A Comprehensive Beginner's Guide to EMI Shielding

Have you ever turned on the radio and heard strange sounds instead of music? These are interference signals. Electromagnetic Interference—or EMI— is what occurs when too many signals are in the air at once and they begin to interact with each other. As wireless technology improves and more of us walk around with electronic gadgets, these signals become crowded. This can lead to interference and may decrease the quality of electronic devices, such as phones and radios. Oftentimes it’s unintentional, though that isn’t always the case. This EMI guide will explore means to create EMI shielding as well as its benefits.

What Is EMI Shielding

EMI shielding is the process that prevents the abundance of signals from interacting. The main component of this process is vacuum metalization. Essentially, metal is set into a gas chamber and vaporized. Then, atom by atom, it evenly coats whatever it is that you’re wishing to protect. Circuit board shielding protects our phones, so it’s extremely likely that the device in your hand had this protection incorporated into its final design.

Who Benefits from EMI Shielding

EMI shielding is not only essential for the items we use daily, but for military and medical equipment. Regarding military equipment, this is where the potential for intentional interference lies. While it’s not possible to intercept information in this manner, interruptions are still less than ideal. For example, a compromised GPS system can cause military personnel to go dangerously off the path. In order to prevent this, manufacturers may outfit the bodies of military vehicles with this shielding. This additional security is a necessity for military hardware.

It’s equally important to properly protect medical equipment. You may remember signs in hospitals that warn you against using cell phones. Though we may not have understood why at the time, it was extremely important to prevent the dangerous interference that our personal devices were causing. Thanks to EMI shielding, medical professionals need not worry as much about the potential risks that our cellphones cause. With this shielding in place, medical devices have a higher chance of working to their full capacity.

One last thing to consider in this EMI guide is the health effects that are linked to radiofrequency exposure. Cellphones cause concern since they’re almost always in close range to our person. As such, EMI shielding is welcome protection. This hidden barrier blocks some of those frequencies, protecting not only signals but our own general health.