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Title:
GEOMETRICS FOR IMPROVING PERFORMANCE OF CONNECTOR FOOTPRINTS
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2014/105435
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
In accordance with the various embodiments disclosed herein, an improved electrical connector footprint, such as on printed circuit boards (PCB), is described. For example, antipads can have a variety of sizes and pairs of differential signal traces can define centerlines that are spaced apart from each other.

Inventors:
RENGARAJAN MADHUMITHA (US)
DE GEEST JAN (NL)
SMITH STEPHEN B (US)
SERCU STEFAAN H (NL)
Application Number:
PCT/US2013/074551
Publication Date:
July 03, 2014
Filing Date:
December 12, 2013
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
FCI ASIA PTE LTD (SG)
FCI AMERICAS TECHNOLOGY LLC (US)
International Classes:
H05K3/40
Foreign References:
US20050161254A12005-07-28
US20090056999A12009-03-05
US20060118332A12006-06-08
US20070294890A12007-12-27
US8248816B22012-08-21
Other References:
See also references of EP 2939507A4
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
GEIBEL, Dean (825 Old Trail RoadEtters, Pennsylvania, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
What is Claimed:

1. A printed circuit board comprising:

a first electrically conductive layer that includes a first electrically conductive region and a first antipad defined by the first electrically conductive region, the first antipad including a first dielectric region and a portion of a first electrically plated via that extends through the first dielectric region along a first direction, the first antipad having a first maximum area along a first plane that is normal to the first direction, wherein the first dielectric region is aligned with the first electrically conductive region along the first plane;

a first dielectric layer disposed below the first electrically conductive layer along the first direction;

a second electrically conductive layer disposed below the first dielectric layer along the first direction, the second electrically conductive layer including a second electrically conductive region and a second antipad defined by the second electrically conductive region, the second antipad having a second maximum area along a second plane that is normal to the first direction, the second maximum area less than the first maximum area; and

a third electrically conductive layer disposed below the second electrically conductive layer along the first direction such that no additional electrically conductive layer is disposed between the second electrically conductive layer and the third electrically conductive layer along the first direction, the third electrically conductive layer defining a third electrically conductive region and a third antipad, the third antipad having a third maximum area along a third plane that is normal to the first direction, the third maximum area substantially equal to the second maximum area,

wherein at least a portion of each of the second antipad and the third antipad is aligned with the portion of the first electrically plated via along the first direction.

2. The printed circuit board of claim 1, wherein the first antipad further includes a portion of a second electrically plated via that extends though the first dielectric region along the first direction,

wherein the second electrically conductive layer further includes a fourth antipad defined by the second electrically conductive region, the fourth antipad having a fourth maximum area along the second plane, the fourth maximum area substantially equal to the second maximum area, wherein the third electrically conductive layer further includes a fifth antipad defined by the third electrically conductive region, the fifth antipad having a fifth maximum area along the third plane, the fifth maximum area substantially equal to the third maximum area

3. The printed circuit board of claim 1, wherein each of the second antipad and the third antipad are at least partially defined by a single back drilled cavity that extends at least from the second antipad to the third antipad along the first direction.

4. The printed circuit hoard of claim 3, wherein each of the second electrically conductive region and the third electrically conductive region do not come into contact with the single back drilled cavity.

5. The printed circuit board of claim 3, wherein at least one of the second electrically conductive region and the third electrically conductive region comes into contact with the single back drilled cavity.

6. The printed circuit board of c!aim 3, wherein the single back drilled cavity is at least partially filled with a dielectric medium,

7. The printed circuit board of claim 1, further comprising:

an electrically conductive signal layer that includes one or more electrically conductive traces electrically coupled to the first electrically plated via, the electrically conductive signal layer disposed between the first electrically conductive layer and the second electrically conductive layer along the first direction.

8. The printed circuit board of c!airn 1 , further comprising;

a second dielectric layer disposed between the second electrically conductive layer and the third electrically conductive layer such that the second dielectric layer separates the second and third electrically conducti ve layers from each other and the second dielectric layer abuts each of the second and third electrically conductive layers.

9. The printed circuit board of claim 1. wherein the second and third maximum areas are circular.

10. The printed circuit board of claim 9, wherein the first maximum area is rectangular,

11. The printed circuit board of claim 1, wherein the first, second, and third electrically conductive layers are ground layers.

12. The printed circuit board of claim 1, wherein the first electrically plated via defines a cylinder defining a centerline that extends through respective centers of the second antipad and the third antipad along the first direction.

13. The printed circuit board of claim 2, wherein the second electrically plated via defines a cylinder defining a centerline that extends though respective centers of the fourth antipad and the fifth antipad along the first direction.

14. The printed circuit board of claim 3, wherein the first electrically plated via defines a cylinder defining a centerline that passes through a respective center of the single back drilled cavity along the first direction.

15. A printed circuit board comprising:

a first differential pair of electrical signal traces that defines a first centerline centrally disposed between the electrical signal traces of the first differential signal pair;

a second differential pair of electrical signal traces spaced from the first differential pair along a first direction, the second differentia! pair defining a second centerline centrally disposed between the electrical signal traces of the second differential signal pair; and

an electrically conductive layer disposed between the first differential signal pair and the second differential signal pair along the first direction, the electrically conductive layer including an electrically conductive region and first and second antipads that are defined by the electrically conductive region, the first and second antipads spaced from each other along a second direction that is perpendicular to the first direction, wherein each of the first and second differential pairs is disposed between the first and second antipads with respect to the second direction,

wherein the first centerline is disposed closer to the first antipad than the second antipad along the second direction, and the second centerline is disposed closer to the second antipad than the first antipad along the second direction.

16. The printed circuit board claim 16, wherein a portion of the first differential pair of electrical signal traces is aligned with a portion of the second differential pair of electrical signal traces along the first direction.

17. The printed circuit board of claim 15, wherein the electrical signal traces of the first differential pair of signal traces are spaced apart from each other a first distance along the second direction, wherein the first distance is substantially equal to a distance that the electrical signal traces of the second differential pair of signal traces are spaced apart from each other along the second direction.

18. The printed circuit board of claim 15, wherein a first dielectric layer is disposed between the first differential pair of signal traces and the electrically conductive layer along the first direction, and a second dielectric layer is disposed between the second differential pair of signal traces and the electrically conductive layer along the first direction.

19. The printed circuit board of claim 15, wherein the first centerline is disposed a first distance from the first antipad along the second direction, first distance being substantially equal to a second distance that the second centerline is disposed from the second antipad along the second direction.

