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Introducing Angular Plane Wave Spectrum Concepts and Applications in an Undergraduate Communications Course

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

Innovations in Electrical Engineering Courses

Tagged Division

Electrical and Computer

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.804.1 - 24.804.23



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Paper Authors


Ron J. Pieper University of Texas, Tyler

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Dr. Ron J. Pieper is currently an associate professor in the department of electrical engineering at the University of Texas, Tyler. He received his Ph.D. in electrical and computer engineering from the University of Iowa in 1984. He is a senior member of both the IEEE and the Optical Society of America. His research interests include optical engineering and solid state devices.

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Wudyalew T. Wondmagegn Frostburg State University

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Dr. is currently an assistant professor in the department of physics and engineering at Frostburg State University. He received his Ph.D. in electrical engineering from New Mexico State University in 2007. His research interests include thin film semiconductor devices (i.e. thin film transistors (TFTs), light-emitting diodes (LEDs), solar cells, FeRAMS, memristors, and engineering education. He is a member of IEEE.

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Introducing Angular Plane Wave Spectrum Concepts and Applications in an Undergraduate Communications CourseAbstract Without instructor intervention, the appreciation for the connectivity of ideas outside thenarrow niche of a particular class subject generally requires breadth and maturity in a student’sengineering and science background. Even at the culmination of a bachelor’s level electricalengineering degree, graduates would, not really have reached that level in most cases. This isno-doubt one of the best arguments for ABET’s requirement that graduates of an accreditedengineering program should be convinced their bachelor degree is an initial step in a life-longlearning process. A good example for unrealized potential for connectivity of ideas is the typical lack ofexposure for BSEE graduates to the wide range of applications for the Fourier Transformmethods outside those applications dealing with time domain signals. Certainly the electricalengineering subject of Communication Theory with a focus on time-domain AM and FM signalsfalls into that category. Our junior level students take a class in Electromagnetic Theory(EENG3303) prior to their senior level class in Communication Theory. Due to time limitations,inherent in a one semester system, students in the Electromagnetic class are not exposed to theFourier-based method for extracting the far-field angular plane wave spectra. This subjectwould however be typically covered in a graduate level class for Fourier Optics and/or graduatelevel class in Electromagetics. The students in the communication theory class had also taken ajunior level class in signals and systems (EENG 4311). This semester a pedagogical experiment was undertaken to test receptiveness of studentsin the senior level undergraduate class Communications Theory (EENG 4312) to cross-linkingof multidisciplinary areas. Undertaken was a non conventional review for Fourier Transformwithin a three lecture window. Introduced in this review were applications using the AngularPlane Wave method as applied to: optical diffraction for single and multiple slits, predictingantenna radiation patterns and predicting angular power spectra profiles for uniform andHamming Apodizations of sound-fields in acousto-optics. Thorough computer plotting it wasdemonstrated that the Hamming Apodization widened the spectral width for the main lobe andreduced the strength of the side lobes. Explained in the lecture sequence is how these changes inthe sound spectrum served to increase the electrical operating bandwidth for diffraction into the1st order for acoutsto-optic devices. A summary for this lecture sequence will be presented as well as statistical data tosupport conclusions on the advantages and problems as observed in the classroom environment.

Pieper, R. J., & Wondmagegn, W. T. (2014, June), Introducing Angular Plane Wave Spectrum Concepts and Applications in an Undergraduate Communications Course Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--20696

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