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40 DESIGN007 MAGAZINE I MARCH 2018 AC/DC is not Just a Rock Band Beyond Design by Barry Olney, IN-CIRCUIT DESIGN PTY LTD / AUSTRALIA Positioned at our usual table, directly in front of the stage at the local pub in Melbourne, Australia one Friday night in 1972, the boys and I laughed as a school boy, guitarist Angus Young, set up equipment and tuned a guitar. We assumed he was just one of the roadies, and were gobsmacked when the band unex- pectedly fired up. High-voltage is not the word– more high-wattage, deafening–you could feel the sound as your ears distorted. The slick, gritty, blues-based lead riffs of the budding gui- tarist were insane. Little did we know that AC/ DC's raucous image, with wild solo riffs, would make them one of the world's top heavy-rock bands. We willingly endured this every Friday night for weeks on end. Fortunately, the venue was also a target-rich environment of eligible young ladies. In this month's column, I will discuss AC coupling (or is it DC blocking?) of high-speed serial links as my taste in music has matured over the years. SERDES (serializer/deserializer) serial links are used to provide high-speed, high-bandwidth data transmission over differential signals and minimize the number of I/O pins and intercon- nects. And although it saves the PCB designer routing numerous parallel traces, implement- ing high-speed serial links can be challeng- ing. Any small discontinuities in the physical geometries, along the transmission path, can significantly degrade the signal. This degrada- tion includes loss of amplitude, reduction of Figure 1: AC/DC fires up at an early gig (source: Kat Benzova).

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