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Signal Integrity Effect of Magnets glued to 400-800 MHZ PCB - RF Cafe Forums

Because of the high maintenance needed to monitor and filter spammers from the RF Cafe Forums, I decided that it would be best to just archive the pages to make all the good information posted in the past available for review. It is unfortunate that the scumbags of the world ruin an otherwise useful venue for people wanting to exchanged useful ideas and views. It seems that the more formal social media like Facebook pretty much dominate this kind of venue anymore anyway, so if you would like to post something on RF Cafe's Facebook page, please do.

Below are all of the forum threads, including all the responses to the original posts.

Post subject: Signal Integrity Effect of Magnets glued to 400-800 MHZ PCB Posted: Fri Oct 19, 2007 2:11 pm


Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2007 8:47 pm
Posts: 2
I'm a Process/Fabrication guy working with assemblies that contain a Ceramic(LTCC) PCB operating in the 400-800 MHz (Digital) Clock range. No Analog(Yet.) Signal lines may be 4inches total length, multilayer. But there are no ICs, its just a big fanout. Maybe a few 10050 or 0102 caps. Now I want to stick another ceramic circuit card onto the surface using small embedded micro magnets about the size of a grain of salt but there will be hundreds. Some of them will be glued directly over signal lines but all will be electrically isolated by dielectric layers. Their positions will also be fixed so there will be no possibility of moving magnets relative to conductors like in motors. Now my question for you Signal Integrity Experts here at RFCafe, because nobody I talk to yet can give me a straight answer on this: Will these isolated fixed magnets influence the Integrity of typical 400-800 MHz digital signals nearby? If so, HOW? For example, You hook this assembly without magnets up to your TDR and to other expensive analyzers and give me a $30,000 SI report. Now I place the magnets and you re-run the exact same test. Can you see any difference? Can you derive the presence of fixed magnets inside the assembly from this data? HOW? I only seem to get nebulous answers to this, and I ask "Experts." I'm a CHEM Engr, not an EE, so don't go PhD on me. But if someone can educate me on this topic I would be most grateful.


Post subject: Posted: Mon Oct 22, 2007 8:15 am


Joined: Fri Feb 17, 2006 12:07 pm
Posts: 218
Location: London UK
Hi Dave
Basically, any effectsd will be due to a 3 part mixture of dielectric material into the RF electro-magnetic field around the clock line ceramic lines.
Both permittivity and permeability of the magnetic material comprising the magnets will be frequency dependent. Not knowing the magnetic material you are using makes it hard to give a definite answer, but I suspect the molecules of material will not be able to follow the changing EM field, whereas the dielectric material of the adhesive possibly will. Hence I predict the major effect will be due to the permeability of the mixture of magnetic material and adhesive. If the magnetic material is mainly a Barium Titanate type this has a high permittivity and loss factor. It will be mixed with a low permittivity relatively low loss adhesive, of which again we do not know the properties. When one knows the permittivity of both and the relative concentrations of each, one can compute the loss and permittivity of the mixture using Lichteneker's Mixing Formula (basically a logarithmic relationship).
To predict qualitatively what effect the mixture would have, we would need to have detailed info on the various materials comprising the magnets and adhesive, the percentage of each in the adhesive mixture,and how these behave with increasing frequency through the UHF spectrum. If the k value remains significant compared to the substrate material in the UHF range, it will show up as high refelction coefficient. If the magnetic mixture has high loss at UHF, there will be a greater loss through the power divider,


Post subject: Posted: Mon Oct 22, 2007 2:29 pm


Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2007 8:47 pm
Posts: 2
Thanks so much.
If I understand you, the magnet is no different than any other metallic object despite its magnetic field and particular permittivity. Its effect is simply capacitative... So to abate this effect am I correct in concluding that I could do 2 things: 1. shield the signal lines. 2. Route the lines a bit out of the way and open the dielectric above a ground plane and maybe use a conductive epoxy and glue the magnets down onto ground plane to render them continuous with GND? Seems this would kill the cap effect. But am I forgetting anything?


Post subject: Posted: Tue Oct 23, 2007 6:22 am


Joined: Fri Feb 17, 2006 12:07 pm
Posts: 218
Location: London UK
Hi Dave
Yes, those precautions would be appropriate.
I had (probably wrongly) assumed the magnets were there to interact with an RF device, but seemingly that is not the case. Therefore keeping the magnets away from or shielded from the trace line on the substrate will ensure no interaction.
If they must be within a close distance of the trace, say a few millimeters, then using a low density of magnet grains mixed in an adhesive using polystyrene instead of epoxy should also have minimum effect.
Epoxy is quite lossy at UHF, but polystyrene has low loss characteristics by comparison. Melted polythene is also OK so long as it is not so over-heated that it chars.
Good luck with the project

Posted  11/12/2012

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