel.

After trial and testing, we’ve refined the manufacturing of circuit boards.

High Frequency PCB Production Equipment

You’ll want to do business with PCBMay after seeing how up-to-date our PCB equipment is.

We have a highly qualified workforce to keep these machines in good working order for our amazing product, which is the High Frequency PCB.

Apart from others, we have a custom 2.4m long CNC milling machine and a custom 2.4m double-sided auto exposure machine in our facility.

Please contact us if you have any questions about our PCB manufacturing equipment.

OEM & ODM High Frequency PCB Applications

High Frequency PCB for Wireless Applications

We can create innovative wireless high-frequency PCBs for wireless applications such as radio frequency circuits, WiFi 5 or WiFi 6. We can also make high-definition PCBs for business WAN routers.

High Frequency PCB for Communication Equipment Applications

For High Frequency PCB for Communication Equipment gear, specifications ranging from 1GHz to 10GHz must be met. Select a PCB manufacturer with several years of experience in this field.

High Frequency PCB for Automotive Applications

HDI PCBs save space and are ideal for cars that are small but need to be efficient. HDI PCBs’ high reliability is especially appealing because electric and hybrid vehicles fail when accuracy is lacking.

High Frequency PCB for Industrial Applications

Signal loss is reduced when PCBs with low DK and DF values are used. Circuit boards used in factory machinery, semiconductor manufacturing, mining, and other related heavy industries require this feature.

High Frequency PCB for Medical Applications

We use HDI PCBs for medical devices since the device has a higher component density. Apart from that, ergonomic designs can be implemented. When it comes to medical devices that are irregularly shaped, this is a critical consideration.

High Frequency PCB Production Details As Following Up

ItemCapability
Layer Count1-40layers
Base MaterialKBShengyiShengyiSF305FR408FR408HRIS410FR406GETEK370HRIT180ARogers4350BRogers4000PTFE Laminates(Rogers seriesTaconic seriesArlon seriesNelco series)Rogers/Taconic/Arlon/Nelco laminate with FR-4 material(including partial Ro4350B hybrid laminating with FR-4)
Board TypeBackplane、HDI、High multi-layer 、blind&buried PCB、Embedded Capacitance、Embedded resistance board 、Heavy copper power PCB、Backdrill.
Board Thickness0.2-5.0mm
Copper ThicknessMin. 1/2 OZ, Max. 10 OZ
PTH Wall25um(1mil)
Maximum Board Size1100*500mm(43”*19”)
Min laser drilling size4mil
Min. Spacing/Tracing2.7mil/2.7mil
Solder MaskGreen, Black, Blue, Red, White, Yellow, Purple matte/glossy
Surface TreatmentFlash gold(electroplated gold)ENIGHard goldFlash goldHASL Lead-free OSPENEPIGSoft goldImmersion silverImmersion TinENIG+OSP, ENIG+Gold finger, Flash gold(electroplated gold)+Gold finger, Immersion silver+Gold finger, Immersion Tin+Gold finger.
Min. Annular Ring3mil
Aspect ratio10:1(HASL Lead-free HASL LeadENIGImmersion TinImmersion silverENEPIG);8:1(OSP)
Impedance control±5ohm(<50ohm), ±10%(≥50ohm)
Other TechniquesBlind/Buried Via
Gold Fingers
Press Fit
Via in Pad
Electrical Test

Here there’re many laminate material datasheets, they’re useful and helpful for you, please see them:

