June 24, 2007
June 24, 2007
June 27, 2007
Electrical and Computer
12.435.1 - 12.435.8
Curriculum and Concept Module Development in RF Engineering Introduction
The increasing number of applications students see that require wireless and other tetherless network solutions has resulted in a resurgence in Radio Frequency (RF) engineering interest at the undergraduate level. Some of these applications include not only wireless networking using such protocols as WiFi, WiMAX, and ZigBee, but also such applications as wireless sensors and RFID as well as the familiar personal communications systems. In fact, the International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors (ITRS) shows that RF and “wireless applications may replace computers as the key driver in manufacturing”1 over the next 10 years. Electrical engineering departments can expect increased demand to provide well educated engineering professionals to address this increase in the need for RF and wireless engineers. As time goes on, there will also be the attendant increase in undergraduate student interest in the various RF disciplines.
Over the last several years, Villanova University, with the help of an NSF Combined Research and Curriculum Development grant, has developed a novel RF and Microwave Engineering track that introduces undergraduates to principles of this important technology. The curriculum path provides a look at the theoretical and design underpinnings and CAD tools used in a course that uses a number of design projects to reinforce the student’s understanding. This paper will focus on two major points that describe our approach that addresses the education of electrical engineers in this area of contemporary interest: • details of an undergraduate electrical engineering curriculum in RF circuit design that provides a smooth entry point either to a career path or future graduate work in this area; and • details of a development effort into the creation of an extensive integrated series of concept modules in RF circuit design that will be made available to the general academic community in support of curriculum development areas at other universities.
Undergraduate Curriculum Track in RF and Microwave Engineering
The overall curriculum track (Figure 1) begins with the required Engineering Electromagnetics course in the junior year. This course builds upon the static electromagnetics course the students take in the freshman/sophomore year and emphasizes dynamic electromagnetics and wave theory and follows a standard course plan for a one semester course with this focus. In keeping with the curriculum track concept, an introduction to on-chip passive structures (on-chip resistors, capacitors, inductors and transformers) is introduced during the relevant discussions on the electromagnetic origins of these elements (details of this introduction can be found elsewhere2).
Caverly, R. (2007, June), Curriculum And Concept Module Development In Rf Engineering Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2070
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