Glossary of PCB Design and Manufacturing Terminology

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300mm bumpingCopper pillar plating throughout a 300 mm wafer.


AMAROAMARO stands for Automated Microelectronics Analysis and Reporting Optimization.
AOIStands for automated optical inspection. It is a type of inspection used for identifying potential problems due to soldering performance in multiplayer PCBs that have components attached to them. The AOI tools capture images of the inner surfaces of the PCB to identify issues related to polarity, displacement, etc.
AQLAQL stands for Acceptance Quality Limit. This term refers to the maximum acceptable number of defective boards in a particular batch.
ASAStands for American Semiconductor Academy.
Advanced packagingNext generation of Packaging, similar to HDI for PCBs.
Annular ringThe conductive copper ring that surrounds a plated via. There should be an annular ring around vias on every layer where they are supposed to provide an electrical connection.
Anti-solder ballThe purpose of this technology is to reduce the amount of tin present in the stencil process. It involves creating a stencil on the board and making openings where the solder ball will be produced, allowing the tin paste to flow to these openings. This technology is typically used in SMT production lines.
Application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC)A custom-made integrated circuit that is designed to perform a particular set of functions. These devices require minimum programming and can be tailored to meet the exact requirement of the product.
Array This term refers to the combination of several copies of a PCB into a connected matrix of boards. An array can also mean a palletized, stepped-out, or panelized PCB. When boards are assembled using an array, the assembly process is completed much more quickly. The Array # Up refers to the number of PCB in the array.
Aspect ratioThe aspect ratio is the ratio between the thickness of a PCB and the diameter of its minimum drilled hole. It's recommended to have low aspect ratios in order to enhance plating quality and reduce failures related to hole quality and plating.
Assembly drawingA reference drawing outlining the requirements of a PCB in terms of assembly. Assembly drawings typically consist of components placement and fabrication technologies, parameters, and methods required to make it happen.


Ball grid array (BGA)A high-density, surface-mount packaging for integrated circuits. To make a connection, BGA uses small spheres of solder instead of wire pins.
Bill of materials (BOM)A list of all the parts and components needed to build a PCBA.
Blind via A type of via that ranges from the surface layer to an internal layer. These vias aren't present throughout the entire PCB stackup.
Build-up filmThe material used to add sequential layers to a particular design.
BumpingRefers to plating copper pillars on an advanced package or wafer.
Buried resistance boardA PCB in which resistors are buried inside, hence the name. This design is used to enhance the integrity of resistant components and to enhance the overall reliability and function of the PCB.
Buried viaA type of through-hole that connects the inner layers, but it is buried inside the PCB, so it isn't visible from the exterior of the board.