SUPPLIERPCB LAMINATETYPEMATERIAL DATASHEETTGTDDK(1MHZ)DK(1GHZ)DK(10GHZ)
KBKB-6160FR4DOWNLOAD1353054.35
KB-6160AFR4DOWNLOAD1353054.35
KB-6160CFR4DOWNLOAD1353144.7
KB-6150
KB-6150C
FR4DOWNLOAD1323054.6
KB-6164FR4DOWNLOAD1423304.8
KB-6164FFR4DOWNLOAD1453404.8
KB-6165FFR4DOWNLOAD1503464.8
KB-6167FFR4DOWNLOAD1703494.8
SHENGYIS1141FR4DOWNLOAD1353104.6
S1141KFFR4DOWNLOAD1403504.7
S1000FR4DOWNLOAD1553354.9
S1170FR4DOWNLOAD1703354.6
S1000-2FR4DOWNLOAD1703354.8
S1155FR4DOWNLOAD1353704.7
ITEQIT-158FR4DOWNLOAD1503404.6-4.8
IT-180FR4DOWNLOAD1803504.5-4.7
TUCTU-768FR4DOWNLOAD1803504.3-4.44.3
TU-872Modified EpoxyDOWNLOAD2003403.8-4.03.8
ROGERSRO 3003Cer/PTFEDOWNLOAD5003
RO 3010Cer/PTFEDOWNLOAD50010.2
RO 4003Hydrocarbon/CerDOWNLOAD>2804253.38
RO 4350BHydrocarbon/CerDOWNLOAD>2803903.48
RT/duroid 5880PTFE/GlassDOWNLOAD5002.2
ISOLAPolyclad 370HRFR4DOWNLOAD1703404.8-5.1
FR406-HRFR4DOWNLOAD1903253.913.863.81
FR408-HRFR4DOWNLOAD2003603.723.693.65
P96PolyimideDOWNLOAD2604163.783.73
HitachiMCL-BE- 67GModified EpoxyDOWNLOAD1403404.94.4
MCL-E-679FFR4DOWNLOAD1703504.2-4.44.3-4.5
MCL-LX-67YSpecial LaminateDOWNLOAD185-195325-3453.4-3.6
NelcoN4000-13Modified EpoxyDOWNLOAD210-2403653.73.6
N4000-13EPModified EpoxyDOWNLOAD210-2403503.43.2
N4000-13SIModified EpoxyDOWNLOAD210-2403503.43.2
N4000-13EP SIModified EpoxyDOWNLOAD210-2403503.43.2
TaconicTLX-6PTFEDOWNLOAD2.65
TLX-7PTFEDOWNLOAD2.6
TLX-8PTFEDOWNLOAD2.55
TLX-9PTFEDOWNLOAD2.45
RF35PTFEDOWNLOAD<3153.53.5
TLC-27PTFEDOWNLOAD2.75
TLC-30PTFEDOWNLOAD3
TLC-32PTFEDOWNLOAD3.2
ArlonArlon 25NCerDOWNLOAD2603.38
Arlon 25FRCerDOWNLOAD2603.58
Arlon 33NPolymideDOWNLOAD>2503534
Arlon 35NPolymideDOWNLOAD>2503634.2
Arlon 85NPolymideDOWNLOAD2503874.2
StablcorST325DOWNLOADThermal conductivity:75w/m.k(with 1oz copper)
ST10DOWNLOADThermal conductivity:325w/m.k(with 1oz copper)
PanasonicR-1566WFR4DOWNLOAD1403304.954.74.65
VentecVT-901PolymideDOWNLOAD2503904.2-4.54.0-4.3
VT-90HPolymideDOWNLOAD2503904.2-4.54.0-4.3
Bergquistht-04503DOWNLOADThermal conductivity:2.2w/m.k(with 1oz copper)

Delivery

PCBMay offers flexible shipping methods for our customers, you may choose from one of the methods below.

1. DHL

DHL offers international express services in over 220 countries.
DHL partners with PCBMay and offers very competitive rates to customers of PCBMay.
It normally takes 3-7 business days for the package to be delivered around the world.

DHL Forwarder

2. UPS

UPS gets the facts and figures about the world’s largest package delivery company and one of the leading global providers of specialized transportation and logistics services.
It normally takes 3-7 business days to deliver a package to most of the addresses in the world.

UPS Forwarder

3. TNT

TNT has 56,000 employees in 61 countries.
It takes 4-9 business days to deliver the packages to the hands
of our customers.

TNT Forwarder

4. FedEx

FedEx offers delivery solutions for customers around the world.
It takes 4-7 business days to deliver the packages to the hands
of our customers.

