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8 Chapters
8 Chapters

As high-speed PCBs are more commonplace, high-performance design and manufacturing is quickly becoming the industry standard.

As a PCB designer, you need to know:

  • What nets require controlled impedance
  • How to avoid common mistakes when designing
  • What to specify in the fabrication drawing
  • How to design controlled impedance traces
  • How to get a stack-up from your manufacturer
  • If your manufacturer can meet your requirements




You will need controlled impedance for PCBs used in high-speed digital applications, such as RF communication, telecommunications, computing using signal frequencies above 100MHz high-speed signal processing, and high-quality video, such as DDR, HDMI, Gigabit Ethernet, etc.

At high-frequency, the signal traces on a PCB act like transmission lines, which have impedance at each point on the signal trace trajectory. If this impedance varies from one point to the next, there will be a signal reflection whose magnitude will depend on the difference between the two impedances.

In short—the larger the difference in impedance, the greater the reflection will be. In order to have an undistorted signal travel, it is essential that the PCB signal traces have a uniform controlled impedance to minimize signal distortions caused by reflections.




  • Layer height, signal trace width and thickness, and dielectric material guidelines
  • Stack-up design recommendations for controlled impedance
  • Common design mistakes to avoid for controlled impedance
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Sierra Circuits PCB Certifications & Registrations

Sierra Circuits holds IPC-6012, IPC-6013, IPC-6015, IPC-6018, and IPC-A-600 PCB certifications
Sierra Circuits is ISO 9001:2015 certified for Military and Aerospace PCBs
Sierra Circuits is ISO 13485:2016 certified for Medical Device PCBs
Sierra Circuits is ITAR Registered
Sierra Circuits holds MIL-PRF-55110 & MIL-PRF-31032 PCB certifications
Sierra Circuits is certified by the National Institute of Standards and Technology
Sierra Circuits is REACH Compliant for PCB certifications
Sierra Circuits is RoHS Compliant for PCB certifications
Sierra Circuits holds PCB certifications for Flex, Rigid-Flex, and Rigid PCBs by the Underwriters Laboratory



Sierra Circuits has been trusted by innovators as a go to resource for best in class circuit boards since 1986.

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Since 1986, Sierra Circuits has faithfully served more than 20,000 PCB designers and engineers with PCB design, manufacturing and assembly and High-Density Interconnect technology.

Sierra Circuits handles all aspects of PCB production. From PCB layout and design, to assembly and manufacturing—we provide our customers with unprecedented quality, reliability, and a single point of support.

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