20. A printed circuit board comprising:

a first electrically conductive layer that includes a first electrically conductive region and a first antipad defined by the first electrically conductive region, the first antipad including a first dielectric region and a portion of an electrically plated via that extends through the first dielectric region along a first direction;

a first dielectric layer disposed below the first electrically conductive layer along the first direction; and

a second electrically conductive layer disposed below the first dielectric layer along the first direction, the second electrically conductive layer including at least a portion of a back- drilled cavity that is aligned with the portion of the electrically plated via along the first direction,

wherein the back-drilled cavity is at least partially filled with a dielectric material other than air.

Description:
GEOMETRIC S FOR IMPROVING PERFORMANCE OF CONNECTOR FOOTPRINTS

BACKGROUND

[0001] Typical electrical connector footprints, such as on printed circuit boards (PCB), contain vias and antipads surrounding those vias. While conventional antipads surrounding vias are large in order to improve impedance of the PCB, the very presence of the antipads compromises the integrity of the ground plane and pennits cross talk to arise between differential pairs on different layers in the PCB.

SUMMARY

[0002] In accordance with one embodiment, a printed circuit board (PCB) can include a first electrically conductive layer that includes a first electrically conductive region and a first antipad defined by the first electrically conductive region. The first antipad can include a first dielectric region and a portion of a first electrically plated via that extends through the first dielectric region along a first direction. The first antipad can have a first maximum area along a first plane that is normal to the first direction, wherein the first dielectric region is aligned with the first electrically conductive region along the first plane. The PCB can further include a first dielectric layer that is disposed below the first electrically conductive layer along the first direction. The PCB can further include a second electrically conductive layer that is disposed below the first dielectric layer along the first direction. The second electrically conductive layer can include a second electrically conductive region and a second antipad defined by the second electrically conductive region. The second antipad can have a second maximum area along a second plane that is normal to the first direction. The second maximum area can be less than the first maximum area. The PCB can further include a third electrically conductive layer disposed below the second electrically conductive layer along the first direction such that no additional electrically conductive layer is disposed between the second electrically conductive layer and the third electrically conductive layer along the first direction. The third electrically conductive layer can define a third electrically conductive region and a third antipad. The third antipad can have a third maximum area along a third plane that is normal to the first direction. The third maximum area can be substantially equal to the second maximum area, wherein at least a portion of each of the second antipad and the third antipad is aligned with the portion of the first electrically plated via along the first direction. [0003] In accordance with another embodiment, a PCB can include a first differential pair of electrical signal traces that defines a first centerline centrally disposed between the electrical signal traces of the first differential signal pair. The PCB can further include a second differential pair of electrical signal traces spaced from the first differential pair along a first direction, the second differential pair defining a second centerline centrally disposed between the electrical signal traces of the second differential signal pair. The PCB can further include an electrically conductive layer disposed between the first differential signal pair and the second differential signal pair along the first direction. The electrically conductive layer can include an electrically conductive region and first and second antipads that are defined by the electrically conductive region. The first and second antipads can be spaced from each other along a second direction that is perpendicular to the first direction, wherein each of the first and second differential pairs can be disposed between the first and second antipads with respect to the second direction. The first centerline can be disposed closer to the first antipad than the second antipad along the second direction, and the second centerline can be disposed closer to the second antipad than the first antipad along the second direction.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0004] The foregoing summary, as well as the following detailed description of an example embodiment of the application, will be better understood when read in conjunction with the appended drawings. For the purposes of illustrating the present disclosure, there is shown in the drawings example embodiments. It should be understood, however, that the application is not limited to the precise arrangements and instrumentalities shown. In the drawings:

[§005 j Figs. 1A and IB are side sectional views of a segment of a printed circuit board in accordance with an example embodiment;

[1)006] Fig. 2A and 2B are side sectional views of a segment another printed circuit board in accordance with another example embodiment;

[0007] Figs. 3A and 3B are side sectional views of the segment of the printed circuit board shown in Figs. 1A and IB. wherein unused portions of vias have been removed;

[0008] Figs. 4 A and 4B are side sectional views of the segment of the printed circuit board shown in Figs. 2A and 2B, wherein un used portions of vias have been removed;

[0009] Fig. 5A is a top view of a printed circuit board in accordance with another embodiment; and |0010j Fig, 5B is a side sectional view of the printed circuit board illustrated in Fig. 5A.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF ILLUSTRATIVE EMBODIMENTS

[0011] Referring generally to Figs. 1 A-4B, a printed circuit board (PCB) can include one or more electrically conductive layers and one or more dielectric or electrically insulative layers. The electrically conductive layers can be configured as electrically conductive ground layers or electrically conductive signal layers. The electrically conductive ground layers can include a conductive region and an antipad defined by the conductive region.

[ΘΘ12] For convenience, the same or equivalent elements in the various embodiments illustrated in the drawings have been identified with the same reference numerals. Certain terminology is used in the following description for convenience only and is not limiting. The words "left," "right," "front," "rear," "upper," and "lower" designate directions in the drawings to which reference is made. The words "forward," "forwardly," "rearward," "inner," "inward," "inwardly." "outer," "outward," "outwardly," "upward," "upwardly," "downward," and

"downwardly" refer to directions toward and away from, respectively, the geometric center of the object referred to and designated parts thereof. The terminology intended to be non-limiting includes the above-listed words, derivatives thereof and words of similar import.

[0013] Referring initially to Figs. 1 A-2B, a PCB, for instance a PCB 100' shown in Figs. 1 A-B or a PCB 100" shown in Figs 2A-B, can include one or more electrically conductive layers 102. in accordance with the illustrated embodiments, the PCB 100' and the PCB 100" each include nine conductive layers 102a-i, although it will be understood that the PCB can include any number of conductive layers 102 as desired. The PCB 100' and the PCB 100" each define a top layer, for instance the electrically conductive layer 102a, which can also be referred to as the top layer 102a in accordance with illustrated embodiment. The PCB 100' and the PCB 100" each further define a bottom layer that is spaced from the top layer along a first or transverse direction T. In accordance with illustrated embodiments, the electrically conductive layer J 02i defines the bottom layer, and thus the electrically conductive layer can also be referred to as the bottom layer 1 2i. Each of the electrically conductive layers 102 define a thickness TH as measured along the transverse direction T. The printed circuit boards (PCBs) 100' and 100" can each include a top surface 122 that supports the electrically conductive layer 102a.

[0014] Various structures are described herein as extending vertically along the first or transverse direction "T" that is substantially perpendicular to a second or lateral direction "A" and a third or longitudinal direction "L", and horizontally along the lateral direction A and the

- .1 - longitudinal direction L that is substantially perpendicular to the lateral direction A. As illustrated, the transverse direction "T" extends along an upward/downward direction of the PCBs 100' and 100". For instance, a direction from the top layer 102a toward the bottom layer 1021 defines the downward direction, and a direction from the bottom layer 102i to the top layer 102a defines the upward direction. Thus, for instance, a first layer that is disposed in the upward direction from a second layer can be referred to as being above the second layer, and the second layer that is disposed in the downward direction from the first layer can be referred to as being below the first layer.