Fedex Forwarder

5. Air, Sea/Air, and Sea

If your order is of large volume with PCBMay, you can also choose
to ship via air, sea/air combined, and sea when necessary.
Please contact your sales representative for shipping solutions.

Note: if you need others, please contact your sales representative for shipping solutions.

On our website you can use the following payment methods:

Telegraphic Transfer(TT): A telegraphic transfer (TT) is an electronic method of transferring funds utilized primarily for overseas wire transactions. It’s very convenient to transfer.

Bank/Wire transfer: To pay by wire transfer using your bank account, you need to visit your nearest bank branch with the wire transfer information. Your payment will be completed 3-5 business days after you have finished the money transfer.

Paypal: Pay easily, fast and secure with PayPal. many other credit and debit cards via PayPal.

Credit Card: You can pay with credit card: Visa, Visa Electron, MasterCard, Maestro.

    • “When I utilize PCBMay High Frequency goods, I always receive good service. It was a simple and quick procedure. The delivery arrived on time, just like the pickup. The best part was the low pricing and the assurance that the things were of top quality. They were quite helpful in locating what I required while placing my order. The piece arrived on time, and stack-up was complete. I would do business with them again if the occasion arises.”

      Willy Kreyszig, Purchasing Agent from New York, US
    • “Everything regarding the PCB purchase went smoothly and was a pleasant experience. I received a beautiful PCB that is also performing admirably! Your packing is really good; it kept the wrapped items safe and was easy to transport. The other sets were also fantastic! I was informed there would be no long wait, that there would be enough of parts, and that there would be no labor bottleneck.”

      Nelson McMullen, PCB Layout Engineer Product Development from New Zealand
    • “I am pleased with the product’s quality and quickness. The ordering and quoting processes are both straightforward, and the customer support is satisfactory. I originally requested that the customer service representative provide me a snapshot of the PCB that was being produced so that I could double-check that I was receiving the correct goods. Compliment your customer service representative since they are excellent communicators who can bridge the language gap. I’ll order again.”

      Aune Yagavira, Materials Director from UAE

    High-Frequency PCB: The Ultimate FAQ Guide

    To ensure real-time 5G communication continuity, every individual High-Frequency PCB must comply with higher standards for performance and quality.

    While various technologies and processes are being developed to address these challenges, PCB suppliers are rethinking their production processes with the aim of a new manufacturing system.

    It improves quality assurance while increasing production efficiency.

    What is High-Frequency PCB?

    High-Frequency PCB technology is one of the things that support the latest cutting-edge information equipment.

    Therefore, an analog sensor is required. Not only that, but various high-speed digital circuits operate as expected. Therefore, the high-frequency sense is very important.

    High frequency refers to “high frequency” electromagnetic waves or electrical signals.

    High frequency PCB

    High-frequency PCB

    What Does High-Frequency Mean?

    ◆ Generally refers to high-frequency vibrations. For AC, hundreds of hertz or more, radio waves.

    Then, the frequency of several megahertz to several hundred megahertz. ⇔ low frequency

    ◆High frequency in wireless engineering

    In radio engineering, high frequency means radio frequency and is used as a carrier wave for wireless communication.

    Refers to electric signals or radio waves of the specified frequency. “How many kilohertz and above are high frequencies?”

    It depends on the application. For example, audio signal/electronic circuit. It is classified as low frequency even if it is about several tens of kHz, which is about the same as the audio frequency band.

    However, when used in wireless communication, the high frequency is 10kHz or more.

    You will have a look at the high-frequency PCB design rules:

    What Materials Are Used for High-Frequency PCBs?

    High-frequency PCBs, e.g. for wireless applications and data rates in the upper GHz range have  special demands on the material used:

    • Adapted permittivity
    • Low attenuation for efficient signal transmission
    • Homogeneous construction with low tolerances in insulation thickness and dielectric constant

    For many applications, it is sufficient to use FR4 material with an appropriate layer buildup.

    In addition, we process high-frequency materials with improved dielectric properties.

