The signal integrity characteristics of a Power Delivery Network (PDN) are becoming critical aspects of board level and semiconductor package designs due to higher operating frequencies, larger power demands, and the ever shrinking lower and upper voltage limits around low operating voltages. These power system challenges are coming from mainstream designs with operating frequencies of 300MHz or greater, modest ICs with power demand of 15 watts or more, and operating voltages below 3 volts.
The key physical characteristic determining equivalent series inductance (ESL) of a capacitor is the size of the current loop it creates. The smaller the current loop, the lower the ESL.
A standard surface mount MLCC is rectangular in shape with electrical terminations on its shorter sides. A Low Inductance Chip Capacitor (LICC) sometimes referred to as Reverse Geometry Capacitor (RGC) has its terminations on the longer sides of its rectangular shape.
The image on the right shows the termination differences between an MLCC and an LICC.
When the distance between terminations is reduced, the size of the current loop is reduced. Since the size of the current loop is the primary driver of inductance, an 0306 with a smaller current loop has significantly lower ESL then an 0603. The reduction in ESL varies by EIA size, however, ESL is typically reduced 60% or more with an LICC versus a standard MLCC.
AVX LICC products are available with a lead-free finish of plated Nickel/Tin.