Expert Advice on Power Integrity
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The articles and columns contained in this section come from members of the Signal Integrity Journal’s Editorial Advisory Board (EAB). Members of the EAB review every technical article posted on the site, and are often sought after for their advice. In this column area, the EAB will talk about issues related to power integrity.

Why Full VRM Characterization is Essential

The voltage regulator module (VRM) contributes system level noise in several ways. Power integrity (PI) engineers tend to focus on transient voltage noise related to high-speed dynamic current. Many PI simulators ignore the VRM noise and use an ideal resistor and inductor model to represent the VRM. This overly simplistic approach misses many potential system level issues.

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Making a Steamy, Hairy Golf Ball

My friend Steve Sandler pointed out a major hurdle we face in power distribution design: power engineers (who design power converters) and power integrity engineers (who design system bypassing-decoupling networks) use different vocabulary, techniques, and requirements. To understand a little better how we got here, I want to start with a prediction I heard sometime in the early 90s at one of the conference keynote speeches: “In 10 to 20 years, computers will look like hairy steamy golf balls.” 

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Power Electronics vs. Power Integrity

The power electronics engineer and the power integrity engineer share a common goal: provide the system with the correct voltages, currents, and noise characteristics to achieve the desired performance. Unfortunately, they do not share much else. They generally use different tools, vocabulary, and figures of merit. As a result, both sides lose.

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How Much Capacitance Do We Really Get?

We have to use enough capacitors so that the PDN functions properly. At the same time, to keep cost and size in check, we want to avoid overdesign and not use capacitors unnecessarily. Read on for advice on how to find the balance.

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What Exactly is Power Integrity?

Larry Smith and I address this question in the preface to our new book. We found this question to be a little like the story of the five blind people and the elephant. They each are asked, what is an elephant? Depending on what part they were facing, imagined the elephant as that feature: a wall, a rope, a tree trunk, etc.
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