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Undergraduate Research Using The Finite Difference Time Domain Technique For Electromagnetics

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.1080.1 - 6.1080.9

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Paper Authors

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Raymond Luebbers

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R.A. Rodríguez-Solís

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José Colom-Ustáriz

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

Session 2793

Undergraduate Research Using the Finite Difference Time Domain Technique for Electromagnetics

José G. Colom Ustáriz, Rafael Rodríguez Solís

University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez


The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez offers five-year B. S. degrees in electrical and computer engineering. In addition, M.S. and M.E. degrees are offered in both programs. The Electrical Engineering program has a strong core from which the students receive a broad spectrum of the fundamental electrical engineering principles. The undergraduate curriculum requires the students to specialize in one of five options: Communications, Controls, Electronics, Power Systems, and the recently formed Applied Electromagnetics option. The Applied Electromagnetics area at the University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez includes undergraduate courses on antenna theory and design, microwave engineering, radio wave propagation, telecommunication electronics, and a capstone design experience. At the graduate level, courses on microwave remote sensing, advanced microwave circuit design and antenna design are offered. Due to the challenging nature of electromagnetic theory, it can be difficult to attract students to this particular area. In the authors’ experience, the most successful instrument to attract students is by providing them with undergraduate research opportunities. The Industrial Affiliates Program (IAP) of the ECE Department is one of the programs providing such opportunities. IAP is supported by 13 companies and it has been running continuously for the last 11 years, supporting over 300 undergraduate students. The students participating in the program usually register in Undergraduate Research (INEL 4998), which is a flexible course that can count for up to 3 credit hours a semester for a maximum of 6 credit hours during the student’s career. The size of the course is four students in average. The main advantage over a capstone design course is that the student has two semesters to complete the project under close supervision of the advisor. The students are also exposed to state of the art equipment that is usually reserved for research activities. The authors have used this program to offer research experiences in the electromagnetic areas to 22 students in nine different projects for the last three years. In seven of the nine projects the students used the Finite Difference Time Domain (FDTD) technique for electromagnetics to perform different microstrip structure simulations. The concepts behind this technique are simple enough for junior electrical engineering students to grasp. Remcom Inc1 has donated the XFDTD program, which has a graphical user interface for the visualization of the structures under study and the electromagnetic fields associated with it. In this paper, a two-semester undergraduate research course sequence using FDTD as the main tool for electromagnetic simulation is presented.

Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2001, American Society for Engineering Education Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education

Luebbers, R., & Rodríguez-Solís, R., & Colom-Ustáriz, J. (2001, June), Undergraduate Research Using The Finite Difference Time Domain Technique For Electromagnetics Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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