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Intel/NTU's sub-millimetre EMI shunt beats shields

Posted: 19 Jan 2016 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:metamaterial? EMI? EMC? interface?

Intel funded a metamaterial breakthrough at the Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) Lab at National Taiwan University. By folding a metamaterial up into the third dimension (3D), a new development has been achieved for noise suppression.

The approach specifically quells electromagnetic interference (EMI), which enables easier EMC of next-generation high-speed interfaces.

The Intel/NTU's breakthrough is a single sub-millimetre sized component that replaces bulky traditional shielding by suppressing noise at each source by 20dB, according to Professor Tzong-Lin Wu, an IEEE Fellow and Director of the Graduate Institute of Communication Engineering (GICE) at NTU.

Experimental setup

The experimental setup consists of a main board (middle) fed by a high-speed USB 3.0 signal (bottom) going across to a USB connector that takes the signal off-board to the blue cord feeding the load (small board on right). (Source: EE Times)

"Along with the vigorous development of cloud computing, it is of vital importance to enhance the bandwidth and efficiency of data centres and their communication devices for next-generation communication," Wu told EE Times in an exclusive interview. "New high-speed signal transmission design and high-frequency noise suppression technologies are key to enabling wider data bandwidth in cloud computing and other applications."


A close-up of the connector going off-board (top) reveals the tiny sub-millimetre (0.7mm x 0.7mm x 0.5mm) metamaterial "shunt" (tiny white chip over wires at bottom) that cuts off-board EMI produced by 20 per cent. (Source: EE Times)

The NTU EMC Lab claims to be the first to use the invention of planar electromagnetic band-gap (EBG) power planes to suppress switching noise of packaged circuits, and now has a new claimthe first use of metamaterial differential transmission lines to virtually eliminate common-mode noise in high-speed differential signals.

EMI shunts

Five tiny metamaterial EMI shunts (four together and one further away at right on top of my hotel magnetic key for perspective). (Source: EE Times)

The tiny metamaterial componentsmeasuring just 1mm x 0.8mm x 0.6mmare folded like origami to suppress EMI problems in high-speed interfaces whose wavelength is much longer than the physical size of the noise suppression component. Due to a widely used ceramic or PCB manufacturing process, they are also much cheaper than traditional shielding techniques for any electronic component with external interfaces (see the example of a USB 3.0 interface in the photos). In addition to 20dB noise suppression, more than one can be placed in-line with the high-speed transmission line to achieve 40db (with two), 60dB (with three) and so forth.

- R. Colin Johnson
??EE Times U.S.

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