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Unit information: Device Interconnect - Principles and Practice in 2015/16

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Unit name Device Interconnect - Principles and Practice
Unit code EENGM4230
Credit points 10
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Professor. Railton
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Electrical & Electronic Engineering
Faculty Faculty of Engineering

Description including Unit Aims

Modern electronic systems are composed of interconnected devices, communicating in various ways, closely or loosely coupled and at a variety of distances of separation and voltage. A number of techniques and standards have grown up to facilitate this, and they demonstrate a wide range of complexity and performance capability according to their specific application domain: on-chip chip-to-chip, backplane/motherboard, network/switch-fabric, etc.

This unit addresses the practical issues which arise when it is required to transmit high speed signals over moderate distances, such as USB or Ethernet cable, and over short distances, such as between components on a Printed Circuit Board or Integrated Circuit.

By looking at the physics of what happens within a PCB and on an interconnecting cable, principles will be established which, if followed, will lead to designs which are more reliable.


  • Transmission line structures and their properties
  • Crosstalk due to mutual inductance and capacitance
  • Signal Integrity problems including ringing, ground bounce and echo
  • Differential signalling, Differential and Common Mode currents
  • Use of image planes and the design of multi-layer Printed Circuit Boards
  • Modelling and prediction of interconnect properties
  • Case studies of some practical interconnects: USB, HDMI, IDE etc.

Intended Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of the unit a student will be able to:

  1. Apply transmission line and electromagnetic theory to the successful design of interconnections within a Printed Circuit Board and over cable
  2. Describe the precautions which need to be taken in the design of high speed PCBs in order to achieve good performance
  3. Describe the properties of transmission line structures
  4. Explain mutual inductance and capacitance in interconnects
  5. Explain cross-talk, ground-bounce and signal integrity
  6. Describe electromagnetic interference and radiation
  7. Describe the use of image planes and multi-layer Printed Circuit Boards

Teaching Information

Lectures and laboratory

Assessment Information

Report on PCB-PCB connection laboratory, 20% (all ILOs)

Exam, 2 hours, 80% (all ILOs)

Reading and References

Strongly recommended:

  • Johnson, H., & Graham, M., High-Speed Digital Design, Prentice Hall, ISBN 0133957241


  • Hall, S.H., H, G.W., & McCall, J.A., High-Speed Digital System Design, Wiley-IEEE Press, ISBN 0471360902