CADCAD stands for computer-aided design. CAD means a designer uses computer and pattern equipment to design and develop a PCB layout. It essentially produces a three-dimensional graphic of the design, such as the layout of a PCB.
CAECAE is an abbreviation for computer-assisted engineering. It refers to schematic software packages used for developing and visualizing PCB designs.
CAM filesCAM stands for computer-aided manufacturing. The files generated by CAM software are used for the manufacturing of a PCB. These files are typically sent to board and assembly houses for refinement and manufacturing. There are several types of CAM files, such as NC Drill files for NC Drill machines and Gerber files for photoplott
COBAbbreviation for chip-on-board. It is a type of bare chip SMT technology where integrated circuits are directly mounted to a PCB rather than packaging them first. COB is widely used in toys and gadgets that are produced in large quantities. On a PCB, COB can be identified by a black glob of plastic. The chip connects to the board through fine wires under the glob.
Carbon maskA type of conductive carbon paste that is made with resin and carbon toner. These masks are heat-cured and are applied to the surface of a pad.
Ceramic substrate printed boardA type of printed board that is created with a ceramic substrate, and other materials are bonded to it using alumina or aluminum nitride. The key features of ceramic substrate printed boards are their great insulation capabilities, adhesive strength, soft solderability, and thermal conductivity.
Characteristic impedanceThe impedance of a single-ended trace. It is measured between the trace and its ground
ChipletsRefers to a monolithic die that is cut into several smaller dies. This offers increased yield for rapid silicon customization. This process is also known as Die Disaggregation.
CircuitA conductive loop consisting of metal leads and other electronic components. Circuits can be divided into two main categories, AC circuits, and DC circuits.
Component holeA plated hole in a PCB created for a component. The purpose of these holes is to facilitate a component pin, termination, or wire by making an electrical connection.
Component placement A component is anything that we can solder on a PCB, such as a capacitor, connector, resistor, and integrated circuit. Component placement refers to the location of a component on the PCB, or it can also mean soldering components to a PCB.
Component sideThe side of a PCB that consists of components. The other side/opposite side consists of soldering points for components.
Component library/PCB library/libraryA PCB library consists of data for several components in a single file or multiple files. The data in component libraries is used by ECAD applications to place CAD objects in PCB layouts and schematic sheets.
Component lifecycleShows at which stage a component is in terms of production, such as in production, near the end of production life, or no longer produced.
ComponentsA component is anything that we can solder on a PCB, such as a capacitor, connector, resistor, and integrated circuit. In a CAD program, a component refers to an object, or it can also be a physical feature that isn't soldered on the board. Every component has a schematic symbol as well as a PCB footprint. Sometimes, a component also includes a 3D mechanical model and SPICE subcircuit.
Conformal coatingA transparent coating used on a PCBA that helps protect the board from abrasion, humidity, and corrosive substances.
ConnectorRefers to a transmitting component that connects multiple active components in an assembly. Connectors typically consist of a plug and receptacle that are easy to join and separate.
Coplanar routingAny routing in which copper pour surrounds the traces.
Copper weightIt helps determine the thickness of copper on each layer of a printed circuit board. The values of copper weight are usually 0.5 oz./sq. ft. or 1.0 oz./sq.ft. (equal to around 35-micron copper film thickness) but some boards can have very high values.
CoreA type of PCB laminate that is mostly used as the middle layer in the PCB stackup. The core layer can be uncured, pre-cured, or partially cured, depending on the requirements of the PCB fabrication.
Counterbored holeshese are cylindrical holes that are typically used with a fastener such that the fastener sits flush with the surface of the PCB.
Countersink holesThese cone-shaped holes are drilled into a circuit board, and they enable a countersunk screw to sit flush with the surface of the PCB.
CutoutA shape routed into a PCB so that empty space is created on the PCB.


DRCShort for Design Rule Check. DRC refers to a software verification of a PCB layout. It is usually used for PCB designs before the manufacturing of the PCB to check for any potential sources of error, such as smaller drill holes than required or traces not being placed correctly.
DTCOStands for Design/Technology Co-Optimization. It is a process that allows semiconductor fabs to minimize cost and time-to-market in process development.
Daughter boardAs the name suggests, this board is the "daughter" of a "mother" board. It consists of pins, connectors, plugs, and sockets. These boards are crucial for internal connections in electronic devices and computers.
Design for assembly (DFA)Refers to the practice of defining assembly constraints as design rules in the ECAD software application to ensure assembly is highly accurate.
Design for manufacturing (DFM)Refers to the process of designing a PCB to easily probe specific portions of the board with electrical testing and measurement equipment.
Design for testability (DFT)Refers to the process of designing a PCB to easily probe specific portions of the board with electrical testing and measurement equipment.
Dielectric constant (Dk or Df)It is a number that determines different aspects of electrical behavior in PCB laminates. The main part of the dielectric constant is the Dk value which describes the speed at which a signal travels along an interconnect. Df, also known as the loss tangent or dissipation factor, determines the amount of power that is lost as a signal travels along the interconnect. The Dk value for FR4 laminates ranges from 4 to 4.8, where are Df value is usually 0.02.
Differential impedanceThe impedance of a pair of traces/differential pair. It is measured between the two traces in the differential pair.
Differential pairRefers to two traces (pair) drawn side-by-side. The length, spacing, and width of both traces must be consistent throughout the routing path.
Double-sided pcbA type of PCB consisting of traces and pads on both sides instead of a single side.
Drill hitsAnother way to describe the number of holes drilled on a PCB or the location where holes will be drilled in a PCB design.
Dry film solder maskA type of solder mask film applied to a PCB to get a higher resolution mask with better line designs. This method is typically more costly compared to liquid solder masks.


