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21 September 2020

Fundamentals of Power Integrity: Board Pollution

Figure 1. "Pollution" occurring on PDN traces.
Board pollution is noise occurring on the packages and interconnects (traces and planes) that carry current from the VRMs to the consumer devices.
One place it can originate is from the VRM itself, for example, with the switching noise the VRM generates (Figure 1). That can be a real concern if the board capacitance means you have a resonance around the switching frequency that would act as an amplifier for the switching noise and cause all kinds of problems with other devices on the board.

14 September 2020

Fundamentals of Power Integrity: Self-aggression Noise

Fig. 1: VRM-switching noise is a self aggressor that can be
identified because it is synchronous 
with the PWM clock. 
Self-aggression noise is so-called because it is inflicted by a component onto itself through its normal operation; nothing else in the system is affecting it. When we look for this, we want to ensure the system is in a steady state, in a place where the noise environment is fairly clear (e.g., the device is on an evaluation board).

An example of self-aggression would be VRM-switching noise. Figure 1 shows ripple on a 900 millivolt rail (yellow trace) at a time when no load is present. One of the things that tells us this is switching noise is that it is synchronous to the PWM clock (red trace). Ripple that is synchronous with the switching clock is a typical figure of merit for identifying switching noise.