    These have a very low loss factor, a low dielectric constant, and are primarily the temperature and frequency independent.

    Additional favorable properties are high glass transition temperature, excellent thermal durability, and very low hydrophilic rate.

    We use (among others) Rogers or PTFE materials (for example, Teflon from DuPont) for impedance-controlled high-frequency circuit boards.

    Sandwich buildups for material combinations are also possible.

    What Is High-Frequency PCB Decoupling?

    One thing that really needs special attention is the denouement.

    The fundamental concepts do not change when going from low to high frequencies. But implementation may require some improvement.

    simply because low-frequency circuits will often be fully functional when decoupling is suboptimal or, to put it mildly, rather average quality.

    In other words, low-frequency circuits are quite forgiving when it comes to decoupling techniques. And therefore, we may have developed design habits that are not really suitable for High-Frequency PCB.

    High frequency PCB

    High-frequency PCB

    The problem is this: In the context of digital circuits, bypass capacitors store charge and release that charge to the chip to compensate for the transient noise generated by the switching action of semiconductor components.

    At low operating frequencies, the capacitor has enough time to discharge and then recharge before the IC needs another surge in current.

    However, as the frequency increases, the board designer must try to reduce parasitic resistance.

    One of the most important points when working with High-Frequency PCB is the return current. Interestingly, many engineers when designing PCBs, forget it or simply never thought or guessed it.

    How to Explain High-Frequency PCB Return Current and Low-Frequency Return Current?

    Generally, High-Frequency PCB uses transmission lines of two types:

    1. The microstrip
    2. The stripline

    microstrip is a transmission line in the TOP or BOTTOM layer and has only one plane as a reference;

    stripline is a transmission line in an inner layer of the PCB and it has a plane above and a plane below it as reference.

    Therefore, using the theory of electrical networks in the distributed model of transmission line and with a reference plane we have to:

    For High-Frequency PCB, usually above 100 [Khz], the impedance is dominated by the line inductance, that is, the loop that the forward current makes with the return current. Thus, the higher the frequency, the return current will be concentrated further below the flowing current, where the loop and impedance are lower.

    High frequency PCB

    High-frequency PCB

    With the advent of the 5G communication era, the requirements for communication boards are more high-frequency and higher-speed. So, the processing requirements for High-Frequency PCB circuit boards are also higher.

    For many years, High-Frequency PCB manufacturers have been focusing on high-frequency PCB circuit board processing, mastering high-level copper-filled electroplating technology. Professional High-Frequency PCB manufacturing companies can provide high-frequency multilayer PCB circuit boards with:

    • High quality
    • High stability and
    • Best adaptability
    What Are High-Frequency PCB Printing Methods?

    Transferring the designed printed circuit board on the printed circuit board (copper pertinax) is the most important step in the production of the printed circuit board and requires special attention.

    There are many methods used in printing the printed circuit board. The designer chooses the desired method according to his needs and possibilities.

    In this section, commonly used card-making methods will be explained to you. These methods;

    • Masking Method
    • The pencil method by drawing on the card
    • Positive-20 (Photo-Resist) Method
    • Prepaid Card Technique
    • Screen Printing Method
    • PnP Method
    What Are the Operating Frequencies of High-Frequency PCB?

    High-frequency printed circuit boards are technologically unique models of dielectrics with operating frequencies from several MHz to tens of GHz.

    Feature: they are used to equip high-frequency equipment even in cases where the use of traditional FR4 glass fabric materials is impossible.

    The most important parameters of high-frequency printed circuit boards

    • Dielectric constant: 2.2-10.2 GHz.
    • Signal delay characteristics.
    • Thickness criteria: 0.2-8 mm.
    • Type of foil-clad material.
    • Dielectric loss tangents: 0.0009-0.004
    What Are the Materials Used for High-Frequency PCB?

    Manufacturers use special low dielectric constant (<3 F) laminates to create high-frequency PCBs.

    They have a stable, wide frequency range and insignificant dielectric losses. Such materials are manufactured by Neltech, Taconic and Rogers, and others.

