Mention of EMI/EMC-induced automotive system failure in the press last week coincided with one of the bigger technical conferences held annually in Silicon Valley – DesignCon. It was in this conference two years ago that we organized a workshop on chip–package–system simulation methodologies specifically as they pertain to EMI/EMC analysis.
Electromagnetic interference, coupling and susceptibility are complex topics. To predict such an event or occurrence requires design teams separated by organizational boundaries to collaborate effectively “outside” the silos they reside in. An automotive system design company working on the next-generation air-bag control system will be responsible for designing the printed circuit board (PCB) to meet stringent performance, reliability and cost metrics. Its teams typically perform numerous simulations to ensure that the board, by itself, meets the requirements outlined for the team. However, PCBs are passive electrically. They (along with the cables) radiate only when the integrated circuit (IC) that is present on these PCBs performs the necessary operations and generates current flow through the various traces. Continue reading