ECE 488

Microwave Engineering II: Active Circuit Design
Catalog Data: 

ECE 488 - Microwave Engineering II: Active Circuit Design

Description: Planar active microwave circuits, diode and transistor characteristics, mixers, amps, oscillators, and frequency multipliers. Students will design circuits with CAD tools, fabricate in clean room, and measure performance in the lab.

Grading: Regular grades are awarded for this course: A B C D E

Course Fee: $41

ECE 486

Steer, Michael. Microwave and RF Design: A System Approach. 2nd ed. (rev.). SciTech Publishing, 2013.

Suggested reading:

  • Gonzalez, Guillermo. Microwave Transistors: Analysis and Design. 2nd ed. Pearson, 1996.
  • Maas, Stephen. Nonlinear Microwave Circuits. Wiley-IEEE Press, 1996.
Course Learning Outcomes: 

By the end of this course the student will be able to:

  1. Understand various modulation schemes, the basics of wireless transmitters and receivers, and the basics of antennas and the wireless link
  2. Understand fundamentals of RF systems
  3. Design lumped element matching networks
  4. Design single- and double-stub matching networks for various loads
  5. Apply single- or double-stub matching network designs for circuits in microstrip form
  6. Create all active circuit designs in microstrip form
  7. Identify the diode equation, the small signal model and equivalent circuit
  8. Explain the role and operation of the depletion and diffusion capacitance
  9. Describe the operation of a Schottky barrier diode
  10. Explain how diodes can be used for RF/microwave signal detection and mixing
  11. Identify and design various types of microwave mixers, as well as parameters used for evaluating their performance
  12. Describe the characteristics of bipolar and FET microwave transistors
  13. Identify the small-signal electric models of microwave transistors
  14. Explain how to measure a transistor's s-parameters
  15. Apply signal flow graphs to evaluate scattering and other parameters of microwave circuits
  16. Identify the different power gain expressions of microwave amplifier circuits, and calculate from s-parameters
  17. Calculate the input and output VSWR of a microwave amplifier
  18. Determine the stability of an amplifier from the transistor, matching networks and terminations
  19. Explain when a two-port network is unilateral
  20. Outline the procedure for drawing the constant G-circles for unconditionally stable and potentially unstable cases
  21. Identify and evaluate the unilateral figure of merit
  22. Design a microwave amplifier for a specific operating power gain and stability
  23. Plot power gain circles for a two-port network
  24. Design a microwave amplifier for a specific power gain, input/output VSWR, and with good ac performance
  25. Design a DC bias network for a microwave amplifier
  26. Design various types of microwave amplifiers: low-noise, broadband, feedback and two-stage
  27. Distinguish between class A, B and C microwave amplifiers
  28. Evaluate the dynamic range of a microwave amplifier
  29. Describe the operation of one-port negative resistance oscillators
  30. Apply the Nyquist test to determine conditions of unstable operations of a given circuit
  31. Design a two-port negative resistor microwave oscillator
  32. Explain the operation of varactor frequency multiplier
  33. Determine which active microwave circuit to use depending on the application
  34. Identify potential limitations in the circuit fabrication process
  35. Explain how different fabrication steps can affect active circuit performance, and explain how each affects it
  36. Perform microwave measurements for the active circuit of the design
  37. Explain differences between simulated and measured data of active microwave
Course Topics: 
  • Introduction to modulation techniques
  • Digital modulation
  • Receivers, modulators and demodulators
  • Antennas
  • Radio link
  • Radio systems
  • Cellular radio: 1G-3G
  • Beyond 3G and radar
  • Matching networks
  • Microstrip matching networks
  • Microwave transistors
  • Scattering parameters and signal flow graphs
  • Power gain expressions and VSWR calculations
  • Stability considerations
  • Constant gain circles
  • Simultaneous conjugate match
  • Operating and available power gain circles
  • VSWR circles and DC bias networks
  • Noise in microwave systems
  • Constant noise figure circles
  • Design of low-noise amplifier
  • Amplifier designs: broad-band, high-power and two-stage
  • Oscillation conditions
Class/Laboratory Schedule: 

Two 75-minute lectures per week

Relationship to Student Outcomes: 

ECE 488 contributes directly to the following specific electrical and computer engineering student outcomes of the ECE department:

  • Ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science and engineering (high)
  • Ability to design and conduct experiments, as well as to analyze and interpret data (medium)
  • Ability to design a system, component or process to meet desired needs within realistic constraints, such as economic, environmental, social, political, ethical, health and safety, manufacturability and sustainability (low)
  • Ability to function on multidisciplinary teams (low)
  • Ability to identify, formulate and solve engineering problems (medium)
  • Ability to communicate effectively (medium)
  • Ability to use the techniques, skills and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice (high)
Prepared by: 
Hao Xin
Prepared Date: 

University of Arizona College of Engineering