[0015] Thus, unless otherwise specified herein, the terms "lateral," "longitudinal" and "transverse" are used to describe the orthogonal directional components of various components. It should be appreciated that while the longitudinal and lateral directions are illustrated as extending along a horizontal plane, and that while the transverse direction is illustrated as extending along a vertical plane, the planes that encompass the various directions may differ during use, depending, for instance, on the orientation of the various components. Accordingly, the directional terms "vertical" and "horizontal" are used to describe the PCBs and its components as illustrated merely for the purposes of clarity and convenience, it being appreciated that these orientations may change during use.

[0016] The PCBs 100' and 100 " can further include one or more dielectric or electrically insulative layers 104, such as a plurality of dielectric layers or electrically insulative layers 104a-h, that are disposed between the conductive layers 102a-i along the transverse direction T. For instance, each dielectric layer 104 can be disposed between a select two conductive layers 102 to electrically isolate the select two conductive layers 102 from each other. Thus, the select two conductive layers 102 can be referred to as consecutive layers 102 because only one dielectric layer 104 is disposed between the consecutive layers 102 along the transverse direction T. A consecutive conductive layer 102 may be understood to be the next conductive layer 102 above or below a given conductive layer 102 along the transverse direction T. For instance, in accordance with the illustrated embodiment, conductive layers 102b and 102c can be referred to as consecutive conductive layers with respect to each other because only the dielectric layer 104b is disposed between the conductive layers 102b and 102c along the transverse direction T,

[0017] The conductive layers 102 can include electrically conductive ground layers

106, electrically conductive signal layers 108, and electrically conductive power layers. In accordance with the illustrated embodiments, the conductive layers 102a-b, 102d-e, and 102g~i are configured as electrically conductive ground layers 106a-g, respectively. Further, in accordance with the illustrated embodiments, the conductive layers 102c and 102f are configured as electrically conductive signal layers 108a-b, respectively, The signal layers 1 Q8a-b can each include one or more conductive regions, such as electrically conductive traces 134a-b, which can be made of copper or any other conductive material as desired. The conductive traces 134a~b can each be part of a differential pair of signal traces 136. The ground layers 106a~g can include one or more electrically conductive regions 107, which can be made of copper or any other electrically conductive material as desired. The dielectric layers 104a-g can include dielectric or electrically nonconductive material, for instance plastic.

[0018] It will be appreciated that while Figs. 1A-2B depict an example configuration of the PCB 100' and the PCB 100", the conductive layers 102 and the dielectric layers 104 can be arranged in a variety of sequences along the transverse direction T. Thus, the instant disclosure should not be limited to the example configuration shown in Figs. 1 A-2B.

[0019] Referring to Figs. 3A-2B, the PCB 100' and the PCB 100" can each further include a plurality of signal vias 1 10, such as adjacent electrically conductive vias 11 Oa-b, which can also be referred to as electrically plated vias I lOa-b. In accordance with the illustrated embodiments, the electrically plated vias 1 1 Oa-b include a respective hole 112a-b that defines a respective open end 114a-b. Further, in accordance with the illustrated embodiment, the vias 1 lOa-b can extend into, for instance through, two or more of the conductive layers 102 and the dielectric layers 304 along the transverse direction T. The vias 1 1 Oa-b can further include a conductive surface 1 16. Each hole 1 12a-b can be at least partially, for instance fully, plated with the conductive surface 1 16. Thus, the holes 1 12a-b and the conductive surface 1 16 can be collectively referred to as plated-through-holes 1 18a-b. The holes 1 12a-b can be configured to be at least partially, for instance fully, filled with a conductive metal. The holes 12a-b can receive an electrically conductive insert from another electronic device, such as a press fit connector for instance. In accordance with the illustrated embodiments, the vias 1 lOa-b can be electrically connected to electrically conductive surface pads, for instance a surface pad 120 that rests on the surface 322 of the PCB 300' and 300".

[0020] The vias 1 3 Oa-b are depicted in Figs. 1A-2B as being cylindrical, although it will be appreciated that the vias can define any shape as desired. In accordance with the illustrated embodiment, each hole 1 32a-b of the vias 1 1 Oa-b can defme respective cross-sectional dimensions G and G' along the lateral direction A or the longitudinal direction L. For instance, the holes 1 12a~b, and thus the vias 1 lOa-b, can be cylindrical and thus the respective cross- sectional dimensions G and G' can be diameters G and G' that extend in a plane that is normal to the transverse direction T. Thus, each of the cross-sectional dimensions G and G' can define a cross-sectional area of each via 1 lOa-b, respectiveiy.

[0021 J Still referring to Figs, 1A-2B, traces I34a-b of the signal layer 108 b are electrically coupled to the vias 1 lOa-b, respectively. Thus, the traces 134 in one or more of the signal layers 108 can be electrically coupled to one or more of the vias 110. in particular, the traces 134a-b can be electrically coupled to the plated-through-holes 118a-b, respectively, by contacting the conductive surfaces 1 16 of each of the plated-through-holes 1 18a-b so as to establish an electrical connection between the traces 134a-b and the vias 1 lOa-b. The vias 110a- b can be connected to differential traces 134a-b respectively, to establish a differential pair of signal traces.

[0022] With continuing reference to Figs. lA -23, one or more of the conductive layers 102 can each include one or more electrically conductive regions 107 and one or more antipads 124 that are defined by respective electrically conductive regions 107. In accordance with the illustrated embodiments, the conductive layers 102a- 1021 include conductive regions 107 and antipads 124a-r. Each of the antipads 124 can include a dielectric region 126 and a portion of a select electrically plated via 1 10 that extends through the dielectric region 126 along the transverse direction T. Thus, each of the antipads 124 can be referred to as an individual void in a respective conductive layer 102, Each antipad 124 can be surrounded by the conductive region 107 of each respective conductive layer 102. The antipads 124 may contain one or more of: a portion of one or more electrically conductive vias (such as vias 3 l a-b), air, or a dielectric or electrically insulative material. In an example embodiment, individual antipads 124 may surround one or more of the vias 1 10, such as vias 1 lOa-b, and separate respective conductive regions 107 from the one or more vias 1 Oa-b, thereby preventing the conductive regions 107 from contacting an electrically conductive via 1 10. In accordance with the illustrated embodiments, the conductive layers 102 can include conductive regions 107 and dielectric regions 126 that electrically separate the conductive regions 107 from the electrically plated vias 110. In the electrically conductive ground layer 1 06 for instance, the dielectric regions 126 can be disposed between the conductive regions 107 and the conductive surfaces 1 16 of the vias 1 10 along the lateral and longitudinal directions A and L such that the conductive regions 107 and the vias 1 10 are electrically separate. The an tipads 124 can each include a portion of the vias 1 10. For instance, the vias 1 10 can define a length along the transverse direction T, and the antipads 124 can each include a portion of the length of the vias 1 10 along the transverse direction T.

