[SI-LIST] Re: TDR impedance measurement and rise time

  • From: "Istvan Nagy" <buenos@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "Istvan Novak" <istvan.novak@xxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sun, 26 Apr 2009 20:17:16 +0100


Thanks for these lots of thoughts.
Actually I also wrote a document about impedance control. I just finished 
Originally for my colleagues, because we are purchasing some software and it 
would be good if everyone at the (small) company has a clear picture about 
the subject.
It can be downloaded here (with Internet Explorer only):
If someone can find something wrong or missing in that, then please tell me.
I know there are lots of aspects about impedance control, but I was asking 
about a specific one, how to measure it in a frequency dependent way. 
Unfortunatelly i can see already that its a problem.

I think the TDR measurements use a wide-band signal (gaussian pulse?) to 
measure, and the result impedance is some kind of average of the responses 
on all the test signals frequency components. If we change the TDR's rise 
time, then its (wide) band shifts in frequency. But I am not an expert about 
TDRs, so maybe its a completely stupid idea.
Would it be better to measure impedances on test coupons with a VNA? (if it 
is possible) Just because of the single frequency measurement.

Istvan Nagy

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Istvan Novak" <istvan.novak@xxxxxxx>
To: "Istvan Nagy" <buenos@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Cc: "Mick zhou" <mick.zhou@xxxxxxxxx>; "Yuriy Shlepnev" 
<shlepnev@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>; <si-list@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Friday, April 24, 2009 3:38 AM
Subject: [SI-LIST] Re: TDR impedance measurement and rise time

> Hi Istvan,
> To get a good correlation, one proven approach is to find a suitable
> model, which captures
> all major contributors and signatures that matter, and match the model
> to the measured data,
> whether it is TDR or VNA data.  If the model is valid for the device you
> measure, you should
> be able to get correlation close to the accuracy of your measurement.
> For instance, if your
> trace and dielectric geometry is uniform enough that a cross-section
> geometry and material
> properties are all what you need to describe the interconnect, you can
> take the appropriate
> per-unit-length frequency-dependent resistance, inductance, capacitance
> and conductance,
> and simulate what for instance a TDR instrument would show you.  You can
> either blindly
> optimize the parameters going into the model, or even better, you can
> assist the optimization
> with measured parameters on things that you can measure, such as cross
> section geometry,
> Dk and trace resistance, inductance (at whatever frequency you can
> measure them).
> Even though you can point out certain inter-relations between the f
> frequency of Zo(f)
> and the TDR profile, we need to keep in mind that going back and forth
> between time
> and frequency domains involves wide-band (theoretically infinite)
> integrals, so we should
> not try to correlate a single frequency point to a single time point.
> The built-in scenarios in the Lossy_trace_parameters_v-w01.xls
> spreadsheet (posted on
> http://www.electrical-integrity.com/, Tool download) will show the
> variations in Zo(f)
> as a function of frequency and interconnect parameters.  You will notice
> that the conductive
> loss will create a tendency of negative slope (impedance drops as
> frequency goes up),
> whereas dielectric loss creates a positive slope.  All-in-all, you get a
> bathtub curve, where
> the low and high-frequency slopes and shapes depend on the conductive
> and dielectric
> losses independent of each other (reason: at very low frequencies
> dielectric losses can be
> neglected; at very high frequencies the conductive loss diminishes in
> relation to dielectric
> losses).  You can notice that assuming a typical trace skin loss and the
> worst-case 3.5%
> Df for an FR4 laminate, the characteristic impedance (magnitude) has a
> 48 Ohm
> minimum at 25 MHz, and its value rises to 48.4 Ohm at 100 MHz, 50.36 Ohm
> at 1GHz
> and 53.3 Ohm at 10 GHz.  This is actually 10% variation over two decades
> of frequency.
> Note, however: if you plug in a Df value of 1%, the Zo(f) curve
> 'flattens out' at high
> frequencies and you get 50.4 Ohm at 100 MHz and 51 Ohm at 10 GHz, just a
> little
> over of one percent variation.  This gives us the first clue that a
> lower loss tangent not
> only will reduce the signal attenuation, but also the Zo(f) variation of
> the interconnect.
> At lower frequencies the impedance variation is much more pronounced,
> but here you
> have other factors to help you: the length of a typical PCB interconnect
> trace becomes
> such a small fraction of the wavelength that the impedance mismatch
> simply wont matter.
