This unique Master-level course offered by the Center for Wireless Technology Eindhoven (CWT/e) of the Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands, provides students with in-depth knowledge and hands-on experience on RF and mmWave circuit design.
The course covers the topics on how to derive the RF wireless systems specifications, and how to design the main building blocks of a transceiver, i.e., low noise amplifier, power amplifier, RF mixers, oscillators, and PLL frequency synthesizers. It is divided into two parts: (1) theoretical lectures will cover the basis of RF and mmWave Circuit Design; and (2) design labs will include simulation and implementation of these circuits.
The design labs are completely optional for obtaining the certificate, but they are recommended because they allow students to put into practice all the acquired theoretical knowledge, and of course, implementing the circuits is where all the fun is! The students will be able to do 70% of the design labs using simulation tools, which already offers a great learning experience. The other 30% will require students to either get access to an electronics lab or to purchase a few off-the-shelf components. But ultimately, this would allow students to design and build their own transceiver at home!
The course contains theoretical video classes with examples, quizzes, and an entire set of simulation files, step-by-step procedures, recorded data of real-life circuits, and solution videos so that students can learn from and build even better circuits.
Introduction to RF & mm-Wave Circuit Design Course
This module will introduce the student to the RF and mm-Wave Circuit Design course and to the topic of wireless systems. It will present the learning objectives, grading system, supporting material, introductory class, and design labs. Besides, it will show the student how to use the simulation tools and the equipment used in the design labs.
The module on Wireless Systems will introduce the student to the history of wireless technologies, wireless system design, and RF system specifications. Concepts about transceivers will be detailed, such as path loss, interference signals, receiver sensitivity, and transmitter output power. It also includes the first design lab, the system design of a Wireless Tin Can Telephone.
The Amplifiers module will introduce the student to the basic concepts of amplifiers, types of power gain, and the most used amplifier topologies. The student will also learn about low noise amplifier matching and power amplifiers classes. The second design lab will focus on designing LNAs and PAs.
The Mixers module will introduce the student to the working principle of RF mixers and their basic concepts. The difference between active and passive mixers will be explained, the advantages and drawbacks of balanced and unbalanced mixers will be detailed, and the mixer's noise performance highlighted. The third design lab will cover the design of up and down-conversion mixers.
The Oscillators module will introduce the student to the working principles of frequency oscillators and their basic concepts, like condition to sustain an oscillation. The student will learn about different topologies of oscillators, why and how to tune oscillators, and the impact of noise in the oscillator's signal. At last, the influence of output buffering and breakdown voltage on oscillators will also be explained. The fourth design lab will focus on designing a Voltage Controlled Oscillator (VCO).
The Synthesizers module will introduce the student to the working principles of frequency synthesizers and their basic concepts. The student will learn about the importance of using synthesizers in modern wireless communications, the Phase-Locked Loop types I and II, the advantages and drawbacks of using All-Digital PLL, and the impact of the PLL frequency synthesizer on the signal's noise performance. At last, the architecture and usage of fractional-N PLL frequency synthesizers will be detailed. The fifth and last design lab will contain the design of a frequency divider and a phase detector.