ECAD softwareECAD is the acronym for "Electronic Computer-Aided Design." An ECAD application is essentially CAD software built for electrical design. Many of the tasks related to designing and drawing a PCB layout are carried out in ECAD software.
EMIBStands for Embedded Multi-die Interconnect Bridge. EMIB is a high-density MCP (multi?chip packages) technology that consists of fine pieces of silicon with multilayer interconnects.
Edge connectorA type of connector made for the Edge of a PCB. These connectors are usually used to facilitate an add-on card.
Edge platingA type of copper plating that connects the top to the bottom of a PCB surface, running along the edges of the board. This allows for edge soldering and connections.
Electromagnetic compatibility (EMC)Refers to the ability of an electrical device to operate in its electromagnetic boundary without interfering with other electronic devices. These devices limit the emission and propagation of EMI. A product that doesn't pass EMC testing can't be sold in Europe, North America, and many other countries worldwide.
Electromagnetic interference (EMI)The unwanted noise produced or received in an electrical system. There are two types of EMI: conducted and radiated. Both types of EMI can be generated by sources within the circuit board, and they can also be produced by external sources.
Electrostatic discharge (ESD)A conducting EMI that generates a strong current that travels through circuits and traces throughout the PCB layout. This current poses a danger for anyone using the device and can also damage the components of the PCB.
External layerStands for Face-to-Face Bumps. These are used to connect disaggregated dyes.


F2F µBumpsStands for Face-to-Face Bumps. These are used to connect disaggregated dyes.
FDIFoverous Die Interconnect. With this technology, the interconnect uses etched silicon, allowing for a higher number of interconnections.
FO-PLPStands for Fan-Out Panel Level Placement.
FO-WLPFan Out Wafer Level Packaging. An improved version of standard wafer-level packaging (WLP.)
FPGAStands for Field Programmable Gate Array. An integrated circuit that a designer can configure after manufacturing. FPGA allows for the development of custom logic for quick prototyping.
FR4 (or FR-4)FR4 (Flame Retardant level 4) is a NEMA (National Electrical Manufacturers Association) defined standard or rating for glass-reinforced epoxy laminate material. This term is also used for most used PCB substrate material.
Fabrication drawingA drawing that designers use to communicate a PCB design to workers and engineers. A fabrication drawing usually consists of an illustration of the board, notes related to the materials and methods used, locations of holes that need to be drilled, etc.
Fine pitchA technology for chip packages that consists of micro-spacing between leads, which is usually below 0.050 inches.
FingerThe metal pads that are placed along the edge of a board. These pads are mostly used when we need to connect two circuit boards with the purpose of increasing a computer's capacity.
First article A manufactured board is called a first article. Small batch production is carried out for these boards before mass production begins. This allows engineers and designers to analyze the board for any potential errors or performance issues.


GNDA common path or reference point in electric circuits where voltages are measured from.
Generic part numberA number given to a part that is manufactured by multiple companies. The same generic part number can be used by multiple manufacturers to denote the same component.
Generic componentA component that only exists in schematics. These components aren't real components that are produced by any manufacturer, and they don't have an MPN number.
Gerber fileA Gerber File consists of all the crucial information, such as copper amount, hole spacing, length and width of the track, component notations, etc., required to fabricate a PCB. A Gerber file looks just like an image of the particular PCB layer and its components.
Gold fingersThe connectors present on the edge of a PCB once the board is plated with gold. These fingers can be flat, hard, or smooth and are great conductors, supporting edge-to-edge connections.
GridA grid or electrical grid is an interconnected network that transmits power.
Ground planeA large layer of copper connected to the ground of the circuit.
Ground pour or copper pourA type of copper polygon that is used to cover or fill free space in a circuit board layer. It is then connected to the GDN net in the layout.