> We also need to keep in mind that there are several factors that may add
> to the complexity
> of this picture or may mask out these trends altogether.  The obvious
> one is any discrete
> discontinuity along the trace, like a via, but lets assume we rule those
> out for now.  Just
> related to the uniform model, we still have surface roughness of the
> conductors and the
> glass-weave effect.  These two factors will modify the above trends
> somewhat, but will
> not change the signs of the two slopes in the Zo(f) curve.  For an
> excellent summary on
> these items you can look at the recent book: Stephen Hall, Howard Keck:
> Advanced
> Signal Integrity for High-Speed Digital Designs. IEEE-Wiley, 2009.
> The last item, which also might be bigger than any of the above, is the
> potential nonuniformity
> of the trace.  Partly this may be related to the glass-weave effect, but
> even more it is
> due to differences in copper etching and differences in resin flow in
> various parts of the
> board, which will create different local dielectric constants (due to
> different glass-resin ratio)
> and different cross section geometries (trace width and layer height).
> This non-consistency
> from lot-to-lot and non-consistency within a panel are the major reasons
> behind each PCB
> fabricator's tolerance numbers.  Typically 10% on inner layers and 15%
> on outer layers.
> These tolerance numbers assume very little if any variations due to
> inductance and capacitance
> variations, because those measurements assume the same methodology.
> Wherever it may
> fall on the frequency axis of a Zo(f) curve, from the same vendor it is
> the same frequency
> point for all measurements.
> Your questions are valid and represent the current challenges for many
> of us in the industry.
> This also reminds me how the important aspects have evolved over time.
> When I started
> to do signal-integrity courses almost twenty years ago, no-one cared yet
> for dielectric loss,
> or those few who already had this challenge, already knew enough about
> it.   As a result,
> only a couple of hours from the full-week class had to be devoted to
> trace losses. Ten
> years ago people were interested in w-line models, but causality as a
> requirement was
> important for only a few applications.  In contrast, more than half of
> the latest class
> material is touched one way or the other by the frequency dependent
> nature of interconnects,
> as this phenomenon penetrates more and more aspects of signal integrity.
> Finally, one of the few things that works in your favor in a lossy
> interconnect, is the fact that
> more losses will attenuate the reflected wave more, so eventually the
> signal degradation
> due to mismatch will be much less.  With higher losses the Zo(f) curve
> has more deviation
> from nominal, but the resulting higher reflections may not matter.  Or,
> when you are lucky
> enough to start with a low-loss scenario, the impedance variation does
> not show up strongly
> in the first place.
> Regards,
> Istvan Novak
> SUN Microsystems
> Istvan Nagy wrote:
>> Hi
>> So, does it mean that we can not do anything useful about frequency
>> dependent impedance control on digital boards?
>> Impedance can vary 5% from 100MHz (analog VGA, reference clocks) to few 
>> GHz
>> (PCI-express, SATA, XAUI), so it can cause a problem. Or that is the 
>> maximum
>> accuracy what we can get?
>> 5% unaccuracy is 5% extra mismatch for the termination, if we have other
>> sources of a mismatch already (component tolerance). Isn't 5% bad, or is 
>> it
>> acceptable?
>> Another aspect is what single frequency to substitute for a digital 
>> signal
>> for impedance/trace_width calculations/simulations?
>> I thought it would be the knee frequency based on the signal's rise time,
>> but i am not shure anymore.
>> For 8b10b encoded signals, there should be a lower frequency 
>> (data_rate/10)
>> limit in the signal's spectrum, since maximum 5 zeroes or ones can follow
>> each other.
>> Where do we need best matching for terminations, at the highest frequency
>> components, or at the mean of the spectrum, or at the highest peak...?
>> I was trying to do some simulations with different bit patterns in QUCS 
>> and
>> cadence SigExplorer, then do FFT, but the result looks mostly meaningless
>> garbage with some negative slope.
>> Anyway, how does the spectrum looks like for real data signals, 
>> especially
>> at the lower end of the spectrum?
>> How does the TDR determine the impedance? Does it measure the  reflected
>> signal voltage peak?
>> And at what frequency? if we check the impedance characteristics from DC 
>> to
>> infinite Hz, the impedance varies a lot. In theory, if both a simulation 
>> and
>> a TDR measurement gives a number, then at what frequency should they be
>> equal, and why?