[0023] The antipads 124 can each have a eross-seetionai area along a respective plane that is normal to the transverse direction T. For instance, a select antipad 124 of a select conductive layer 102 can have a maximum cross-sectional area along a select plane that is normal to the transverse direction T. The maximum cross-sectional area can be defined by a select conductive region 107 of the select conductive layer 102, wherein the dielectric region 126 of the select antipad 124 is aligned with the select conductive region 107 along the select plane. Further, each anti pad 124 can have a maximum volume which can be defined by a product of the maximum area and the thickness TH of the respective conductive layer 102.

[0024] The antipads 124 may be formed in a variety of ways. For example, each of antipads 124a-i may be created by first forming conductive regions 07 of the respective conductive layers 1.02a-i and then removing sections of the conductive regions 107 to create the respective dielectric regions 126 through, for example, etching. As will be explained further below, select ones of the antipads 124 may also be formed by back drilling.

|§025] Referring still to Figs. 1A-2B, the PCB 100' includes antipads 124a-e that are above the antipads 124g-l along the transverse direction T, and the PCB 100" includes antipads 124a~f that are above the antipads 124rn~r along the transverse direction T. In accordance with the illustrated embodiments, the antipads 124a-e are depicted as being rectangular although it will be appreciated that the antipads 124a-e can assume a wide variety of shapes as desired. As illustrated, the antipads 124a-e can define a first cross-sectional dimension A defined by a longest straight line that extends from an edge of the conductive region 107 to an opposed edge of the conductive region 107 along the lateral direction A. Further, with particular reference to Figs, I B, 2B, 3B and 4B, the antipads 124a-e can define a second cross-sectional dimension B defined by a longest straight line that extends from an edge of the conductive region 107 to an opposed edge of the conductive region 107 along the longitudinal direction L. Thus, a maximum cross-sectionaS area, which can be referred to as a maximum area, of the antipads 124a-e al ong a respective plane that is normal to the transverse direction T can be substantially equal to a product of the first cross-sectional dimension A and the second cross-sectional dimension B. Further, the maximum cross-sectional area of the antipads 124a-e can be rectangular, and each of the antipads 124a-e can have a maximum volume that can be defined by a product of the respective maximum cross-sectional area and the thickness TH of the respective conductive layer 102. Select ones of the antipads 124, for instance the illustrated antipads 124a-e, can include portions of more than one via 1 10, for instance two vias 1 l Oa-b in accordance with the illustrated embodiments. Thus, the maximum cross-sectional areas of the antipads 124a-e along respective planes that are normal to the transverse direction T can be larger than maximum cross-sectional areas of the vias 1 l Oa-b along respective planes that are norma! to the transverse direction T,

_ η _ [0026] With particular reference to Figs. 1A-B, the PCB 100' can include conductive layers 102g-i that include the antipads 124g-l, For instance, in accordance with the illustrated embodiment, the conductive layer 102g includes the antipads 124g and 124] spaced from each other along the longitudinal direction !,, the conductive layer 102h includes the antipads 124h and 124k spaced from each other along the longitudinal direction L, and the conductive layer 102i includes the antipads 124i and 241 spaced from each other along the longitudinal direction L. It will be understood that the conductive layers 102 can include any number of antipads 124 as desired and the antipads 124 can be positioned on the respective conductive layers as desired. The antipads ί 24g-l are depicted as being cylindrical although it will be appreciated that the antipads 124g~{ can assume a wide variety of shapes as desired. As illustrated, the antipads 124g-i can define a cross-sectional dimension C defined by a longest straight line that extends from an edge of the conductive region 107 to an opposed edge of the conductive region 107 along the lateral direction A. The cross-sectional dimension C can be a diameter C, and thus the cross-sectional dimension C can also be defined by a longest straight line that extends from an edge of the conductive region 107 to an opposed edge of the conductive region along the longitudinal direction L. Similarly, as illustrated, the antipads 124j-l can define a cross-sectional dimension C defined by a longest straight line that extends from an edge of the conductive region 107 to an opposed edge of the conductive region 107 along the longitudinal direction L. The cross-sectional dimension C can be a cross-sectional diameter C, and thus the cross- sectional dimension C of the antipads 124j-l can also be defined by a longest straight line that extends from an edge of the conductive region 107 to an opposed edge of the conductive region along the lateral direction A.

[0027} With continuing reference to Figs. 1 A-B, the antipads 124g-i and 1 4J-1 can have maximum cross-sectional areas, which can be referred to as maximum area, along respective planes that are normal to the transverse direction T, and the maximum cross sectional areas of the antipads 124g-i and 124 j-1 can be defined by the cross-sectional dimensions, for instance cross-sectional diameters, C and C, respectively. In accordance with the illustrated embodiment, the maximum cross-sectional areas of each of the antipads 324g-l can be less than the maximum cross-sectional areas of each of the antipads 124a-e. Thus, the cross-sectional dimensions C and C of the antipads ! 24g~i and 124j-l, respectively, can be less than one or both of the cross-sectional dimensions A and B of the antipads 124a-e. Further, the maximum cross- sectional areas of each of the antipads (e.g., antipads 124g-l) below the signal layer 108 can be circular, or otherwise shaped differently than the antipads 124a-e that are disposed above the signal layer 1 8 along the transverse direction T. Each antipad 124g-l can have a maximum volume that can be defined by a product of the respective maximum cross-sectional area and the thickness TH of the respective conductive layer 102, Select ones of the antipads 124, for instance the illustrated antipads 124g-l, can include portions of only one via 1 10, For instance, in accordance with the illustrated embodiment, the antipads 124g-i include a portion of only the via 1 10a and the antipads 124j-l include a portion of only the via 1 10b. The antipads 124g-l can further include dielectric regions 126 that separate the vias 1 10 from the conductive regions 107 along respective planes that are normal to the transverse direction T. Thus, the maximum cross- sectional areas of the antipads 124g-l along respective planes that are normal to the transverse direction T can be larger than maximum cross-section areas of the vias 1 10a-b along respective planes that are normal to the transverse direction T. For instance, the maximum cross-sectional areas of the antipads f.24g~! can include dielectric regions 126 that electrically separate the conductive regions 107 from the electrically plated vias 110,

[0028] Thus, the PCB 100' can include a first electrically conductive layer, for instance a select one of the conductive layers 102a-e, thai includes a first conductive region, for instance the conductive region 07, and a first antipad, for instance a select one of the antipads 124a-e. The first antipad can include a first dielectric region, for instance the dielectric region 126, and a portion of a first electrically plated via, for instance the via 110a, that extends through the first dielectric region along the transverse direction T. The first antipad can have a first maximum area along a first plane that is normal to the transverse direction T, and the first dielectric region can be aligned with the first electrically conductive region along the first plane. The PCB 100' can further include a first dielectric layer, for instance a select one of the dielectric layers 104a-f, that is disposed below the first eiectrically conductive layer along the transverse direction T. The PCB 100' can further include a second electrically conductive layer, for instance a select one of the conductive layers 302g-i, that is disposed below the first dielectric layer along the transverse direction T. The second electrically conductive layer can include a second electrically conductive regio and a second antipad, for instance a select one of the antipads 124g-i, defined by the second electrically conductive region. The second antipad can have a second maximum area along a second plane that is normal to the transverse direction T, and the second maximum area can be less than the first maximum area.

