The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (one of the few organizations I am not averse to "belonging" to, given their practical, educational focus) is hosting an EMC Mini-Symposium at the Double Tree Hotel in San Jose, California.
I like attending these sorts of things when possible, and I am excited that this one is actually happening locally! Moreover, they have a discount for students and unemployed persons (I am currently still in the latter category) -- which I am fairly certain applies to non-IEEE members as well as members. Pricing goes up for all categories after August 31, so you probably want to register within the next week for maximum value.
I just registered this evening and am quite looking forward to the event. Of course it might be more difficult to go if I have a job by then, but either way, I figure it is good to keep in touch with the goings-on in one's industry even when one has been laid off.
The Grounding and Shielding in Mixed Signal PCBs presentation looks particularly interesting. It is described on the IEEE Santa Clara Valley website thusly:
Printed circuit boards with both digital and analog circuits are very common in today's highly integrated systems. Interference between the digital and analog portions of a board can be a significant problem if sufficient care is not taken to minimize unwanted coupling between circuits operating at voltages and currents differing by orders of magnitude. This presentation describes basic strategies for designing mixed-signal printed circuit boards that meet electromagnetic compatibility requirements without extensive shielding and filtering.
One really fascinating and important aspect of EMC is "self-compatibility". Not only do devices need to meet certain standards as far as not interfering with, or being vulnerable to interference from, other external devices, but in order to work properly in the first place they cannot have their own sub-circuits interfering with one another. Grounding and shielding are, in my experience, both deceptively simple-seeming and immensely sensitive aspects of design. As in, you have to pay very careful attention to your layer stackup, how your traces are routed with respect to ground and power planes, etc. This is the sort of thing it can be really, really important to get right from the beginning as changes to the design later on can get awfully clunky and expensive (not to mention less effective) if EMC-cognizance is lacking throughout the process.
...and okay, I will stop for now, but this is again making me want to try actually blogging about EMC on here, at least periodically. Perhaps I shall get some interesting material in the service of this at the symposium.