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60 The PCB Design Magazine • July 2016 sign space, is essential to delivering on-time, on-budget, reliable electronic products. Also, power delivery and reliability are critical for product creation with today's modern, high- performance digital circuits. Unpredictable, inter- mittent circuit behavior can be avoided by iden- tifying power delivery issues early in the product creation process. The HyperLynx DC Drop power integrity analysis environment is easy to set up and use, giving simulation results without requir- ing weeks of software training. Power distribution problems can be identified early in the design, even prior to layout. IR drop issues (Figure 3) can be identified that would otherwise be difficult to spot in the lab, and solutions can be investigated in an easy-to-use "what-if" environment. Once the layout is complete, the results can be validat - ed to ensure that the appropriate guidelines were followed. This will ultimately reduce prototype spins and deliver the product to market faster, while creating more reliable products. One huge advantage the next generation has in their favor is the availability of informa- tion. I recall back in my day, we had to actually buy books and magazines to get technical in- formation. But now, it is just a matter of utter- ing "OK Google" and a wealth of information is available at our finger tips. Imagine how much we old guys would know now if we had had ac- cess to such powerful search engines during our academic years? The even younger Gen Z is the first generation that never experienced the pre- Internet world. To them, a magazine is just an iPad that doesn't work. Raised on high-technology, the next genera- tion of PCB designer—the independent engi- neer—is very computer savvy and more adapt to manipulating the application software to achieve the outcomes they need. Given the ever decreasing time-to-market constraints imposed today, these guys are well equipped to tackle a multi-disciplined environment that increases design process efficiency. The younger genera- tion has a lot to offer with new ideas and more efficient processes. Success is built on experi- ence, but with the latest EDA tools that can provide automated features that cover the lapse in experience, the independent engineer will be empowered to push the envelope of design integration and complexity to the next level. PCBDESIGN References 1. Softree: Empowering Engineers with Easy- to-Use Civil Design Software 2. Mentor Graphics PADS documentation 3. PADS software information: www.pads. com Barry Olney is managing director of In-Circuit Design Pty Ltd (ICD) Australia. The company is a PCB design service bureau that special- izes in board-level simulation. ICD has developed the ICD Stackup Planner and ICD PDN Planner soft- ware, which is available here. THE RISE OF THE INDEPENDENT ENGINEER Materials researchers at the Swiss Paul Scherrer In- stitute PSI in Villigen and the ETH Zurich have devel- oped a very simple and cost-effective procedure for significantly enhancing the performance of conven- tional Li-ion rechargeable batteries. When the battery is in use and thus discharging, the lithium ions pass back to the cathode but are forced to take many detours through the densely packed mass of graphite flakes, compromising battery performance. These detours are largely avoidable if the flakes are arranged vertically during the anode production pro - cess so that they are massed parallel to one another, pointing from the electrode plane in the direction of the cathode. Adapting a method already used in the production of synthetic composite materials, this alignment was achieved by André Studart and a team of research experts in the field of material nanostruc - turation at the ETH Zurich. The method involves coat- ing the graphite flakes with nanoparticles of iron oxide sensitive to a magnetic field and suspending them in ethanol. The suspended and already magnetized flakes are subsequently subjected to a magnetic field of 100 millitesla, about the strength of a fridge magnet. Rechargeable Batteries That Last Longer and Re-charge More Rapidly

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