Skip to Main Content
Modern packaging design requires extensive signal integrity simulations in order to assess the electrical performance of the system. The feasibility of such simulations is granted only when accurate and efficient models are available for all system parts and components having a significant influence on the signals. Unfortunately, model derivation is still a challenging task, despite the extensive research that has been devoted to this topic. In fact, it is a common experience that modeling or simulation tasks sometimes fail, often without a clear understanding of the main reason. This paper presents the fundamental properties of causality, stability, and passivity that electrical interconnect models must satisfy in order to be physically consistent. All basic definitions are reviewed in time domain, Laplace domain, and frequency domain, and all significant interrelations between these properties are outlined. This background material is used to interpret several common situations where either model derivation or model use in a computer-aided design environment fails dramatically. We show that the root cause for these difficulties can always be traced back to the lack of stability, causality, or passivity in the data providing the structure characterization and/or in the model itself.