HDIStands for high-density interconnect. HDI is a technology for PCB fabrication. It involves the use of microvias (blind and buried vias) to produce PCBs that have high trace density.
HIStands for Heterogeneous Integration. HI means integrating components that are manufactured separately into a higher-level assembly.
Half-cut/castellated holesThe half-circle holes drilled on the edge of a PCB and then plated are called half-cut holes. These holes are mostly drilled for PCBs designed for microchip testing.
Heterogeneous packagingSilicon interposer, silicon chips, stacking silicon chips onto silicon interposer.
Hierarchical schematicsA way of designing a PCB using more than one schematics. It consists of a set of sub-level schematics that are connected together. The sub-level schematics appear as a set of components in a top-level schematic.
High density interconnect (HDI)A PCB that has lots of layers, usually ten or more, and very small trace widths (5 mil or less.) HDI PCBs sometimes use microvias to create connections between multiple layers.
Hole wall roughnessRefers to the irregularities that occur on the hole wall due to the drilling process.


I/OAbbreviation for input/output.
ICStands for an integrated circuit. An integrated circuit, also called a chip, microchip, or microcircuit, is an assembly of several tiny electronic components, such as diodes, resistors, capacitors, and transistors, that are fabricated as a single unit.
IPC Stands for Institute of Printed Circuits. IPC is a non-profit organization that deals with the design of PCB wiring. It aids enterprises in achieving higher business success by helping them meet rigorous manufacturing standards and improve overall quality standards.
IPC-2581 and ODB++These a file formats for generating fabrication stencils. The vendor-neutral file formats are considered Gerber files alternatives.
Impedance control or controlled impedanceThe process of applying a specific impedance to groups of traces on every layer. This is done during routing. A fabricator then uses a special test board to ensure that the trace design has the desired impedance.
InterconnectThe general term for the physical electrical connection made between components in a PCB layout. It includes all the components that help make an electrical connection in an electronic system, such as connectors, traces, planes, polygons, and cables.
Internal layerThe inner layers of a multi-layer PCB are called internal layers. These layers are usually signal layers.


JFACJoint Federated Assurance Center.


Kapton tapeKapton tape, also known as polyimide tape, is an electrically insulating tape that is heat resistant and inextensible.


LOAStands for Levels of Assurance.
LPIAbbreviation for Liquid Photo Imageable. An LPI is essentially a liquid solder mask sprayed on a PCB. LPI is a thinner, more accurate, and affordable solder mask compared to a dry film mask.
LaminateA laminate is created by combining several different materials using adhesive, heating, and welding methods. Laminate materials consist of multiple layers, and they have better stability and strength compared to the individual materials present in the laminate.
Land patternThe arrangement of pads used to attach a component to the circuit board. It also includes the physical outline of the component. The IPC-7351B standards (SMD components) and IPC-7251 standards (through-hole components) provide land patterns for several standard component packages.
Laser direct imagingLaser Direct Imaging is a technique that uses a highly focused, computerized laser beam, allowing for direct projection of the circuit path on the PCB. With Laser Direct Imaging, there aren't any issues of alignment and light refraction since it doesn't use a photo device to transfer images.
Laser photoplotterLaser Photoplotter, also known as a laser plotter, provides a finely lined raster image of the end product. It helps create a highly accurate plot.
Layer-to-layer spacingRefers to the distance between different layers of a PCB. The less the spacing, the more complex manufacturing is.
LayersA PCB can have several layers consisting of components and copper connections. The internal layers only consist of copper for making electrical connections. Layers in a PCB can be divided into two categories: plane layers and signal layers. The plane layers are entirely covered with a large copper region, whereas the signal layers typically have polygons and traces. A signal layer sometimes also consists of power nets and ground.
LegendA shorthand guide that helps mark the names and positions of the components. Legends make the assembly and maintenance processes easy.


