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62 The PCB Design Magazine • September 2017 So, how do we put this all together? As I said, be prepared and think before you click. Make sure that your data is complete and ready, that you are communicating with the other relevant design team members, and that you have a complete understanding of what you want to accomplish. Then, don't allow yourself to get stuck by the small stuff. Force yourself to go work on another area or even go and take a break if you need to. Our brains can fool us sometimes by making a mountain out of a mole-hill and sometimes we just need to just push it aside in order to break the log-jam that is holding us up. And finally, don't be afraid to take a giant leap into the great unknown by do- ing something totally out of the box in order to stimulate your creativity. As long as your work is backed up, and you were prepared in the first place, take a chance and start some placement or routing that you normally wouldn't do at that point. It might just give you some insight into a new way of doing your design that will lead to a brilliant break-through. And don't be afraid to simply throw your experimental work away and start over again if you're still stuck. We've got tons of disc space these days for backups, and it is often much wiser to start over again instead of spending hours trying to figure out how to back out of a jam. After a lot of years of doing board design, I have come to the conclusion that a rigid de- sign process punctuated by occasional moments of throwing caution to the wind gives me the best results. I have found that this both stim- ulates creativity and gives the protection of staying within established guidelines. It is my opinion that this approach maximizes design efficiency and ultimately gives the best board design results. What do you think? PCBDESIGN Tim Haag is a consultant based in Portland, Oregon. TRUE DESIGN EFFICIENCY: THINK BEFORE YOU CLICK While more efficient, effective, and economical batteries are critical to the world's clean energy fu- ture, the path to bringing such technologies to mar- ket over the last 25 years is overwhelmingly littered with failure. A pair of Northwestern University researchers and a Northwestern-affiliated startup, however, are tout- ing a different way and have pulled inspiration from a seemingly unlikely place: the pharmaceutical world. In a recent paper published in MRS Energy & Sustainability, Vinayak Dravid, the Abraham Harris chaired professor of materials science and engineering at Northwestern's McCormick School of En- gineering, his graduate student Eve Han- son, and SiNode Systems co-founder and CEO Samir Mayekar propose an updated model of U.S. battery commercialization. The model is informed by pharma, an industry that faces many similar commer- cialization challenges yet, unlike energy, boasts a deep history of successful market debuts. As the head of Chicago-based SiNode Systems, Mayekar confronts the challenges of battery com- mercialization daily. The startup is commercializing a novel silicon anode technology based on research from the lab of Harold Kung, Walter P. Murphy Profes- sor of Chemical and Biological Engineering, but faces daunting technical and market hurdles. With more economical and energy- dense batteries holding the potential to solve contemporary energy challenges — such as balancing the intermittency prob- lems of renewables and making possible electric transportation fleets – the research- ers believe applying the pharma-inspired development pipeline to batteries can breed rich, transformative technologies. "We think this is a way for more bat- tery startups to succeed," Hanson said. Researchers Challenge Status Quo of Battery Commercialization

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