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The Rog Blog is contributed by John Coonrod and various other experts from Rogers Corporation, providing technical advice and information about RF/microwave materials.

Comparing Transmission Lines for Millimeter-Wave Circuits

Circuit designers familiar with a particular transmission-line technology may ask: Can’t I stick with microstrip at mmWave frequencies, if the PCB material delivers the performance I need?  This posting reviews the answer to this question and about how to optimize mmWave PCB designs.


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People Help Turn Those Laminates into Perfect PCBs

Specifying the optimum circuit laminate for an electronic design project is often a case of reviewing the numbers. Once all these numbers have been analyzed and reviewed, the field of PCB material choices narrows until, finally, the optimum circuit material for a project can be selected. But what happens next?


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Circuit Materials Keep Satcom Signals On Track

Space may be the final frontier, but the orbiting satellites that provide this planet’s satellite communications (satcom) outer infrastructure may seem even more inaccessible. In what may be one of the most hostile operating environments for electronic equipment, these satellites contain circuits that absolutely must not fail. The satcom systems in those satellites demand circuit materials capable of maintaining excellent performance and high reliability even under those stressful, in-orbit conditions.


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Appreciating Advances In Circuit Materials – 100 Blogs Later

100th ROG Blog Posting

Predicting the future is never easy. Similarly, knowing which types of circuit materials will be needed for the next decade’s RF/microwave applications can be difficult to predict, but the past can provide invaluable guidance. With this being the 100th installment in this series, the previous six years of ROG Blogs provide a bit of a map for the high-frequency road ahead and what might be needed in terms of electrical and mechanical characteristics for what are expected to be large-volume applications in this industry, including in radar-based automotive electronics systems, Fifth Generation (5G) wireless communications systems, and Internet of Things (IoT) sensors almost everywhere.


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Filtering Through Material Choices

High-frequency filters are increasingly essential components within wireless products, especially as those wireless products continue to compete for limited frequency spectrum. Various types of RF/microwave filters help wireless radio transmitters and receivers operate with their proper signals while shielding them interference caused by out-of-band signals. For the best results, filter designers should start with a printed-circuit-board (PCB) material having optimum characteristics for RF/microwave filters. The choice of circuit material can not only impact a filter’s performance, but even the size of a printed circuit filter.


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What Happens When Circuit Material Heats Up?

Heat can be damaging. Printed circuit board (PCB) materials are formulated to withstand a certain amount of heat, but when the temperatures rise beyond certain limits, circuit performance can suffer, especially at higher frequencies. Heat-tolerant PCB materials and carefully considered circuit designs can tolerate a certain amount of heat, if a circuit designer is aware of the various parameters that best describe a circuit material’s behavior when temperatures rise. 


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Differences Between Thermoplastic And Thermoset Materials

Two types of composite materials—thermoplastic and thermoset materials—are commonly used for the dielectric layers in PCBs or as adhesives in manufacturing circuit laminates and they each have their own traits and characteristics. But how do they differ? What are the strengths and weaknesses of each type of material and why choose one over the other for an application?


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Flexible Circuits Are Just Around the Bend

Not all circuit materials are created equal, and some have more mechanical flexibility than others and can survive a certain amount of bending and flexing without damage. Understanding what makes a circuit material capable of bending and flexing, and what happens to it when it is bent or flexed, helps when specifying circuit materials for such uses. 


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Taming Temperatures in Multilayer Circuits

Multilayer circuits provide the means for achieving high circuit densities in small volumes. The penalty for the compact circuit sizes can be the challenge of dissipating heat from active devices, such as power transistors. There is a way to manage the heat without adding size, by distributing the heat throughout the multilayer circuit board, using a low-cost circuit material designed for that purpose, 92ML™ thermally conductive epoxy prepreg material.


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Finding the Best Blend of PCB Solder mask

Solder mask is an often-overlooked component of an RF/microwave printed-circuit board (PCB). It provides protection for a circuit but can also have an effect on final performance, especially at higher frequencies. Solder mask may not always be used in RF/microwave circuits but, when it is part of a circuit, it should be accounted for electrically as well, for the most accurate modeling and simulation. Knowing more about the material properties of solder mask can help boost an understanding of how these circuit layers can impact performance at RF/microwave frequencies.


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