The "RF" in RF shielding stands for radio frequency. This type of shielding is intended to protect electronic devices from radio frequency electromagnetic radiation. If no shield is used, the magnetic waves may disable or disrupt the function of the device. Most mobile phones have RF shielding inside the body of the phone to protect the electrical components. This popular type of conductive enclosure is called a Faraday cage. A Faraday cage is not a solid shield like the ones used in other applications, but it reduces the electromagnetic waves enough to prevent damage.
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Types of RF Shielding
There are two types of electromagnetic interference that each cause different effects. The first type is known as "narrowband". Narrowband interference comes from transmissions like radio and TV stations or cell phone signals. The other type of interference is called "broadband". Broadband interference is caused from unintentional radiation created from things like electric power transmission lines.
Design of RF Shielding
Highly permeable magnetic alloys are used to create radio frequency shields, and these materials are usually built in an electronic enclosure around the device that they are protecting. RF shielding absorbs radio frequency interference so that the electromagnetic radiation does not pass on to the device inside. Each layer of the magnetic metals exponentially diminishes the force of the electromagnetic waves. Unless a Faraday cage is used to conduct electricity while shielding, a traditional shield encloses the device.
Purpose of RF Shielding
RF interference poses a problem for many different industries, so shielding solutions are an incredibly important part of keeping vital electronic devices functioning properly. That is why these products come in so many different forms. Sometimes this shielding can be applied in the form of a spray. This innovative acrylic based product can be sprayed onto plastic electronic housings. Nickel, silver and copper particles blended into the spray help to reduce or entirely eliminate interference.
RF shielding is an integral component of many different devices, including medical equipment. Medical facilities like hospitals and clinics make extensive use of RF shielding for sensitive electronic equipment, including MRI machines and X-ray machines. RF shielding must be used to prevent equipment from being interfered with by nearby devices like cell phones and also keeps these machines from interfering with these other devices. The FDA sets and regulates standards for the shielding of equipment to prevent malfunctions in critical medical situations where an equipment malfunction could be fatal to a patient.