    We list the most popular microwave laminates:

    • Reinforced PTFE type – ULTRALAM 2000.
    • Ceramic – RT/droid 6000.
    • Thermostable, made on the basis of hydrocarbon ceramics – TMM
    What Are the Features of High-Frequency PCBs Production?

    High-frequency PCBs are created on the basis of fluoroplastics in several ways: positive combination and tenting method.

    Note that the main significant difference between these methods is the presence of the stage of applying a metal resist to a copper surface (combined positive method).

    High frequency PCB

    High frequency PCB

    In turn, the production of high-frequency printed circuit boards by the tenting method greatly simplifies the production process, reducing time and money.

    The main feature: when creating multi-layer high-frequency dielectrics, laminates are used only as outer layers, while the inner ones are filled with standard epoxy glass cloth materials.

    What Are the Top 10 Tips for Designing High-Frequency PCBs?

    More recently, the word “high frequency” did not exist in the vocabulary of PCB designers. But now, it seems, everything has turned upside down.

    In the past, it was all about putting all the pieces of the puzzle together and thinking through the signal path by designing the PCB layout.

    What are the differences in the design of high-frequency PCBs?

    There are many invisible forces to worry about, such as electromagnetic interference, mutual interference, signal reflections, and the list goes on.

    In this article, we offer you some practical tips to help you succeed in designing your first RF PCB.

    More data, more electromagnetic interference

    In 2005, 3 Gbps was considered typical of high-speed data transmission, but today engineers are dealing with 10 Gbps and even 25 Gbps.

    And this is done not only because we strive to achieve higher clock speeds, but also because we strive to reduce the size of devices to keep up with the growing demands of consumers.

    Whatever device you design today, chances are you already included various nodes operating at high speeds, be it DDR, PCI Express, USB, SATA, etc.

    The main concern in the design of high-frequency printed circuit boards is to eliminate interference.

    The higher the baud rate, the more difficult it becomes to maintain the integrity of your signals.

    Most of these problems are related to the emission of electromagnetic waves. This radiation is relatively harmless with weak interactions with electrical circuitry.

    However, when it begins to interfere with the operation of your electronic device as a whole, the radiation turns into interference, opening up a new world of tasks for you to solve.

    If you’ve ever heard of or encountered noise-related problems, then you know exactly what we’re talking about.

    Any current creates a magnetic field. This is how the spread of electromagnetic radiation begins.

    So, you might be wondering how you even know that you are working on a high-frequency project if it does not reveal problems with electromagnetic radiation.

    There are several scientific theories, but we will narrow them down to the 3 most popular:

    1. Frequency. The first theory is that high-frequency design is such because of the operating frequency of the PCB and its ability to influence the performance of the electronic circuit. Some believe that this threshold starts at 50 MHz. Others divide device speeds into groups: low-frequency (<25 MHz), medium-frequency (25-100 MHz), high-frequency (100-1000 MHz), and above – ultra-high frequency, which are the designers of radio transmitting devices.
    2. Conductive tracks. There is a theory that it is possible to use the physical dimensions of the conductive paths to determine the high frequency of the device. Its guiding principle is that if the signal travel time on the track is more than 1/3 of the switching time of the device signal, then you are dealing with a high-frequency device.
    3. Modularity. The latter point of view takes a general approach that looks at circuit design as a whole and asks the next question – is your system physically operating as a single system? Or do you have a set of subcircuits, from which one large circuit is assembled, in which individual modules work independently? In the latter case, you are dealing with the realm of high-frequency devices.

    So, you have determined that your future project is high frequency.

    Great. Now let’s take a look at all the possible “background noises” that you have to deal with. Let’s take a closer look at the top 10 tips for success in device design.

    # 1 – Always Start Designing Your RF Device with Planning

    We’ll start with the most obvious advice, but there is a reason for that.

    Without a plan and strategy for creating your high-frequency project, you are likely to run into delays, confusion, and unexpected problems.