Manufacturer part number (MPN)A unique code that is assigned to every component on PCB to identify a specific component. This number is assigned by the component manufacturer.
µBumpsSmaller copper pillars used in 2.5D and 3D integrated circuit packaging.
Metal base/core printed boardA type of PCB whose core material is made of metal instead of the standard FR4 material, resin, or plastic.
MicrostripA trace drawn on the surface layer of a PCB. Microstrips typically have a specific impedance.
MicroviaRefers to a small via that has less than 6 mil diameter and less than 2:1 aspect ratio. The purpose of a mircovia is to route signals between different layers in an HDI PCB.
MilA unit of measure equal to 1/1000th of an inch.
MotherboardThe motherboard consists of key components and interconnections that enable the basic functions of the device. It is the main board of a computer or an electric device.
Mounting holeMounting holes are unplated and non-conductive holes whose purpose is to secure a PCB in the device it is designed for.
MQAMicro Quantifiable Assurance. It is a measurable approach to protect the confidentiality and integrity of customized, advanced microelectronic components.
Multi-layer PCBA type of PCB consisting of a minimum of three conductive layers of trace and components.
Multi-part symbolA component in a schematic sheet that is represented using several schematic symbols. This is usually done for large components with a high pin count.
MultimeterA testing tool for measuring different electrical values like resistance, current, and voltage.


NC drillAnother and more common name for a Numeric Control drill machine. This machine is used to drill holes in printed circuit boards.
NISTNational Institute of Standards and Technology.
NPTHStands for Non-Plated Through Holes. The purpose of a non-plated through-hole is to provide structural support for the board or a component, and it doesn't have any electrical properties. With the increase of more PCB layers, the use of NPTH has decreased.
NSTCStands for National Semiconductor Technology Center.
Nail headingA phenomenon that occurs in the drilling of multilayer PWBs. The normal copper inner layers are drawn out or extruded by the drill, which forms a nail head-like shape on the hole wall.
Net classAn object in the PCB design application whose purpose is to allocate the same design rules to a group of nets.
NetlistA file consisting of information regarding all electrical connections in a schematic. Netlist is used by manufacturers to check errors in Gerber files and define electrical test requirements.
NetsDefines the connection between different components in a schematic sheet. This connection is equivalent to a physical electrical connection in a PCB layout.


OSATAn acronym for outsourced semiconductor assembly and test. OSAR refers to third-party IC packaging and test services.
OpenAnother term for "open circuit." Open refers to a break in the continuity of an electrical circuit, preventing current flow. This can prevent a PCB from functioning properly.
Organic packagePackage that is made from organic-based resins (FR4/Phenolic/Cyanate Ester.)


