Signal Integrity in High-Speed Digital Systems


digital clock signal on an oscilloscope

This course introduces fundamental signal integrity concepts. Students will develop the basic skills necessary to design and analyze high-speed digital circuits. Topics include, time/frequency domain representations of digital signals, parasitic inductance and capacitance, crosstalk, properties of digital logic, component packaging, circuit board layout, transmission lines, high-frequency measurement techniques, differential signaling, simultaneous switching noise, power bus decoupling, dispersion, jitter, signal termination strategies and grounding for mixed-signal applications.

Continuing Education Credit: 0.75 CEUs, 7.5 PDHs

Course Outline

  1. Introduction
    • Brief history of signal integrity and high-speed digital design
    • Current applications and the state of the art
    • Review of important topics and skills
  2. Signal Characterization
    • Overshoot, undershoot, jitter and noise margin
    • Signal bandwith and transition time
  3. Digital Circuits
    • Resistance, capacitance and inductance
    • Step response of RLC circuits
    • Canonical circuits
  4. Transmission Lines
    • Lumped element representation of transmission lines
    • Fundamental tranmission line theory
    • Transmission line analysis in the time domain
    • Transmission lines with resistive and reactive loads
    • Time domain reflectometry
  5. Modeling Components and Circuit Board Structures
    • Reading a data sheet
    • Parasitic parameters
    • Package Models
    • IBIS
  6. Making Reliable High-Speed, High-Frequency Measurements
    • Probe options
    • Measurement techniques
  7. Simultaneous Switching Noise
    • Decoupling strategies
    • Design guidelines
  8. Grounding
    • Ground vs. Current Return
    • Effective grounding strategies for mixed-signal designs
  9. Propagation Modes
    • Multi-conductor transmission lines
    • Differential-mode vs. single-ended signaling
    • Electrical balance
    • Mode matching
  10. Design Exercises and Examples

Course Instructor

Prof. Todd Hubing

Dr. Todd H. Hubing is a Professor Emeritus of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Clemson University and Director of the Clemson Vehicular Electronics Laboratory. He and his students at Clemson have worked on the development and analysis of a wide variety of electronic products. He taught the first Signal Integrity course ever offered at the University of Missouri-Rolla in 1998, and has been teaching courses in signal integrity and high-speed digital design ever since. He and his students are currently developing a method for transmitting Gbps digital signals over unshielded, low-cost wiring harnesses in an automotive environment.