    So before you draw a single symbol or make a single connection, you need to create a kind of checklist. Here are a number of questions to ask yourself first:

    • System Organization– Do I have a visual diagram to help me visualize the interconnections of all my subcircuits and the reliable return flow?
    • Signal Rate– Do I know the maximum frequency and fastest switching rate for each of my signals?
    • Power Supply– Does the documentation cover every voltage and wattage required to power all of my ICs, and do I need to separate the power layers?
    • Sensitive Signals– Do I have a plan for meeting differential signal requirements, impedance matching and track length, or signal propagation?

    This is not a complete list of questions to answer yourself during the planning phase, but it will serve as a good starting point.

    You will most likely need to work with the manufacturer of your device to determine its minimum tolerance requirements.

    And you also need to agree on a development strategy to reduce the noise level of your high-frequency signals using a variety of tracing methods, including microstrip transmission lines or stripline traces.

    # 2 – Document Every Detail of Every Layer of Your Board for Further Production

    To create the plan described in tip # 1, it’s time to define and carefully document the layer requirements for your board.

    This is the ideal time to interact with the manufacturer to select the material for your board and determine the constraints that need to be placed in the design code.

    Since we are talking about materials, most likely you will be working with one of the following materials:

    • FR-4 is a great material when running at <5Gbps clock rates. It is considered a low-speed material. FR-4 allows you to set the impedance quite accurately, it is also widely known for its low cost.
    • Nelco, or Megtron – In the realm of high-frequency devices, chances are you will be working with these materials. Each of them is suitable for operating at 5-25 Gbps clock rates.
    • Rogers– If your first high-frequency device is running at over 56 Gbps, chances are you will end up with Rogers layered material. This material is capable of operating at high frequencies and at high temperatures, it is known for its high impedance uniformity, but it is also expensive to manufacture.

    Once you have selected the material you need to make your board, it’s time to decide on other strategies for forming your board layers.

    • First, you should always have a Signal layer adjacent to a Plane to give your signals an efficient return path.
    • It is also worth placing all high-speed signal circuits on the inner layers between the Plane layers to provide shielding from all external sources of electromagnetic radiation.

    Finally, multiple ground layers should be considered in the PCB layer set.

    This will help lower the nominal impedance and reduce common-mode emissions affecting your circuit.

    # 3 – Layout – Break Your Board into Logical Chunks

    Along with planning your high-speed device design requirements and layer assignments, you also need to decide how your PCB will be organized.

    Remember we said above that high-frequency devices are a set of subcircuits? You need to decide how these subcircuits will be located on the common board.

    This is especially true for digital and analog modules, which must be carefully isolated from each other to reduce any potential interference.

    When planning the physical layout of your board, use something like the diagram shown in the figure below.

    The engineer who designed this board clearly separated the digital and analog circuits, and also isolated the power module from both the digital and analog modules.

    # 4 – Determine Using Power and Ground Layers

    Now that the subcircuit locations and layer configurations have been fully defined, it’s time to pay attention to the smallest details that need to be clarified during the design of the board.

    First, this is the ground plane, which must be solid. By this, we mean that the ground plane should not be broken by any signal tracks.

    If you break this layer, signals will have to look for workarounds, which can lead to nasty EMI and signal delays.

    If you do need to break the ground plane, remember to install a 0-ohm resistor along the signal path to make it easier for the return signal to find its path.

    High frequency PCB

    High-frequency PCB

    # 5 – The Size of the Contact Pads should be Made as Small as Possible

    Any PCB designs you have worked on in the past may have larger pads than necessary. This was done for obvious reasons.

    This makes it easier to apply solder to the pad, to control them faster, and the accuracy of the placement of board components is not so important.

    However, in the design of high-frequency printed circuit boards, the value of every millimeter of surface skyrockets – every millimeter you save will come in handy.

    In light of this, we recommend observing the minimum allowances for all pads at the level of 0-5% of the dimensions of the leads of the parts to be installed.

    Compare this to the traditional 30% allowance for conventional electronic devices.

    Why save space? This will not only help us improve mechanical strength, but will also allow us to reduce parasitic capacitances, which play a significant role when it comes to high frequencies.