[0029] Further, the PCB 100' can include a third electrically conductive layer, for instance a select one of the electrically conductive layers 102h and 1021, that is disposed below the second electrically conductive layer along the transverse direction T such that that no additional electrically conductive layer is disposed between the second electrically conductive layer and the third electrically conductive layer along the transverse direction T. The third electrically conductive layer can define a third electrically conductive region and a third antipad, for instance a selec t one of the antipads 124h and 124i, defined by the third electrical ly conductive region. The third antipad can have a third maximum area along a third plane that is normal to the transverse direction T, The third maximum area can be substantially equal to the second maximum area. As used herein, two or more values that are substantially equal to each other may refer to values that are within tolerances of a manufacturer. At least a portion of each of the second antipad and the third antipad can be aligned with the portion of the first electrically plated via along the transverse direction T.

[0030] The first antipad can further include a portion of a second electrically plated via, for instance the via 1 10b, that extends through the first dielectric region along the transverse direction T. Further, the second electrically conductive layer can include a fourth antipad, for instance a select one of the antipads 124j-l, that has a fourth maximum area along the second plane. The fourth maximum area can be substantially equal to the second maximum area. The third electrically conductive layer can further include a fifth antipad, for instance a select one of the antipads 124k and 1241, that is defined by the third electrically conductive region. The fifth antipad can have a maximum area along the third plane. The fifth maximum area can be substantially equal to the third maximum area.

[0031] The PCB 100' can further include a second dielectric layer disposed between the second electrically conductive layer and the third electrically conductive layer such that the second dielectric layer separates the second and third electrically conductive layers from each other and the second dielectric layer abuts each of the second and third electrically conductive layers.

[0032] Referring now to Figs. 2A-B, the PCB 100" can include conductive layers

102g-i that include the antipads 124m-r. For instance, in accordance with the illustrated embodiment, the conductive layer 102g includes the antipads 124m and 124p spaced from each other along the longitudinal direction L, the conductive layer 102h includes the antipads 124n and 124q spaced from each other along the longitudinal direction L, and the conductive layer

1021 includes the antipads 124o and 124r spaced from each other along the longitudinal direction

L. The antipads 124rn~r are depicted as being cylindrical although it will be appreciated that the antipads 124m-r can assume a wide variety of shapes as desired. As illustrated, the antipads

124m-o can define a cross-sectional dimension F defined by a longest straight line that extends from an edge of the conductive region 107 to an opposed edge of the conductive region 107 along the lateral direction A. The cross-section dimension F can be a diameter F, and thus the cross-sectional dimension F can also be defined by a longest straight line that extends from an edge of the conductive region 107 to an opposed edge of the conductive region along the longitudinal direction L. Similarly, as illustrated, the antipads 124p-r can define a cross- sectional dimension P defined by a longest straight line that extends from an edge of the conductive region 107 to an opposed edge of the conductive region 107 along the longitudinal direction L. The cross-sectional dimension F can be a cross-sectional diameter F\ and thus the cross-sectional dimension F' of the antipads 124p-r can also be defined by a longest straight line that extends from an edge of the conductive region 107 to an opposed edge of the conductive region along the lateral direction A.

[0033] With continuing reference to Figs. 2A-B, the antipads 124m-o and 124p-r can have maximum cross-sectional areas, which can be referred to as maximum areas, along respective planes that are normal to the transverse direction T, and the maximum cross-sectiona! areas of the antipads 124m-o and 124p-r ca be defined by the cross-sectional dimensions, for instance cross-sectional diameters, F and F', respectively. In accordance with the illustrated embodiment, the maximum cross-sectional areas of each of the antipads 124m-r can be less than the maximum cross-sectional areas of each of the antipads 124a-e. Further, the maximum cross- sectiona! areas of the antipads 124m-r below the signal layer 108 can be circular, or otherwise shaped differently than the antipads 124a-e that are disposed above the signal layer 108 along the transverse direction T. Thus, the cross-sectional dimensions F and F' of the antipads 124m-o and 124p-r, respectively, can be less than one or both of the cross-sectional dimensions A and B of the antipads 124a-e. in accordance with the illustrated embodiment, for instance before back drilling of the vias 1 10a-b, the cross-section dimensions F and F' can be substantially equal, for instance slightly larger, to the cross-sectional dimensions G and G', respectively. Thus, before back drilling for instance, the maximum cross-section areas of the antipads 124m-r along respective planes that are normal to the transverse direction T can be substantially equal to the maximum cross-section areas of the vias 1 lOa-b along respective planes that are normal to the transverse direction T. Before back drilling described below, the conductive regions 107 of the conductive layers 102g-i can be electrically coupled to the electrically conductive vias 1 10a~b, as illustrated.

[0034] In another example in which the antipads 124m-r have the cross-sectional dimensions F and F' that are slightly larger than the cross-sectional diameters G and G\ respectively, the conductive regions 107 of the conductive layers 102g-i are not electrically coupled to the electrically conductive vias 1 1 Oa-b. Thus, the maximum cross-section area of antipads 124m-r can include a dielectric or electrically insulative material, such as the dielectric region 126, that electrically separates the vias 1 lOa-b from the conductive regions 107 of the conductive layers i02g-i.

