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An Rf Integrated Circuit Design Course With State Of The Art Technology Support From Industry

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Forum for Nontraditional Engineering Programs

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.203.1 - 9.203.8



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Paper Authors

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Sanjay Raman

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

A Radio Frequency Integrated Circuit Design Course With State-of-the-Art Technology Support from Industry

Sanjay Raman, Adam S. Klein, Richard M. Svitek, Christopher Magnella†, Michael Clifford‡, and Eric C. Maass‡

The Bradley Dept. of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Virginia Tech 613 Whittemore Hall (Mail Code 0111), Blacksburg, Virginia, 24061, USA Email:

† Motorola Semiconductor Products Sector, Austin, TX ‡ Motorola Semiconductor Products Sector, Tempe, AZ

I. Introduction:

The dawn of the 21st century is witnessing a tremendous demand for wireless communications and information services, such as Personal Communications Services (PCS—3G, 4G and beyond), wireless data networks and Internet access, position location, navigation, roadway informatics, and wireless sensor networks. The necessity for low-cost and high-efficiency system implementations for these untethered communications capabilities has generated an explosion in the development of Radio Frequency Integrated Circuits (RFICs) [1]. These RFICs have generally been packaged together with VLSI digital signal processing (DSP) and microprocessor control chips on printed circuit boards (PCBs), or in advanced multichip modules (MCMs). However, on the immediate horizon are mixed-signal integrated circuits combining RF, analog, and digital functions on the same chip, rapidly approaching system-on-a-chip (SoC) implementations [2]. The development of such SoCs is motivated by lower packaging and handling costs, greater reliability, reduced size of the overall electronic system, reduced parasitic reactances, flexibility in impedance matching, and the ability to incorporate on-chip digital-domain filtering, frequency synthesis, etc.

Meanwhile, Silicon Germanium (SiGe) technology offers the unique ability to integrate both high-performance RF/microwave heterojunction bipolar transistors (HBTs) and high- speed/low-power complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) transistors in the same IC environment. On the other hand, tremendous advances in submicron “RF” CMOS technologies have made single-chip system integration in CMOS-only a practical reality. In either case, there is a tremendous incentive to utilize Si-based technologies vs. other “exotics” in order to leverage the extensive existing fabrication and design infrastructure, and the corresponding economies-of-scale, afforded by silicon.

However, in conjunction with these technological advances, there has been a lack of skilled RF/analog/mixed-mode chip design engineers available to U.S. industry who could contribute to the development of such wireless SoCs. Therefore, our universities must develop new electrical engineering curriculum in the area of RF/analog integrated circuit design for wireless communications applications. Such curriculum can be significantly enhanced with the integration of “hands-on” design experience using industry-standard computer-aided design (CAD) tools and state-of-the-art integrated circuit technologies.

Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright 2004, American Society for Engineering Education

Raman, S. (2004, June), An Rf Integrated Circuit Design Course With State Of The Art Technology Support From Industry Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--13885

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