Unbalanced currents in integrated circuits and their effect on TEM cell emissions

Kuifeng Hu*, Haixiao Weng, Daryl G. Beetner, David Pommerenke, James Drewniak

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Transverse ElectroMagnetic (TEM) cell measurements are often used to evaluate the potential of ICs to cause radiated emissions in printed circuit boards. These measurements are a function of the unbalanced current on package power pins, for example, where more current enters one side of an IC than another, and the displacement current caused by capacitive coupling from the power grid mesh to the septum of the TEM cell. The relationship between unbalanced currents and TEM cell measurements is derived in this paper. A distributed model of the on-die power delivery network is developed to show that unbalanced currents may be caused by an asymmetric power pin arrangement, by an imbalance in package impedance, or by an imbalance in the impedance of the on-die power delivery network. To validate results, the magnitude and phase of high-frequency power-pin currents were measured on a test chip. Experiments showed that results could be used to guide modifications to the chips connection to the printed circuit board power structure to minimize unbalanced currents and, thus, to minimize TEM cell measurements.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5749692
Pages (from-to)600-610
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE Transactions on Electromagnetic Compatibility
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Electromagnetic compatibility
  • electromagnetic inductive interference
  • electromagnetic interference (EMI)
  • interconnect power systems
  • packaging
  • transverse electromagnetic cell emissions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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