PCBPCB stands for Printed Circuit Board, which is made of a conductive material and several components. PCBs use electrical circuits that are printed or soldered on the board to function. PCBs are made in different shapes and sizes and are built for different purposes to suit any industry or application.
PCB base materialRefers to the material on which a PCB is built. This material usually consists of metal, resin ceramic, or other similar materials that have thermal and electric properties to facilitate the PCB's function.
PCB designRefers to the process of developing a PCB (printed circuit board.)
PCB panelA large panel where several copies of a PCB layout are arranged. A fabricator uses a PCB panel to create multiple copies of a board on a single pass through the fabrication process.
PCB assembly (PCBA)Stands for Printed Circuit Board Assembly, where components are soldered to boards by manufacturers.
PCB fabricationRefers to the first stage of the PCB manufacturing process. In this stage, all the layers of the bare printed circuit board are fabricated, and all the copper is etched on the board.
PCB footprintRefers to a CAD object consisting of the land pattern, package mechanical outline, and silkscreen outline. A PCB footprint defines the location of the component in a PCB layout.
PCB laminate or laminateThe insulating material used in building a PCB stackup. It essentially separates the copper layers.
PCB layoutA CAD drawing that shows the placement of all the components and parts on the assembled PCB. This also includes copper that will be used on both sides of the PCB.
PCB stackup or layer stackupThe arrangement of layers that make up a bare PCB.
PCBAThe term PCBA refers to a complete or fully assembled PCB. The term PCB assembly usually refers to the assembly process of the PCB, where the components are attached to the bare PCB.
PCBsAbbreviation for printed circuit boards.
PWBPWB stands for Printed Wiring Board. It is another name for a PCB.
PackagingThe mounting of a chip into an encapsulated package. This could involve placement on an interposer (made of organic resin, glass, or silicon).
Packaging fabricationRefers to the process of fabricating a package, including any substrate or interposer.
PadThe most basic composition units of a PCB assembly. A pad provides a connection for SMD components that can be soldered. These are placed into a land pattern in a PCB layout.
PanelA panel refers to several boards manufactured simultaneously in order to enhance efficiency during the manufacturing process. These panels are typically used as singular units once the manufacturing process is completed.
PanelizeThe process of grouping several PCBs into a panel with the purpose of improving manufacturing efficiency.
PartAnother word for a component, such as a capacitor, resistor, potentiometer, valve, radiator, etc.
Part numberAn identification code assigned to parts to differentiate them from each other. A part number also helps identify specific parts, which in turn helps identify problematic assembly batches and prevent incorrect product applications.
Passive componentA component with only inputs and outputs, such as capacitors, resistors, and diodes. These components don't require any external power source, and they only absorb and dissipate or store power/energy.
Peelable solder maskA solder mask or layer of solder mask that can be peeled from the board.
PhotoplotterA tool used in manufacturing that involves plotting objects to create artwork onto film.
PinA pin, also called a lead, refers to a terminal on a component.
PinoutThe order of pins on a real component as well as on a schematic symbol. The pinout on a schematic symbol isn't necessarily the same as the arrangement of pins on the corresponding real component.
PitchRefers to the distance between pin centers of SMDs.
Plated-through holeA plated through-hole (PTH) is plated with conductive copper. It is mostly used as a contact point for through-hole components and can also be used as a via.
PolygonRefers to a big copper region that helps create an electrical connection or copper connection that can carry a high current. A polygon is drawn on a circuit board layer, and it can be of any shape.
PortA symbol or object that is used to create a connection between two points in a schematic sheet without actually showing the net.
Power planeA flat plane layer of copper connected to power nets. Its purpose is to supply voltage to the PCB. There can be several sections of power planes to supply different voltages to different parts of the PCB.
PrepregThe main material used for manufacturing a multi-layer PCB. This material is made of resin and a strengthening material which is classified into paper base, glass-fiber, compound material, etc.
Press fit holesThe holes that allow a contact terminal to be pressed into a PCB.
Printed wiringThe process where a wire design for the PCB is produced by etching a design into the conductive metal on the board.
Printed circuit board (PCB or circuit board) Simply a board design without any actual parts or components.
PrintingThe phase of the PCB manufacturing process in which the circuit board is printed on the board.


RFStands for radio frequency. RF is an electromagnetic signal frequency ranging between megahertz and gigahertz, typically 300KHz and 300GHz.
Reference designator A code that helps identify each component in a PCB layout or schematic. It consists of both letters and numbers, such as R51 or J1. The letter prefix is usually associated with a particular type of component.
ReflowThe process where solder is melted with the purpose of creating a joint between a pad and a component pin.
Reflow solderingA process used to attach SMD components to a PCB. In reflow soldering, a solder paste is used to create solder joints by heating the paste.
Resin smearResin Smear is a thin layer of resin adhering to the inner copper layer in the hole wall. When the layer is measured after the cross-section, a resin smear is detected.
RoHSThe goal of the RoHS directive, or Restriction of Hazardous Substances directive, is to prevent environmental risks originating from electronic waste and hazardous substances used in electrical systems. Companies that want to sell products in Europe must follow RoHS standards.
Route/TrackThe layout of the wiring structure of a PCB, which helps with the proper functioning of the PCB. Routing refers to designing these wiring structures.
RoutingRefers to the process of creating connections in the PCB layout, such as drawing traces and polygons in the layout.


