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THS3201 ceramic decoupling caps

Hi team,

When using the THS3201 in wideband, non-inverting configuration, is there any issue with using ceramic decoupling caps instead of tantalum? The example schematic in the datasheet shows tantalum caps and I want to verify that we won't run into issues if ceramic caps were used instead.

Thanks,

Fern

  • Hi Fern,

    This should be ok. In the past Tantalum capacitors were chosen because they are cheap and they are rated for higher voltage and capacitance values. But capacitor technology has come a long way. As a general rule of thumb it's better to use ceramics vs tantalum if possible. The main reason being that ceramic capacitors typically have lower ESR.

    UltraCAD wrote a good article diving into power supply decoupling and why ESR is important: http://www.ultracad.com/articles/esrbcap.pdf

    Another reason is that ceramics can be soldered at higher temperature. The plastic casing of tantalums limits the max available temp and with a push towards lead free solder, this could be a concern. There are also inherent differences in the way both capacitors are constructed which favor the ceramic architechure.

    There is a lot of material on the web that discusses the differences. Kemet wrote a good article (slightly skewed towards tantalum) highlighting the advantages and disadvantages: http://www.kemet.com/kemet/web/homepage/kfbk3.nsf/vaFeedbackFAQ/0F05C4C1F74A2D2485256F170052CD15/$file/2008-11%20Update%20-%20Ceramic%20versus%20Tantalum.pdf

    Hope this helps!

    Let us know if you have any other questions.

    Regards,
    Luke Lapointe
    High Speed Amplifiers

  • In reply to Luke LaPointe:

    Thanks Luke!

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