[0035] Referring to Figs, ί A-2B, the vias 1 lOa-b can include an unused portion 128, which can be referred to as a resonant stub. The unused portion 128 may be located above or below the signal layer 108 along the transverse direction T. In accordance with the illustrated embodiments, the unused portion 128 is disposed below the signal layers 108 along the transverse direction T. The unused portion 128 of the vias 1 lOa-b can be located below the signal layer 108b in the conductive layers 102g~i. The unused portion 128 of the vias 1 lOa-b can be disposed in a first group of conductive layers 102 having antipads 124 that are smaller than antipads in a second group of conductive layers 302. For example, the first group may include the consecutive conductive layers 102g-i that are disposed below the signal layer 108 along the transverse direction Ί , and the second group may include consecutive conductive layers 102a-e that are disposed above the signal layer 108 along the transverse direction T. The first group of conductive layers 102g~i may be disposed on a side of signal layer 108b opposite the second group of conductive layers 102a~e along the transverse direction T. For example, the first group of conductive layers 102g~i may be above or below the second group of conductive layers 102a-e along the transverse direction T. The antipads 124g-r of the first group of conductive layers 102 may be smaller than the antipads 124a-e contained in the second group.

[0036] The unused portion 128 of the vias 1 lOa-b can act as a notch filter centered around a frequency that is primarily determined by a length of the unused portion 128. The length of the unused portion 128 can be measured along the transverse direction T. The unused portion 128 can cause some of the energy of an electrical signal that is transitioning through the plated-throitgh-ho e 1 18 along the transverse direction T to be reflected back to the source. To mitigate this interference, the unused portions 128 of each respective via 1 l Oa-b can be removed. Referring to Figs. 3A-4B, the unused portion 128 can be removed using, for example, a circular drill bit with a diameter H attached to a drill.

[0037] Referring to Figs. 3A-4B, the drill may be used to back drill the PCB 100. For instance, the drill may be inserted along the upward direction to a depth such that most, for instance all, of the unused portion 128 of each respective via 1 lOa-b is removed. For example, when inserted along the upward direction, the drill may be stopped at a location below the signal layer 108. Referring to Figs. 2A-B and 4A-B, the drill may also remove a portion of each of the conductive regions 107 of the conductive layers 102g-i. Referring also to Figs. 1A-B and 3A-B, the drill may also remove a portion of each of the antipads 124g-l of the conductive layers 102g- [0038] Referring again to Figs. 3A-4B, the PCB 300' and the PCB 100" can include a single back drilled cavity 130 that can be created as result of the back drilling described above. The cavity 30 can have a circular cross section as viewed along the transverse direction. The circular cross section of the cavity 130 can define a diameter H that is substantially equal to the diameter H of the drill bit. During the back drilling process, a part of the unused portions 128 of each of the vias 1 lOa-b and portions of each of the conductive layers 102g-i may be removed, in order to avoid damaging the traces 134a-b in the signal layer 108b, a small section of the unused portion 128 may remain in the dielectric or electrically msulative layer 104f that is disposed between the conductive layers 102f and 102g along the transverse direction T. Referring to Figs. 2A and 4A, enough of the unused portion 128 may be removed such that the conductive regions 107 of the conductive layers 102g-i are not electrically connected to either of the vias 1 l Oa-b. After back drilling, in accordance with an example embodiment, at least a portion, for instance all, of the cavity 130 can be filled, for instance back-filled, with a dielectric material, for instance a dielectric material other than air. The cavity 130 can be filled with the same dielectric material that is included in the dielectric layers 104, such as a plastic or an epoxy for example.

[0039] In accordance with the illustrated embodiments, the cavity 130 can be located below the signal layer 108b along the downward direction that extends from the layer 102a toward the layer 1021. For example, the cavity 130 may extend between the dielectric or electrically insulative layer 304f and the conductive layer 102i along the transverse direction T, The cavity 330 any be consist of any dielectric or electrically insulative material, for instance air, as desired. For instance, after the cavity 130 is back-drilled, the cavity can be at least partially filled with a dielectric material other than air.

[0040] Thus, in accordance with the an example embodiment, a printed circuit board can include a first electrically conductive layer that includes a first electrically conductive region and a first antipad defined by the first electrically conductive region. The first antipad can include a first dielectric region and a portion of an electrically plated via that extends through the first dielectric region along a first direction. The first dielectric layer can be disposed below the first electrically conductive layer along the first direction. The printed circuit board can further include a second electrically conductive layer disposed belo the first dielectric layer along the first direction. T he second electrically conductive layer can include at least a portion of a back- driiled cavity that is aligned with the portion of the electrically plated via along the first direction. Further, the back-drilled cavity can be at least partially filled with a dielectric material other than air. [0041] With particular reference to Figs. 3A-B, after the unused portions 28 of the vias 110a~b are removed and the cavity 130 is created, in accordance with the illustrated embodiment, the cross-sectional dimensions C and C of the antipads 124g-l can be larger than the diameter H of the cavity 130, Thus, the size of the antipads 124g-l may remain unchanged after back drilling. Further, select conductive regions 107, for instance the second and third electrically conductive regions, of the conductive layers 102g-i do not come into contact with the single back drilled cavity 130 in accordance with the illustrated embodiment shown in Figs. 3A- B. After back drilling, each of the antipads 124g~l can include respective portions of the cavity 130, for instance instead of the vias 1 lOa-b. Referring to Figs. 3A-B, after back drilling, the antipads 124g-i can include respective portions of the dielectric region 126 and respective portions of the cavity 130. Stated another way, the diameter H of the drill bit used to remove the unused portion 128 may be smaller than the cross-sectional dimensions C and C of the antipads 124g-l. In an example embodiment, the cross-sectional dimensions C and C of the antipads I24g-1 may be predetermined to be slightly greater than the diameter H of the drill used to remove the unused portions 128. Thus, the second antipad, for instance a select one of the antipads 124g-r, and a third antipad, for instance a select one of the antipads 124h-i, 124k-l, 124n-o, and 124q-r, can be least partially defined by the single back drilled cavity 130 that extends at least from the second antipad to the third antipad along the transverse direction T.

[0042] Referring to Figs. 4A-B, the diameter H of the drill may be larger than the cross- section dimensions F and F' of the antipads 124m-r. Thus, when the unused portions 128 of v ias 1 I Qa-b are removed, the section of the conductive layers 102g-i and the dielectric layers lQ4f-h can be removed to create the cavity 130 having the diameter H. Due to back drilling the PCB 100 " , for instance, the antipads 124m-r can have the cross-sectional dimension H that is measured from opposed sides of the cavity 130 along a direction that is perpendicular to the transverse direction T, and antipads 124m-r can have the cross-section dimension H that is increased from the cross-section dimensions F and F'. Thus, the maximum area of the antipads 124m-r along respective planes that are normal to the transverse direction T can also be increased by back drilling the PCB 100". By removing the unused portion 128 and the section of conductive layers 102g-i, in particular sections of the conductive regions 107 of the conductive layers 102g~i, the conductive regions 107 of the conductive layers 102g-i are electrically separate from the vias 1 lOa-b. Further, select conductive regions 107, for instance the second and third electrically conductive regions, of the conductive layers 102g-i come into contact with the single back drilled cavity 130 in accordance with the illustrated embodiment shown in Figs. 4A-B. [0043] Referring to Figs. 3 A-B, a select two conductive regions, for instance the conductive regions 107 of the conductive layers 102g-i, do not come into contact with the single back drilled cavity 130. Alternatively, referring to Figs. 4A-B, another select two conductive regions, for instance the conductive regions 107 of conductive layers 102g~i of Fig. 4A, come into contact with the back drilled cavity 130.

