SNVSA99C July 2015 – November 2017 LM43600-Q1
The performance of any switching converter depends as much upon the layout of the PCB as the component selection. The following guidelines will help users design a PCB with the best power conversion performance, thermal performance, and minimized generation of unwanted EMI.
Radiated EMI is generated by the high di/dt components in pulsing currents in switching converters. The larger area covered by the path of a pulsing current, the more electromagnetic emission is generated. The key to minimize radiated EMI is to identify the pulsing current path and minimize the area of the path. In Buck converters, the pulsing current path is from the VIN side of the input capacitors to HS switch, to the LS switch, and then return to the ground of the input capacitors, as shown in Figure 106.
High frequency ceramic bypass capacitors at the input side provide primary path for the high di/dt components of the pulsing current. Placing ceramic bypass capacitor(s) as close as possible to the VIN and PGND pins is the key to EMI reduction.
The SW pin connecting to the inductor should be as short as possible, and just wide enough to carry the load current without excessive heating. Short, thick traces or copper pours (shapes) should be used for high current conduction path to minimize parasitic resistance. The output capacitors should be place close to the VOUT end of the inductor and closely grounded to PGND pin and exposed PAD.
The bypass capacitors on VCC and BIAS pins should be placed as close as possible to the pins respectively and closely grounded to PGND and the exposed PAD.
It is recommended to use one of the middle layers as a solid ground plane. Ground plane provides shielding for sensitive circuits and traces. It also provides a quiet reference potential for the control circuitry. The AGND and PGND pins should be connected to the ground plane using vias right next to the bypass capacitors. PGND pins are connected to the source of the internal LS switch. They should be connected directly to the grounds of the input and output capacitors. The PGND net contains noise at the switching frequency and may bounce due to load variations. The PGND trace, as well as PVIN and SW traces, should be constrained to one side of the ground plane. The other side of the ground plane contains much less noise and should be used for sensitive routes.
It is recommended to provide adequate device heat sinking by utilizing the PAD of the IC as the primary thermal path. Use a minimum 4 by 4 array of 10 mil thermal vias to connect the PAD to the system ground plane for heat sinking. The vias should be evenly distributed under the PAD. Use as much copper as possible for system ground plane on the top and bottom layers for the best heat dissipation. It is recommended to use a four-layer board with the copper thickness, for the four layers, starting from the top one, 2 oz / 1 oz / 1 oz / 2 oz. Four layer boards with enough copper thickness and proper layout provides low current conduction impedance, proper shielding and lower thermal resistance.
The thermal characteristics of the LM43600-Q1 are specified using the parameter RθJA, which characterize the junction temperature of the silicon to the ambient temperature in a specific system. Although the value of RθJA is dependant on many variables, it still can be used to approximate the operating junction temperature of the device. To obtain an estimate of the device junction temperature, one may use the following relationship:
The maximum operating junction temperature of the LM43600-Q1 is 125°C. RθJA is highly related to PCB size and layout, as well as environmental factors such as heat sinking and air flow. Figure 107 shows measured results of RθJA with different copper area on a 2-layer board and a 4-layer board.
To reduce noise sensitivity of the output voltage feedback path, it is important to place the resistor divider and CFF close to the FB pin, rather than close to the load. The FB pin is the input to the error amplifier, so it is a high impedance node and very sensitive to noise. Placing the resistor divider and CFF closer to the FB pin reduces the trace length of FB signal and reduces noise coupling. The output node is a low impedance node, so the trace from VOUT to the resistor divider can be long if short path is not available.
If voltage accuracy at the load is important, make sure voltage sense is made at the load. Doing so will correct for voltage drops along the traces and provide the best output accuracy. The voltage sense trace from the load to the feedback resistor divider should be routed away from the SW node path, the inductor and VIN path to avoid contaminating the feedback signal with switch noise, while also minimizing the trace length. This is most important when high value resistors are used to set the output voltage. It is recommended to route the voltage sense trace on a different layer than the inductor, SW node and VIN path, such that there is a ground plane in between the feedback trace and inductor / SW node / VIN polygon. This provides further shielding for the voltage feedback path from switching noises.