SHIPState-of-the-art Heterogeneous Integrated Package.
SIPSystem in Package. SIP refers to enclosing multiple integrated circuits in a single package.
SIPHAbbreviation for Silicon Photonics. SIPH uses photons to send information rather than copper traces.
SMTStands for surface mount technology. SMT is an assembly technology where SMDs are directly soldered to the surface of a PCB instead of passing components through thru-holes. When SMT is used, there is no need to drill holes in the board.
SMT entryRefers to the direction in which a trace can enter or exit a pad for an SMD component. A trace can form a connection at the corner, at an angle, or from the side.
SOCStands for System on Chip. SOC is essentially an IC that integrates the entire electronic system, including all the components, on it.
SOSStands for System on Substrate.
SOTAStands for State Of The Art.
SPICEAcronym for "Simulation Program with Integrated Circuit Emphasis." It is a simulation package for calculating the distribution of current and voltage in electric circuits by solving Ohm's law and Kirchhoff's laws
Spice subcircuitRefers to a SPICE simulation file that defines the input and output current and voltage from a component.
STS (silicon to systems) approachAn approach to creating sustainable and advanced packaging ecosystems in Europe and North America.
Schematic sheetsSchematic sheets are like circuit diagrams that show the connection between different components.
Schematic symbolRepresents a component that will be used on a PCB. It consists of a box and some electrical leads that help make electrical connections in schematics. These connections are later used as physical electrical connections on a PCB footprint.
SchematicsSchematics are like circuit diagrams that show the connection between different components
Selective soldering An alternative process to wave soldering for mounting through-hole components. This process is also used for components that aren't suitable for wave and reflow soldering or for components that get damaged due to high temperatures.
ShortThis is a "short circuit, " which is a connection with low resistance, resulting in excess current at the connecting point. This can cause serious problems in the PCB, including failure.
Signal integritySingal integrity means ensuring that when a digital or analog signal is sent from one component to another, it doesn't experience excessive distortion or noise.
SilkscreenThe marking and information printed on the solder mask are called silkscreen. It may consist of company logos, regulatory markings, reference designators, and part numbers.
Single-sided pcbA PCB design with traces and pads included on only one side of the board.
Single-ended traceA single trace that isn't a part of any differential pair. These traces carry a signal that is measured with respect to a ground plane.
SlotNon-round holes on a PCB that can be plated or unplated. These holes are used for specific components, but they are expensive to make.
Solder sideThe opposite of the component side and is mostly called the bottom side.
Solder fluxThe exposed conductors on a PCB are coated with solder flux in order to ensure there aren't any oxides. Solder flux is applied before soldering and facilitates wetting of molten solder on the conductor.
Solder maskThe solder mask helps cover the top layer of a PCB to ensure there isn't any corrosion or damage to the copper on the surface layer. The solder mask insulates traces to prevent shorts. Solder mask is available in several colors, but it is usually green.
Solder pasteA compound that consists of small metal solder particles immersed in a special solder flux material. As the name suggests, solder paste is like a paste or glue.
SpacingRefers to The distance between wires on a PCB.
StriplineA trace drawn or routed between two large copper polygons or copper planes. It is routed in an internal layer and usually have a defined impedance.
SubstrateA PCB base material, which is the main material for the fabrication of a printed circuit board. A substrate can be made of epoxy, metallic, or ceramic properties. The type of substrate to be used depends on the PCB application.
Supported holeEquivalent to a plated through-hole via; this is a via that has pads on both sides of the PCB. This type of via is plated from the inside and is conductive.
Surface finishA surface finish prevents the copper layer from oxidizing in natural environments. The main types of surface finishes include IMAG, HASL, ENIG, OSP, and others.
Surface layerIn a PCB stackup, the surface layer can be the top or bottom layer side.
Surface-mountThe components that are mounted directly to a pad on PCB's surface layer. These components are also known as surface-mount technology (SMT) or surface-mount devices (SMD).


