The RF Signal Balancing Act

As RF, microwave, and millimeter-wave analog signals of ever higher frequencies become more ubiquitous in cellular and radar applications, the need to manage the integrity of these signals becomes increasingly important. Advanced high frequency analog functions are routinely packed onto semiconductor chips that are dense with complex digital functions. But this presents a problem. Semiconductor-based ICs have many layers of active signals and interconnects, but they do not have readily available low impedance paths to ground. This makes it especially difficult to maintain the integrity of microwave and millimeter-wave signals on chip. Special techniques are required.