    More importantly, the less space you set aside for pads, the more room you have for differential pairs of conductors, vias, and high-density parts such as FPGAs and integrated circuits.

    # 6 – Route Signals for Maximum Shielding

    High-frequency signals on your board create a mass of electromagnetic radiation as they travel from source to consumer.

    The last thing you would like to get is for the two signals to cause mutual interference with each other or affect adjacent parts.

    To avoid this, route the signal traces for maximum shielding, following the guidelines below:

    • Long parallel signal paths should be kept as short as possible to avoid signal interference or crosstalk.
    • The distance between the signal paths should be as great as possible, and even they should be placed on different layers, especially if strong interference is expected from them.
    • When routing signal paths on different layers, make sure they are at right angles to each other. Thus, if the tracks run horizontally on one signal layer, then on the other they should run vertically, at an angle of 45 degrees, etc.

    # 7 – Provide an Efficient Return Current Path

    In high-speed board designs, each of the signals tries to find a path from the source to the consumer with the lowest impedance.

    For clocks and other high-speed I / O devices, the goal of providing the shortest path may require the use of vias.

    Without them, you can run into currents around discontinuities in the ground plane, resulting in a loss of signal integrity.

    # 8 – Use the 3W Rule to Minimize Communication between Tracks

    Interconnected transmission lines can play a bad role in maintaining the integrity of the signal during transmission.

    To minimize this risk, there is an obligatory general rule to separate the tracks from each other as far as possible, although this rule is difficult to follow when designing a real board.

    If you’ve ever wondered how far apart the tracks should be to minimize communication between them, then use the 3W rule.

    It states that the distance between the tracks, measured between the longitudinal axes of the tracks, must be three times greater than the width of the individual track.

    You can also increase the distance from 3x to 10x to get much less signal from one track on the signal of another track and to reduce crosstalk.

    # 9 – Use the 20H Rule to Minimize Communication Between Layers

    In addition to the risk of signal interconnection between individual tracks, you should also think about the connection between the power and ground layers of the board.

    When such a connection occurs, radiation in the radio frequency range, called fringing, begins to break off the edges of the board.

    To prevent this phenomenon, make the power layer smaller than the adjacent ground layer.

    This will allow the edge flux to be absorbed by the grounding layer instead of emitting it into the external environment.

    However, how much smaller should the nutritional layer be? Use the 20H rule, which says that the power layer should be less than 20 times the dielectric thickness between the adjacent power and ground layers.

    No. 10 – In conclusion – General Rules for Tracing a Printed Circuit Board

    In conclusion of our TOP-10 tips, we will mention board routing, which in itself deserves a separate article, and possibly a book, which would talk about such things as radiation in the radio frequency range, microwaves, and antenna design.

    This list is not exclusive, so be sure to ask an experienced PCB routing engineer for help with tasks like yours. So:

    • Do not use 90-degree bends in the tracks. First, avoid using 90-degree track curvature. Tracks bent at right angles can cause signal reflections.
    • Differential pairs. You can get mutual suppression of electromagnetic fields if both signal lines in your differential pair have the same length and a constant distance between them. This will most likely require adjusting the track lengths in your PCB design application.
    • Transmission lines. Take the time to carefully design transmission lines using microstrip lines and strip lanes. Microstrip lines use only one support layer separated by a dielectric. If you need better shielding, use a strip transmission line between multiple ground layers and dielectric layers.
    What Are New Solutions in the Design of High-frequency Devices?

    When working on your first RF PCB design project, you are likely to run into new, previously unknown problems.

    They will no longer be just about putting all the puzzle pieces together.

    Now you need to think about how exactly the signals behave when passing along the tracks, and how they affect all the details of the PCB. And at the end of the day, it all boils down to EMI problems.

    As you dive deeper into the world of high-speed devices, you will gain new strategies and knowledge for dealing with electromagnetic interference while maintaining EMC or EMC. So use these TOP 10 tips to get started on your first project.

    However, there is still much to be learned!

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