[0044] Referring generally to Figs. 1 A-4B, the vias 11 Oa-b may be elongate along the transverse direction T and the vias 1 l Oa-b can be cylindrical, in accordance with the illustrated embodiments, the via 1 10a can be centered around a first center line 132a that extends along the transverse direction T, and the via 110b can be centered around a second centerline 132b that extends along the transverse direction T. For instance, the vias 11 Oa-b can define respective cylinders that define the centerlines 132a-b. In accordance with the illustrated embodiment, the centerline 132a can extend through respective centers of select antipads 124, for instance the second and the third antipads, and the centerline 132b can extend through respective centers of select antipads 124, for instance the fourth and the fifth antipads, along the transverse direction T, At least a portion, for instance all, of the antipads 124g-r can be aligned with the respective vias 1 10a~b such that the respective centerlines 132 pass through the antipads 124g-r along the transverse direction T. For instance, the antipads 124g-i and 124m-o can be aligned with the via 110a along the transverse direction T such the center line 132 passes through a respective center of the antipads 124g~i and 124m-o along the transverse direction T. Similarly, the antipads 124j- 1 and 124p-r can be aligned with the via 1 10b along the transverse direction T such that the center line 132b passes through a respective center of the antipads 124j-l and 124p-r along the transverse direction T. In accordance with the illustrated embodiments, when the unused portions 128 of the vias 1 l Oa-b are removed by back drilling, the drill bit may be inserted along the center lines 132a~b along the transverse direction, which can result in at least a portion, for instance all, of the cavities 130 being aligned with the vias 1 SOa-b along the transverse direction T, For instance, the cavity 130 can be aligned with the respective vias 1 lOa-b such that the respective center Sine 132a-b passes through a respective center of the cavity 130 along the transverse direction T.

[0045] Without being bound by theory, by minimizing the size of the antipads 124g-r, as depicted in Figs. 3A-4B, the amount of layer-to-layer cross talk can be reduced. Further, the layer-to-layer cross talk can be reduced by the antipads 124g-r assuming cylindrical shapes with circular cross-sectional areas along respective planes that are normal to the transverse direction T, while the antipads 124a-e can be rectangular shaped. [§046] Referring to Figs, 5A-B, a PCB 200 can include at least three planar conductive layers 202 such as electrically conductive layers 202a-c. In accordance with the illustrated embodiment, the planar conductive layers 202a-e can each define a thickness in the transverse direction T. The conductive layers 202a-c can be spaced from each other along the transverse direction T. For instance, in accordance with the illustrated embodiment, the conductive layer 202b is in between the conductive layers 202a and 202c along the transverse direction T, and the conductive layers 202a and 202c can be referred to as a top layer 202a and a bottom layer 202c, respectively. Because no other conductive layer is placed between the conductive layers 202a-c along the transverse direction T, the conductive layers 202a-c may also be referred to as consecutive conductive layers 202a-c. The conductive layer 202b can be configured as a ground layer 206b and the conductive layers 202a and 202c can be configured as signal layers 206a and 206c, respectively. Thus, the conductive layer 202b can include conductive regions 207 and one more antipads 210. The conductive layers can also be configured as power layers as desired.

[§047] The signal layers 206a and 206c can each include one or more conductive traces 208. In accordance with the illustrated embodiment, the signal layer 206a includes a first differential pair 208a of electrical signal traces, and the signal layer 206c includes a second differential pair 208b of electrical signal traces. Each of the differential pairs 208a-b of signal traces includes two conductive traces 208 that are elongate in the longitudinal direction L and spaced from each other along the lateral direction A. The conductive traces 208 can be made of copper or any other electrically conductive material as desired. The first differential pair 208a of electrical signal traces can define a first centerline 216a centrally disposed between the electrical signal traces 208 of the first differential signal pair 208a. The second differential pair 208b of electrical signal traces can define a second centerline 216b centrally disposed between the electrical signal traces 208 of the second differential signal pair 208b.

J 00481 The PCB 200 can further include one or more dielectric or electrically insulative layers 204, for instance dielectric layers 204a-b, that are located between the conductive layers 202a-c along the transverse direction T. In accordance with the illustrated embodiment, the dielectric layer 204a is located between the signal layer 206a and the ground layer 206b along the transverse direction T, and the dielectric layer 204b is located between the signal layer 206c and the ground layer 206b along the transverse direction T. The ground layer 206b may include the conductive region 207 that consists of conductive material such as copper. The dielectric layers 204a-b may include substrate material such as plastic,

[0049] The PCB 200, and in particular the electrically conductive layer 202b, may further include antipads 210 arranged in a first row Rl along the longitudinal direction L. The PCB 200 may further include antipads 210 arranged in a second row R2 along that longitudinal direction L. The first row Rl can be spaced from the second row R2 a second distance D2 along the lateral direction A. In accordance with the illustrated embodiment, the antipads 210 can defme a rectangular shape, although it will be understood that the antipads can be alternatively shaped as desired. The PCB 200 can further include ground vias 212 that are disposed between antipads 210 along the longitudinal direction L. For instance, in accordance with the illustrated embodiment, one ground via is disposed between each pair of adjacent antipads 210 along the row Rl and one ground via is disposed between each pair of adjacent antipads 210 along the row R2, although it will be understood that any number of ground vias can be alternatively located as desired. While not shown in Figs. 5A and 5B, the antipads 210 can include one or more signal vias.

[01)50] With continuing reference to Figs. 5A-B, the differential signal pair 208a can define an edge 214a that is proximate to the first row Rl along the lateral direction A. For instance, the edge 214a can be a third distance D3 from a select one of the antipads 210 in the first row Rl as measured in a straight line along the lateral direction A. The differential signal pair 208a can further define an edge 215a that is opposite the edge 214a and that is proximate to the second row R2 along the lateral direction A. The edge 215a that is opposite the edge 214a can be a fourth distance from a select one of the antipads 210 in the second row R2 as measured in a straight line along the lateral direction A. The edge 214a can be spaced from the opposed edge 215a a first distance Dla. The sum of the third distance D3, the first distance D l a, and the fourth distance D4 may equal the second distance D2.