TSVStands for Through Silicon Via. A type of via that passes completely through a silicon die.
TeardropA teardrop-shaped feature added at the junction of traces and vias or pads. It helps ensure the pad-via connection has a higher mechanical strength.
Tented viaA type of via whose pads and plated through-hole are covered with a dry film solder mask. The via is completely insulated by the solder mask, which protects the board from shorts.
Thermal relief A thermal relief can be located on a via that creates a connection between a copper plane and a pad. This term is used for the copper that is removed from the annular ring that makes a connection between the via and the plane. Thermal reliefs help create a string solder joint as they prevent excessive heat dissipation while soldering. The term 'Thermal relief' is sometimes used interchangeably with "thermal via."
Thermal vias This term is used for a via that is placed below a surface-mounted heat source component in a PCB. These vias can be connected to the GND plane in the PCB stackup so that heat can be transferred to an inner layer.
Through-holeThis term refers to drilled holes (from the top and all the way to the bottom) in the PCB stackup. These holes are present throughout the PCB and can be plated or non-plated (NPTH.) A plated through-hole (PTH) is plated with conductive copper. The purpose of a non-plated through-hole is to provide structural support for the board or a component, and it doesn't provide any electrical connection.
TraceA trace or track refers to the copper connection drawn between components in a PCB layout.
Trace lengthA trace, sometimes also called track, refers to the copper connection drawn between components in a PCB layout. The trace length refers to the total length of the copper connection.
Trace routingRouting refers to the process of creating connections in the PCB layout, such as drawing or placing traces and polygons in the layout.
Trace widthA trace, sometimes also called track, refers to the copper connection drawn between components in a PCB layout. The trace width is the width of the copper connection.


ULStands for Underwriter's Laboratories, Inc., a well-known organization that establishes safety standards and assesses products independently as per these standards.
Unsupported holeA type of hole that consists of a pad on the solder side, but there is no pad on the component side. These holes don't have any conductive layer inside.


V-ScoringAn unfinished cut through a panel. V-Scoring is used to break PCB panels into single units.
Vector photoplotterA method that uses light manipulation technology to draw plot lines. Also known as vector plotter or Gerber Photoplotter, vector photoplotter can help produce larger plots, but it is a very slow method compared to the advanced laser photoplotter method.
ViaA hole that spans between several layers of a PCB. It consists of copper plating in order to provide electrical connections between different layers of PCB. Different types of vias include microvias, buried, through-hole, and blind.
Via filled with resin/via pluggedRefers to a via that is filled with epoxy resin. It allows copper to be soldered to the surface of the resin without affecting the product.
Via aspect ratioThe aspect ratio of a via is calculated by dividing its length by its diameter.
Via in padA via in pad, also known as a thru-hole on the pad, acts as an electrical connection between layers. It helps fix the positions of muti-layer components.
Via tentingIn via tenting, a via hole is covered with a solder mask to ensure the molten solder doesn't wick onto the back layer of the PCB during assembly.
Via-in-pad plated-over (VIPPO) A via style in which a component pad consists of the via, and both the pad and the via are copper plated. An epoxy filler usually is used to fill these vias to ensure that the pad is reliably plated.


Wave solderingWave soldering is used to assemble through-hole components. In this process, the PCB is passed through a molten solder bath to ensure the components are soldered to the board. Wave soldering is mostly used for the production of PCBs in bulk.
WickingRefers to the plating that travels along the glass fiber insulation layer.

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