Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Document Type



Due to the prevalence of unintentional electromagnetic interference (EMI) and the growth of intentional electromagnetic interference (IEMI) or high power microwave (HPM) sources, it is now more important than ever to understand how electronic systems are affected by high intensity radiated fields (HIRF) environments. Both historic events and experimental testing have demonstrated that HIRF environments are capable of disrupting and potentially damaging critical systems including but not limited to civil and military aircraft, industrial control systems (ICS), and internet of things (IoT) devices. However, there is limited understanding on the complex electromagnetic interactions that lead to such effects. This study provides unique insight into the backdoor coupling mechanisms associated with printed circuit boards (PCBs) as well as design techniques for reducing electromagnetic coupling in HIRF environments. Among existing literature, there is very little quantification of PCB coupling leading to multiple gaps in understanding. In this study, both PCB plane coupling and PCB trace coupling are explored under various conditions using 3D full-wave electromagnetic modeling and experimental testing. Data is provided for each individual technique as well as combinations of techniques which show greater immunity. Through this comprehensive study on PCB backdoor coupling, this work demonstrates that simple and explainable techniques can be incorporated into multi-layer PCB designs to mitigate coupling in HIRF environments. Additionally, variations in PCB layout as well as plane wave angle of incidence and polarization are explored to ensure that the conclusions are broadly applicable. It is expected that the information in this study as well as future work in this area will enable hardening design guidelines in order to reduce coupling and therefore better protect systems in such harsh electromagnetic environments.



Committee Chair

Choi, Jin-Woo