3 Essential Designs Guidelines of RF and Microwave PCB
Nowadays high-frequency applications, like, communications and networking need PCB boards with high-frequency. In such situations, electronic engineers mostly prefer to use RF and Microwave PCB Designs.
Because PCB manufacturers create these high-frequency boards for all applications relating to networking and communications. You can easily see their uses in countless handheld wireless devices of the modern age.
Moreover, RF/Microwave PCBs are rapidly taking part to benefit all commercial industries such as electronics, communications and medical, etc. In fact, Radio Frequency (RF) based PCB circuits greatly take part to build all modern electronics designs.
Further, it was impossible to design all the modern electrical gadgets without using RF and microwave PCB boards. These PCBs are most popularly serving the electronics industry for several years.
In this guide, you will get all the essential information about RF technology. What are the 5 crazy reasons to use RF and Microwave PCB Designs? Moreover, you will also get design guidelines for RF and Microwave PCB boards. So, let’s start to know!
What is an RF PCB Board and How it Works?
Today manufacturing RF PCB boards has become a fast-growing and extremely exciting sector of the PCB industry. Basically, RF stands for Radiofrequency. The PCB manufacturers decided to fabricate RF circuit boards when they needed a high-frequency PCB that can operate above 100MHz.
Hence, inside a radio frequency class, anything which will be above 2GHz has known as a Microwave PCB. As well as PCB manufacturers also call these boards RF and Microwave PCB. The RF or Radiofrequency waves have generated at the time when an alternating current goes via a conductive material.
In RF and Microwave PCB Designs, manufacturers specify RF waves with the help of their length and frequency. Moreover, they measure the total frequency in hertz as well as the wavelength in meters or centimeters.
Basically, the low frequency makes use of a 120-140 kilohertz band.
What is RF Technology Used for?
In this modern world, people are increasingly communicating with the help of radio waves. In fact, scientists create these radio waves by some artificial means. Furthermore, all the modern development in communication become possible by only these artificial means.
Actually, we are using these RF communication waves in several industries. For example,
- Mobile and computer platform networks;
- Remote control;
- Radar systems;
- Television broadcasting;
- Remote metering;
- Remote monitoring and many, many more.
What Devices Use RF Technology?
The most popular uses for RF and Microwave PCB Designs are:
- Mobile phones or smartphones;
- Local wireless networks;
- Towers of radio transmission;
- Cordless phones and so on.
Moreover, you can also see their highly advantageous uses in,
- Radar systems;
- Medical scanners;
- As well as microwave ovens, etc.
Is RF Technology the Same as Wi-Fi?
In several different fields, electronic designers actually use unique radio frequencies. The main fact behind using unique frequencies is, many other wireless pieces of equipment may not interfere with one another.
Further, all these separate radio frequencies do not interfere with already existing Wi-Fi bandwidth. Basically, radiofrequency has no need for an already existing wireless system. Actually, radio waves have low-frequency while Wi-Fi has high-frequency radio waves.
Further, radio waves are suitable for long-distance communications. On the other hand, high-frequency radio waves are helpful to work only in short-distance communications.
What is RF and Microwave PCB Design?
RF and Microwave PCB Design circuits are some of the most famous and beneficial PCB designs among the whole electronic industry. They have their own unique identity because of their great abilities for capturing higher frequencies.
Further, they can capture higher frequencies in comparison to the normal PCB boards. Previously, it was so costly to communicate and receive outside signals in the important industries of aerospace and the military.
But today because of RF and Microwave PCB boards, it has become so easy, reliable, and low cost. The RF technology with RF and Microwave PCB circuits has now become an integral part of the huge range of,
- And commercial products.
However, it is mainly advantageous for wireless communication devices. For example,
- Wireless networks;
- Satellite broadcasters, etc.
RF and Microwave PCB Design Circuits in Simple Form:
If we define RF and Microwave PCB Design circuits further in simple words, it will be as follows. The RF and Microwave PCBs consist of components that can carry microwave or RF signals. Electronic designers use these boards to communicate signals in the applications.
The applications that need to transmit and receive radio signals. In addition, these signals are different in frequencies. So, the RF circuits communicate those signals which lie in its frequency.
Materials selection in RF and Microwave PCB Design
The PCB manufacturers use really advanced composites that have extremely particular features for,
- Loss tangent;
- Dielectric constant (Er);
- As well as the coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE).
Thus, materials of High-frequency circuits having a low stable Er along with loss tangent can allow the high-speed signals to travel with high-speed. Moreover, PCB manufacturers mix all these materials in the same stack-up for,
- Maximum performance;
- Better finance.
The manufacturers of RF and Microwave Design circuits actually use only the best quality materials like,
- Ceramic filled hydrocarbon;
- High-Performance FR-4;
- Rogers(RO4003,RO4350B) laminates;
- PTFE with woven or micro-glass fibers.
Furthermore, all the above materials actually consist of some particular properties like,
- Low dielectric constant (Er)
- Low loss tangent
- Perfect Co-efficient of Thermal Expansion (CTE).
3 Essential RF and Microwave PCB Design Guidelines
It is a fact that the RF and Microwave PCB boards are very complex to design. The PCB manufacturers usually call them “black magic”. Black magic is just a phrase that means, it is extremely challenging to design these boards. But their performance is beyond the limits.
Here we are giving you some most important RF and Microwave PCB Design guidelines. Basically, these guidelines are very important and PCB engineers should always consider them for manufacturing RF boards.
These guidelines are:
- Some very important constant in all non-RF applications, such as the dielectric constant should treat as a single value. However, these dielectric constants become extremely dynamic at the strong frequency ranges of RF waves.
- Heat managing inside the RF board makes sure the survival of thermal stresses of PCB assembly is actually very important. Moreover, at the drilling stage, the best thermal qualities of the material really help. Because these qualities will help to play an important role in the layer-to-layer arrangement of multilayer stacks.
- Basically, RF boards are liable to interact with nearby features in very sudden ways. So, the proper spacing of the features must play a vital role in RF and Microwave PCB Designs.
- It is very important to select the perfect material for manufacturing RF boards. The material will according to the demands and requirements of applications.
Further, these materials should also in the range of budget of the project. Because all the remaining important challenges will depend on these above choices.
4 Crazy Reasons to Use RF and Microwave PCB Design Circuits
Here we are describing to you the 4 most important and crazy reasons to use RF and Microwave PCB circuit boards. So, let’s check out these reasons!
The stable Er and low-cost tangent has the ability to allow the high-frequency signals to travel more swiftly as well as with less impedance.
In RF and Microwave PCBs manufacturers use low CTE materials. However, these materials help these PCBs to remain stable even in high-temperature environments. For example, RF boards can easily operate at 40 GHz.
Additionally, these materials help to make a very easy arrangement of multiple layers.
The manufacturers of RF and Microwave PCB Design can easily place Fine pitch components on the board. Moreover, they can execute all complex designs more comfortably without facing any trouble.
As the designers of RF boards can combine all the useful materials in the stack-up of the multilayer boards. Hence, it can reduce the overall PCB assembly costs as well as can optimize the PCB performance.
Hence, all the above beneficial features of RF boards make them ideal to use for,
- Cellular phones;
- Computer networking systems;
- Telecommunications, and many more.
These PCBs are extremely famous to use as well as they can easily operate on signals which are in the frequency ranges of megahertz to gigahertz. Furthermore, RF and Microwave PCB Designs have a greatly stable structure.
This characteristic allows these boards to ideally work even at extremely high temperatures. All the latest development in wireless communication is only because of these PCB circuit boards.