ECE 447 - Active Microwave Circuit Design

Semesters Offered

Official Description

Microwave circuit design of amplifiers, oscillators, and mixers. Course Information: 3 undergraduate hours. 3 graduate hours. Prerequisite: ECE 350 and ECE 453.

Subject Area

Electromagnetics, Optics and Remote Sensing

Course Director


Laboratory and lecture course on microwave circuit design of amplifiers, oscillators, and mixers.


Understand the problems and techniques in building a microwave amplifier in planar technology.

Detailed Description and Outline

Understand the problems and techniques in building a microwave amplifier in planar technology.

Computer Usage

The design in microstrip is aided by the use of EEsof's TOUCHSTONE which models microwave elements with second-order effects.

Topical Prerequisites

  • Electromagnetic wave propagation
  • High-frequency circuit design
  • Impedance matching
  • Stability


G. Gonzalez, Microwave Transistor Amplifiers, 2nd ed., Prentice-Hall.

ABET Category

Engineering Design: 2 credits or 100%

Course Goals

This course is an elected course for senior and graduate student electrical and computer engineering majors. The goals are to train the student on important topics in microwave circuit design, fabrication, and measurement that set the foundation for preparing an electrical engineering major to be a high-speed circuit designer.

Instructional Objectives

A. By the time of the Midterm Exam (after 10 lectures and 8 laboratory sessions), the students should be able to do the following:

1. Use Maxwell’s Equations to calculate transmission line voltage and current relations of E-field and H-field of quasi-TEM waves in microstrip transmission lines.(a,e,m,n)

2. Calculate the characteristic impedance, line impedance, and effective dielectric constant of a microstrip line as functions of width and height.(a,e,m,n)

3. Calculate the quality factor and attenuation due to conductor loss, dielectric loss, and radiation loss of a microstrip line. (a,e,m)

4. Use 2 and 3 above to design a 50-ohm, single and double stub impedance matching network to provide input and output impedance matching to a low-frequency bias transistor on a printed circuit board. (a, b, c, e)

5. Identify the physical origins of equivalent circuit modeling elements and use physical delay times to calculate current gain cutoff frequency (fT) and power gain cutoff frequency (fMAX) of microwave transistors. (a, b, e)

6. Calculate [S], [Y], and [Z] parameters for various bias configurations and know the equivalent transformations among these parameters. (a, b, c, e, k)

7. Perform time domain reflectometry measurement of discrete unknowns, microstrip unknowns and microstrip line terminated with 50 ohm (b, c, d, e)

8. Perform scattering parameter measurements to determine return loss, voltage standing wave ratio (VSWR) and transducer loss, and perform error correction using both SOLT and TRL calibration procedure. (b,c,e,k)

9. Use the analysis of 5 and knowledge of the measurement setups to identify parasitic effects and measurement issues of microwave transistors, and analyze their effect on equivalent circuit elements using measured S-parameters. (a,b,e,k)

10. Use Agilent advanced design system (ADS) software for microwave circuit design and optimization. (b,c,d,e,k)

11. Perform measurement of characteristic impedance and effective permittivity of quasi-TEM microstrip transmission line, measurement of amplifier board and modeling of board characteristics using Agilent ADS. (a,b,c,d,e,k)

B. By the time of the Final Exam (after 20 lectures and 16 laboratories), the students should be able to do all of the items listed under A, plus the following:

12. Perform design, modeling and fabrication of microwave bias networks using series resonant chip capacitors and quarter-wavelength bias stubs. (a,b,c,d,e,k)

13. Perform design and fabrication of an active feedback DC bias network. (a,b,c,d,e,k)

14. Perform [S] parameters measurement and characterization of microwave transistors using network analyzer, understand the stability criteria of transistor amplifiers, connect bias circuit and transistor amplifier. (a,b,c,d,e,k)

15. Perform measurement of unmatched transistor and comparison measurement results to small signal model. (a,b,c,d,e,k)

16. Perform matching network design, modeling, optimization and fabrication of both single and double stub tuners using Smith chart, verification of amplifier stability using ADS, and measurements of matched amplifier. (a,b,c,d,e,k)

17. Understand noise definition and perform noise figure and associated gain measurements. Perform low noise amplifier design. (a,b,c,d,e,k)

18. Perform design, simulation and layout, fabrication, and RF test 2 GHz low noise amplifiers. (a, b,c,d,e,k)

19. Understand and design RF test structure for calibration standard for parasitic de-embedding of equivalent circuit elements of 2 port devices. (a, b,c,d,e,k)

20. Understand harmonic response and gain compression of nonlinear amplifier characteristics. Perform power amplifier design. (a,b,c,d,e,k)

21. Understand principle of oscillation and perform oscillator design. (a,b,c,d,e,k)

22. Perform special project design with defined specs on low noise amplifier, power amplifier or voltage controlled oscillator. (a,b,c,d,e,g,k)

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