Interconnection


Analogue, digital and power in one connector

30 April 2024 Interconnection


In a recent white paper titled ‘Array Connectors for Mixed Signal Multi-Channel RFSoCs up to 8 GHz’, Samtec engineers described the research, development, simulation, and measurements performed in a project to design the optimal breakout region (BOR) for the use of array connectors that simultaneously carry analogue, digital, and power signals in an RF environment, as a replacement for traditional compression mount and threaded PCB connectors. The results showed that it is possible to route high-frequency, high-isolation RF signals and digital and power signals through a single connector.

System on Chip (SoC) implementations with integrated data converters, and RF front-end subsystems are being deployed in 5G/6G, phased array radar, SATCOM, FPGA cards, and test and measurement architectures. The use of these RFSoCs challenges the traditional approach of handling the RF signals with compression mount and threaded PCB connectors. A simple alternative, using multiple ganged connectors, still puts strain on form factor, weight, and financial budgets, especially as high-frequency RF channel counts increase in these SoC-based systems.

The first step of this research and development project was simple, as Samtec already had existing array connectors for high-performance, high-speed digital signalling. Adapting this technology for RF applications required the development of specific PCB stack ups and launch optimisations to achieve the differential crosstalk and return loss performance required for frequencies up to 8 GHz and beyond.

The design targets identified for this mixed-signal connector array project were based on the specifications from existing RFSoCs, such as the AMD Xilinx Zynq and included:

• 8 GHz bandwidth.

• 50 Ω system impedance for single-ended; 100 Ω for differential.

• Return loss of -12 dB up to 4 GHz, -10 dB up to 8 GHz.

• Crosstalk isolation between channels: -69 dBc to 4 GHz, -63 dBc to 8 GHz.

This work took an unconventional approach to an optimised breakout design in terms of materials, launch, connector pin field, and differential ground pattern. Because of that, a currently available 560-pin single array connector can support up to 26 differential RF signals.


Credit(s)



Share this article:
Share via emailShare via LinkedInPrint this page

Further reading:

The future for low power, low-latency data centres
Interconnection
Rapid expansion of AI and ML applications is driving a significant increase in cluster sizes within data centres, resulting in substantial demands for faster I/O capabilities.

Read more...
Digital link 40x faster than broadband Internet
Hiconnex Interconnection
Axon’s AxoMach high-speed links were recently qualified by the European Space Agency to the ESCC 3409/001 standard, and are designed to transmit data at speeds of up to 40 Gbps for space applications.

Read more...
Modular CAT7 inter-car-connection
Hiconnex Interconnection
These modular connectors are particularly suitable for harsh environments, and have a high resistance to industrial vibration and an IP67 protection rating.

Read more...
Multi-channel cable assembly
RFiber Solutions Interconnection
Withwave’s Multi-Channel SMPM Cable Assemblies (WMCM Series) provide a wide range of multiple coax connectors and flexible cable assemblies, with a choice of 26,5, 40 and 50 GHz configurations.

Read more...
Compact power relays
Future Electronics Interconnection
The new HE-R Series power relays by Panasonic Industry are PCB-mounted relays for easy board assembly, with both two- and four-pole contact arrangement options.

Read more...
High-density multicoax cable assembly
RFiber Solutions Interconnection
Withwave’s high speed and high-density Multicoax Cable Assemblies (WMX Series) provide a wide range of multiple coax connectors and flexible cable assemblies with a choice of 20, 40, 50, 67 or 110 GHz configurations.

Read more...
Centralised distribution for M8 and M12 connectors
Communica Interconnection
Amphenol LTW’s distribution boxes facilitate efficient cable management, easy installation with pre-wired configuration, and provide a centralised distribution point for M8 and M12 connectors.

Read more...
What is an RF connector?
Spectrum Concepts Editor's Choice Interconnection
If you look across the broader electromagnetic spectrum, the selection of the 3 kHz to 300 GHz frequency range for RF signals is a result of a balance between propagation characteristics, data transmission requirements, regulatory allocations, and the compatibility of electronic components and devices.

Read more...
Multi-head battery contacting solutions
Electronic Industry Supplies Interconnection
INGUN has developed contacting solutions which boast low contact resistances, maximum reduced power losses, and stable, durable electrical connections in either single- or multi-head contacting configurations.

Read more...
Expanded magnetic connector lineup
Spectrum Concepts Interconnection
Mill-Max has expanded its Maxnetic lineup to offer more options for connections and terminations, including board-to-board, cable-to-board, and cable-to-cable choices.

Read more...