What PCB material do I need to use for RF? | EDN


Is plain old FR-4 (also known as “Glass Epoxy”) PCB material suitable for use in RF designs? This question comes up time and again. Many say no, fewer say yes – who’s right?
This article is from few years back, but still is valid. Besides RF applications you need to consider material with very fast digital signals.

There is another worth to check out article on RF PCB materials. San Francisco Circuits has published an article RF PCB – Radio Frequency Printed Circuit Boards that gives overview of radio frequency printed circuit boards (RF PCBs) manufacturing and materials. RF circuit boards are incredibly complex with a dizzying range of options. In general terms, the PCB industry considers an RF circuit board to be any high frequency PCB that operates above 100MHz.RF boards have a multitude of different applications, including wireless technologies, smart phones, sensors, robotics and security.Many RF applications are multi-layer affairs and the properties of the board can be fine-tuned by mixing and matching different materials to strengthen the balance of electrical performance, thermal properties and cost.

Besides selecting right materials, you need to design the board correctly. The Ultimate PCB Design Software Comparison Guide comapres the Top 5 PCB CAD Programs.The article is going to run through a step-by-step tutorial of the same design to show how each critical feature grades out in the top PCB programs available.


  1. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Mixed-Signal PCB Design: What Is It?

    If you’re here and reading this, the chances are you have some sort of concept or idea as to what mixed-signal design is. At the very least, you want to know what mixed-signal design is and why it’s so challenging to design printed circuit boards (PCBs) that span various types of circuit components.

    “A mixed-signal integrated circuit is any integrated circuit that has both analog circuits and digital circuits on a single semiconductor die. In real-life applications mixed-signal designs are everywhere, for example, a smart mobile phone.”

    Mixed-Signal PCB Design: What Makes It Hard(er)?

    What differentiates a mixed-signal printed circuit board design from a purely analog board or a purely digital system?

  2. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Check also my earlier posting on RF PCBs

    PCB material for RF

  3. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Dielectric constants

    These values of dielectric constants are for materials that are being manufactured, not for materials being used for constructing capacitors.


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