Fundamentals of Passive Component Behavior at High Frequencies

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  • Author: Gary Breed
Frequency-depen-dent behavior of passive compo-nents is one of the key concepts of RF, micro-wave, high-speed and all other types of high fre-quency design. An old saying among engineersgoes, “At high frequencies, all components are R, L and C.” As application frequencies increase further, we can add that all those components are also transmission lines and antennas! This tutorial is a review of the factors that combine to create the effects referred to in these descriptive phrases. We will not try to rigorously define all the relationships—there are excellent textbooks for that—but we will try to instill an overall understanding of the types and relative magnitude of major fre-quency-dependent behaviors. While this dis-cussion is limited to passive components, the general concepts certainly apply to active com-ponents as well, since their active regions are surrounded by the real-world environment that includes those “R, L, C, transmission line and antenna” elements.