>> regards,
>> Istvan
>> ----- Original Message ----- 
>> From: "Mick zhou" <mick.zhou@xxxxxxxxx>
>> To: "Yuriy Shlepnev" <shlepnev@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
>> Cc: "Istvan Nagy" <buenos@xxxxxxxxxxx>; <si-list@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
>> Sent: Monday, April 20, 2009 11:21 PM
>> Subject: [SI-LIST] Re: TDR impedance measurement and rise time
>>> Yurily,
>>> Nice study.
>>> I'd like to bring it deeper if not re-invent the wheels.
>>> Except some practical issues, I think there is a fundamental issue
>>> that is the definition of Z in t-domain and f-domain.  The same
>>> formula rho=(ZL-Z0)/(ZL+Z0) (or its V(t) form) is simply used in both
>>> t- and f-domains.  It does not matter if Z is f/t-independent,
>>> otherwise it is questionable  Unfortunately, it is the foundation of
>>> most TDR algorithms so far. You can simply apply Fourier
>>> transformation, convolution must be involved even we assume Z0 is a
>>> constant. I don't know there is a good solution so far until we make
>>> necessary corrections in the math.
>>> We may conclude that one to one match from f-domain to t-domain is
>>> meaningless in general cases. That's probably the root cause of many
>>> confusions. We can always find a point we like  to have a "match".
>>> For weak f-/t- dependent, it should be OK. Fortunately, most cases in
>>> out community are weak f-/t- dependent? We don't need to worry as much
>>> as we should?
>>> Thanks,
>>> Mick
>>> 2009/4/8 Yuriy Shlepnev <shlepnev@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>:
>>>> Hi Istvan,
>>>> Looking through this thread, I finally decided to spend a couple of 
>>>> hours
>>>> and to do a simple numerical TDR experiment with a broad-band model of 
>>>> a
>>>> micro-strip line segment, to see at least theoretical effect of the 
>>>> rise
>>>> time and to correlate frequency-dependent characteristic impedance of 
>>>> the
>>>> line with the values that can be observed on TDR. The results of this
>>>> simple
>>>> experiment are available as App. Note #2009_04 at
>>>> http://www.simberian.com/AppNotes.php (no registration required). The
>>>> conclusion is that the observed TDR impedance depends on the rise time
>>>> and
>>>> can be correlated with the characteristic impedance at different
>>>> frequency
>>>> bands (well, at least theoretically).
>>>> Best regards,
>>>> Yuriy Shlepnev
>>>> www.simberian.com
>>>> -----Original Message-----
>>>> From: si-list-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx 
>>>> [mailto:si-list-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx]
>>>> On
>>>> Behalf Of Istvan Nagy
>>>> Sent: Tuesday, April 07, 2009 1:34 PM
>>>> To: si-list@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
>>>> Subject: [SI-LIST] Re: TDR impedance measurement and rise time
>>>> Hi
>>>> Peter from LeCroy wrote:
>>>> "short impedance discontinuities... if you limit the frequency content
>>>> ...,
>>>> the bumps get smeared out by the slower risetime and they don't look so
>>>> bad"
>>>> - i think for these Test Coupon measurements is the point not to 
>>>> measure
>>>> a
>>>> real PCB trace with the lots of discontinuities, but to get the 
>>>> impedance
>>>> based on the cross section. otherwise we would need different trace
>>>> widths
>>>> for every trace segment and we would need real-time 3D simulationd 
>>>> during
>>>> PCB layout design.
>>>> Exploring discontinuities on a real PCB (not on a test coupon) is is
>>>> another
>>>> story. I was asking about the measurements for the test coupons (maybe 
>>>> I
>>>> forgot to mention). Normally (our) boards have hundreds of controlled
>>>> impedance interconnects, those at the first place should be correct 
>>>> based
>>>> on
>>>> the cross section and test coupons. The rest is design practices, to 
>>>> make
>>>> shure we dont deviate too much with discontinuitise. Of course its
>>>> probably
>>>> nice to characterise a full board, but in short development cycles, it
>>>> wouldn't work very well. but i dont know, maybe it would...
>>>> "Howard Johnson had an excellent video "
>>>> - if anyone knows where to find it, i would appreciate...
>>>> Jeff Loyer wrote:
>>>> "The TDR will report the same characteristic impedance of your trace
>>>> regardless of risetime"
>>>> - which impedance? the impedance at 1 GHz? or at 10 GHz? or at xxx GHz?