[0Θ51] The differential signal pair 208b can define an edge 214b that is proximate to the first row Rl along the lateral direction A. For instance, the edge 214b can be a fifth distance D5 from a select one of the antipads 210 in the first row Rl as measured in a straight line along the lateral direction A. The differential signal pair 208b can further define an edge 215b that is opposite the edge 214b and that is proximate to the second row R2 aiong the lateral direction A. The edge 215b that is opposite the edge 2Mb can be a sixth distance D6 from a select one of the antipads 210 in the second row R2 as measured in a straight line along the lateral direction A. The edge 214b can be spaced from the opposed edge 2 5b a first distance Dl b that can be substantially equal to the first distance Dl a. Thus, the electrical signal traces 208 of the first differential pair 208a of signal traces can be spaced apart from each other a first distance Dla along the second or lateral direction A, wherein the first distance can be substantially equal to a distance that the electrical signal traces 208 in the second differential pair 208b of signal traces are spaced apart from each other in the lateral direction A. The sum of the fifth distance D5, the first distance Dlb, and the sixth distance D6 can equal the second distance D2.

[0052] In accordance with the illustrated embodiment, the third distance D3 may be substantially equal to the sixth distance D6. Thus, the PCB 200 can include the electrically conductive layer 202b disposed between the first differential signal pair 208a and the second differential signal pair 208b along the transverse direction T, and the electrically conductive layer 202b can further include the electrically conductive region 207 and one more antipads 210, for instance first and second antipads 210, that are defined by the electrically conductive region 207. For instance, the first antipad 210 can be disposed in the first row Rl and the second antipad 210 can be disposed in the second row R2. Thus, the first and second antipads 210 can be spaced from each other along the lateral direction A that is perpendicular to the transverse direction T. In accordance with the illustrated embodiment, each of the first and second differential pairs 208a and 208b can be disposed between the first and second antipads 210 with respect to the lateral direction A, Further, in accordance with the illustrated embodiment, the first centerline 216a can be disposed closer to the first antipad 210 than the second antipad 2 0 along the lateral direction A, and the second centerline 216b can disposed closer to the second antipad 210 than the first antipad 210 along the lateral direction A. Thus, the fourth distance D4 can be greater than the sixth distance D6. Further, the fifth distance D5 can be greater than the third distance D3,

[0053] With continuing reference to Figs. 5A-B, a portion of the first differential pair 208a of electrical signal traces can be aligned with a portion of the second differential pair 208b of electrical signal traces along the transverse direction T. For instance, the fourth distance D4 may be substantially equal to the fifth distance D5 such that a portion of the first differential pair 208 is aligned with a portion of the second differential pair 208b along the transverse direction T. Similarly, the third distance D3 can be substantially equal to the sixth distance D6 such that a portion of the first differential pair 208 is aligned with a portion of the second differential pair 208b along the transverse direction T. For instance, portions of the differential signal pairs 208a- b can aligned along the transverse direction T such that a distance between the edge 215a and the edge 214b is less than the first distances Dl a and Dlb,

[0054] The first centerline 216a can be disposed closer to the antipads 210 in the first row Rl than the antipads 210 in the second row R2, and the second centerline 216b can be disposed closer to the antipads 210 in the second row R2 than the antipads 230 in the first row

R2 by selecting appropriate values for the distances D3, D4, D5, and D6. For example, as depicted in Fig. 5B, the distance D3 is less than the distance D5 and the distance D4 is greater than the distance D6, which can result in the edges 214a and 214b being offset (spaced) from one another along the lateral direction A. While Fig. 5B depicts one example, it should be appreciated that a wide variety of values can be assigned to the distances D3, D4, D5, and D6 to result in the first centerline 216a being disposed closer to the first row Rl than the second row R2 along the lateral direction A, and the second centerline 216b being disposed closer to the second row R2 than the first row Rl along the lateral direction A,

[0055] Without being bound by theory, by spacing the centerlines 216a and 216b with respect to each other along the lateral direction A, it may be possible to reduce electromagnetic interference, such as cross talk, between the signal pairs 208a and 208b. This may be accomplished by preventing or reducing the alignment of the magnetic field of the signal pair 208a with the magnetic field of the signal pair 208b. Additionally, as magnetic fields are circular, the magnetic wave generated by, for example, the edge 214a would have to travel in a large circular path in order to reach the edge 215a. This may increase the electrical distance magnetic waves would have to travel, thus making those waves reaching the edge 215 weaker. Further, the larger the circular path becomes, the higher the likelihood magnetic waves impact another ground layer, which may be disposed below the signal pair 208a along the transverse direction T, and become absorbed. The above also applies to the magnetic waves from the signal pair 208b to the signal pair 208a

[0056] In accordance with one embodiment, a method can be provided for reducing layer-to-layer crosstalk. The method can include the step of providing or teaching the use of a PCB, such as either of PCB 100' or PCB 100" as described in connection with Figs. 1A-2B. The method may further include the teaching the step of back drilling, as described above in connection with Figs. 3A through 4B, the PCB along an upward direction so as to remove at least a portion of the electrically conductive material. The method may further include selling to the third party the printed circuit board.

[0057] In accordance with one embodiment, a method can be provided for reducing layer-to-layer crosstalk. The method can include the step of providing or teaching to a third parly the use of a PCB board comprising a first electrically conductive layer that includes a first electrically conductive region and a first antipad defined by the first electrically conductive region, the first antipad including a first dielectric region and a portion of a first electrically plated via that extends through the first dielectric region along a first direction, the first antipad having a first maximum area along a first plane that is normal to the first direction, wherein the first dielectric region is aligned with the first electrically conductive region along the first plane.

The method can further include the step of providing or teaching to a third party the use of the PCB board that further includes a second electrically conductive layer disposed below the first dielectric layer along the first direction, the second electrically conductive layer including a second electrically conductive region and a second antipad defined by the second electrically conductive region, the second antipad having a second maximum area along a second plane that is normal to the first direction, the second maximum area less than the first maximum area. The method may further include teaching the step to the third party of applying a first differential pair of electrical signal traces and a second differential pair of electrical signal traces to opposed sides of an electrically conductive ground layer, wherein the first differential pair of electrical signal traces is disposed closer to the first antipad than the second antipad along a second direction that is perpendicular to the first direction, wherein the second differential pair of electrical signal traces is disposed closer to the second antipad than the first antipad along the second direction, and wherein each of the first and second differential pairs is disposed between the first and second antipads. The method may also include selling the PCB board to the third party or purchasing the PCB board, which may include the first and the second differential pairs of signal traces, from the third party.

[0058] The embodiments described in connection with the illustrated embodiments have been presented by way of illustration, and the present invention is therefore not intended to be limited to the disclosed embodiments. Furthermore, the structure and features of each of the embodiments described above can be applied to the other embodiments described herein, unless otherwise indicated. Accordingly, the invention is intended to encompass all modifications and alternative arrangements included within the spirit and scope of the invention, for instance as set forth by the appended claims.