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On the Modeling, Characterization, and Analysis of the Current Distribution in PCB Transmission Lines With Surface Finishes

: Curran, B.; Fotheringham, G.; Tschoban, C.; Ndip, I.; Lang, K.-D.


IEEE transactions on microwave theory and techniques 64 (2016), Nr.8, S.2511-2518
ISSN: 0018-9480
Fraunhofer IZM ()

Due to manufacturing requirements, surface finishes have become a necessity in printed circuit board design. These finishes have significant effects on the RF performance of the transmission lines. In this paper, a filament modeling approach is used to model skin, proximity, and surface roughness effects in transmission lines with surface finishes up to 70 GHz. The approach shows a high accuracy compared with measurements. The model also gives an insight into how the current distributes itself by showing the frequency dependent proportion of the current that flows in each surface finish layer. In the case of NiP-Au or Ni-Au surface finishes, current migrates increasingly into gold at high frequencies and reaches a maximum in the Ni or NiP at around 3.5 GHz, and then declines. The distribution of the current in different materials can also be explained as the decay of an electromagnetic wave at the surface of the conductor.