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Active Microwave Circuits for Wireless Applications

In the era of software defined radios many people have access to the radio spectrum, and may even have an appreciation for the block diagram, but most do not understand the underlying technology. This course begins with a system perspective on radio design, considering overall performance metrics at the block diagram level. We then prototype a radio using pre-fabricated X-Microwave system blocks (pictured at left) which are sort of like Lego-blocks for RF and microwave designs. This allows students to rapidly prototype a working high performance radio, measure the performance of individual components, and then predict and validate the overall system performance.

Throughout the semester we will study and design the various components in the radio including amplifiers, mixers, and oscillators. Students will learn to characterize their own components and then replace the various X-Microwave blocks with their own circuitry to see how specific circuit-design decisions effect overall system performance.

At the conclusion of the course, student will:

1)    Develop a thorough understanding of active microwave circuit design beginning with system considerations which motivate circuit topology, transistor selection, bias, etc.

2)    Predict overall system performance based on individual component performance.

3)    Design with industry standard microwave design software.

4)    Characterize circuits and systems with industry standard microwave instruments including network analyzers, spectrum analyzers, and power meters.