>>>> The characteristic impedance of a PCB trace depends on the frequency,
>>>> since
>>>> Er and the loss tangent are frequency dependent, and there is skin 
>>>> effect
>>>> and others... so Z0(1GHz) is not equal to Z0(xxxGHz). So if a signal
>>>> (lets
>>>> simplify it) is at xxx GHz, then its terminations should be best 
>>>> matched
>>>> at
>>>> xxx GHz, and not at yyyGHz, so the board impedance should be correct at
>>>> xxx
>>>> GHz, and not at yyyGHz.
>>>> Rob Sleigh wrote:
>>>> "Yes, it's a very common practice to characterize a PDB with a TDR 
>>>> whose
>>>> rise time is similar to the signal's rise time. It's up to the designer
>>>> to
>>>> decide, but usually pick a faster rise time than the system rise time 
>>>> to
>>>> provide yourself with some margin."
>>>> -most of the PCB manufacturers we talked to, they never asked about
>>>> rise_time or frequency information of our signals, and when we tried to
>>>> provide these to them they said they have deleoped their super-duper 
>>>> test
>>>> setup which is based on tonns of measurements and it is accurate, and
>>>> they
>>>> dont care about our signal's frequency or rise time, and we should just
>>>> pay
>>>> and shut up... We tried In europe, north america and china. And the 
>>>> best
>>>> what they say is they compensate for frequencies up to 10GHz, without
>>>> knowing anything about our signal's freq/Tr.
>>>> The last one said they can't or don't change rise times on their TDR...
>>>> Kihong (Joshua) Kim wrote:
>>>> "maximum frequency that may capture the bandwidth of imformation in
>>>> digital
>>>> world."
>>>> - I was trying to estimate rise times and bandwidth. Especially at the
>>>> receiver. I can't explain why it would be better than at the 
>>>> transmitter
>>>> if
>>>> they are both matched terminated to Z0, but I have a feeling like 
>>>> that...
>>>> Normally at the receiver we have slower rise times. For example for 
>>>> PCIe
>>>> and
>>>> SATA, the signal looks sinusoid, not that rectangular as at the
>>>> transmitter.
>>>> So at a pattern 1010101010 the frequency would be f=data_rate/2. For
>>>> other
>>>> interfaces, like DDR2/3, we can get rise times from simulation. So, I
>>>> would
>>>> provide these to the PCB manufacturer to calculate trace widths and
>>>> verify
>>>> by TDR/test-coupon measurements.
>>>> regards,
>>>> Istvan Nagy
>>>> CCT, UK
>>>> ----- Original Message -----
>>>> From: "Kihong Joshua Kim" <joshuakh@xxxxxxxxx>
>>>> To: "Nagy István" <buenos@xxxxxxxxxxx>
>>>> Cc: <si-list@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
>>>> Sent: Tuesday, April 07, 2009 4:51 PM
>>>> Subject: [SI-LIST] Re: TDR impedance measurement and rise time
>>>>> Nagy,
>>>>> Couple of TDR measurements experience for real boards with known trace
>>>>> models and physical data will give you good sense of what TDR means.
>>>>> However, if you do not have time to build sample boards nor have TDR
>>>>> equipment...here is my help.
>>>>> Risetime conversion to frequency needs to be dealt with in-depth
>>>>> understanding of the topic. The quick rule of thumb equation mentioned
>>>>> in one of threaded mails is the maximum frequency that may capture the
>>>>> bandwidth of imformation in digital world. This is weird part because
>>>>> one
>>>>> might has question on why I am talking about digital bandwith when
>>>>> others
>>>>> discuss about analog nature of signal (rise time). Some excercise to
>>>>> uderstand Fourier analysis would give you an idea about what it meant.
>>>>> Anyhow, to get out of math and get the real sense of TDR with variety 
>>>>> of
>>>>> sample boards.
>>>>> I had developed couple of years ago a virtual TDR head (IBIS TDR
>>>>> model) working just fine in any IBIS simualtion tools and I found out
>>>>> the
>>>>> paper in the internet (wow!). You could try sample boards as long as 
>>>>> you
>>>>> have real board file and connector models and etc....
>>>>> If you google key words for IBIS TDR or TDR IBIS, you will find it
>>>>> easily.
>>>>> But just in case I attached here...
>>>> http://www.cadence.com/rl/Resources/conference_papers/stp_TDR_in_IBIS_Kim.pd
>>>> f
>>>>> Regards,
>>>>> Kihong (Joshua) Kim
>>>>> http://www.linkedin.com/in/joshuakh
>>>>> On Tue, Apr 7, 2009 at 10:39 AM, Loyer, Jeff <jeff.loyer@xxxxxxxxx>
>>>>> wrote:
>>>>>> Concerning measuring Z0:
>>>>>> The TDR will report the same characteristic impedance of your trace
>>>>>> regardless of risetime, assuming your trace is long enough and there
>>>>>> aren't
>>>>>> significant variations in impedance along its length.
>>>>>> Typically, we have very similar 6" coupons for all our controlled
>>>>>> impedances. The board manufacturer will typically measure them with 
>>>>>> an
>>>>>> HVM-compatible TDR, probably about 200 ps risetime. We verify the
>>>>>> impedances with our ~17ps TDR.
>>>>>> For simulations, on the other hand, you'll probably want a risetime
>>>>>> faster
>>>>>> than the projected risetime of your device (I'd guess about 2x; I 
>>>>>> don't
>>>>>> remember seeing it quantified). I typically see folks just go with 
>>>>>> the
>>>>>> risetime of the equipment, ~17ps, and ensure simulation match those
>>>>>> measurements. They may be a little conservative, but probably less 
>>>>>> work
>>>>>> in
>>>>>> the long run than trying to exactly justify any particular risetime.
>>>>>> The advantages/disadvantages I can think of off-hand for fast 
>>>>>> risetimes
>>>>>> are:
>>>>>> 1) fast R.T. = resolution of finer features (discontinuities).
>>>>>> Unfortunately, this can also erroneously lead you to believe you need
>>>>>> to
>>>>>> fix things that are "invisible" at your risetime of interest. 
>>>>>> Filtering
>>>>>> to
>>>>>> your risetime of interest can help you decide whether a discontinuity
>>>>>> is
>>>>>> significant or not.
>>>>>> 2) fast R.T. = smaller probing geometries. It doesn't make sense to 
>>>>>> try
>>>>>> to
>>>>>> maintain a 15 ps risetime through a launch structure with 30 mil vias
>>>>>> spaced
>>>>>> 100 mils apart (such as might be used for manufacturing testing).
>>>>>> Living
>>>>>> with slower risetimes can allow you to adopt much more HVM-friendly
>>>>>> launch
>>>>>> structures, including pogo-pinned probe connections.
>>>>>> 3) fast R.T. = less ESD protection. It's very easy to damage a TDR 
>>>>>> head
>>>>>> from static discharge - HVM-compatible TDR machines with slower
>>>>>> risetimes
>>>>>> have ESD protection.
>>>>>> If the scope or post-processing software doesn't have the ability to
>>>>>> slow
>>>>>> your risetimes, you can buy filters from Picosecond Pulse labs (buy a
>>>>>> filter
>>>>>> at 0.35/RT). They also sell hardware to put out very fast risetimes.
>>>>>> Jeff Loyer
>>>>>> -----Original Message-----
>>>>>> From: si-list-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
>>>>>> [mailto:si-list-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx]
>>>>>> On Behalf Of Nagy István
>>>>>> Sent: Tuesday, April 07, 2009 4:59 AM
>>>>>> To: si-list@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
>>>>>> Subject: [SI-LIST] TDR impedance measurement and rise time
>>>>>> hi
>>>>>> If we measure PCB test coupons with a TDR to determine characteristic
>>>>>> impedance, should we set the rise time to be the same as the signal's
>>>>>> rise
>>>>>> time? is it possible to set it at all?
>>>>>> what i found on the internet, the TDR manufacturers try to make rise
>>>>>> time
>>>>>> to be as low as possible, like 15ps..., and thats it.
>>>>>> If the rise time is always 15ps, then i think it will always measure
>>>>>> the
>>>>>> impedance on a very high frequency, 2/t_rise or something, so several
>>>>>> gigahertz. Usually on a board we have different signals, some are
>>>>>> running
>>>>>> 100MHz analog, some other are 800MT/s digital, or 2.5Gb/s digital.
>>>>>> shouldn't we do different setups for these, to get impedances on the
>>>>>> signal's operating frequency?
>>>>>> Someone from a Fab told me, that the "TDR is not frequency 
>>>>>> dependent".
>>>>>> so
>>>>>> they dont take the signal's frequency into account.
>>>>>> what is the correct handling of signaling frequency for impedance
>>>>>> measurements, and simulations?
>>>>>> regards,
>>>>>> Istvan Nagy
>>>>>> CCT
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