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Primer on RF Design


Credit Hours:


Learning Objective:

After successfully completing this class, students will be able to
  • Describe and articulate the basic design principles of RF systems and modules.
  • Use common tools and techniques in the RF design space.


This is a one credit hour course, not three credit hours. Class duration: August 24 - September 25, 2020
This 1-credit-hour course covers the fundamentals of RF design. It is designed as a first course for students or engineers with limited background in high-frequency electronics. Engineers that need to understand the ???RF language??? and gain working knowledge of critical RF concepts will benefit from taking this course. Students in this class will learn the basic RF tools and design principles. By the end of this class students will be able to understand important RF concepts and how these are related to the design of practical RF blocks.

Topics Covered:

The course starts by introducing fundamental concepts of RF communication systems including the ultimate RF receiver and why our technology cannot still support it. Students are then introduced to basic design principles and tools including transmission lines, the Smith chart and the scattering parameters. Basic system-level design concepts such as noise, linearity, and interference that dictate system-level design approaches are also discussed qualitatively. The course concludes by introducing basic receiver architectures and relevant technology trends.


Basic undergraduate-level electromagnetics (ECE 31100 at Purdue with a grade of C or better) including fundamental concepts of RF waves and transmission lines (a comprehensive review will be provided in this class though).

Applied / Theory:


One homework assignment per week will be given.


A design project that will utilize the CAD tool will be required. The project will be assigned at the end of the second week and will be due at the end of the class.


The exam will be provided to you via Brightspace.


  • Michael Steer, Microwave and RF Design: A Systems Approach, 2nd edition, Scitech Publishing, 2013, ISBN-13: 978-1613530214
  • Class notes will be distributed through blackboard.

Computer Requirements:

Other Requirements:

In this class you will use Agilent???s Advanced Design System (ADS) to help you simulate simple RF circuits.

ProEd Minimum Requirements: