The app note featured here provides basic PCB layout tips for building switch-mode DC/DC converters. As an integral part of their function, switch mode converters have square like signals in some of their traces. These signals create harmonics from the switching frequency that can cause much EMI interference, as well as decreased stability of the converter. [via]
This note by Maxim helps eliminate these and some other issues that might arise form using switch-mode converters.
- Place and route the power components. Start placing switching transistors Q1 and Q2, inductor L, and input and output capacitors CIN and COUT. Arrange them so as to minimize the distances between them, in particular the ground connections of Q2, CIN and COUT, and the CIN and Q1 connection. Next, create top-layer shapes for the power ground, input, output, and LX nodes, and route them on the top layer using wide short traces.
- Place and route the low-level signal components. The controller IC should be placed close to the switching transistors. Low-level signal components are placed on the other side of the controller. High-impedance nodes are kept small and away from the LX node.
- Create an analog ground shape on a suitable layer and connect it to power ground at one point.
App note: Board layout tips for switchmode DC/DC converters - [Link]