ECE: Electrical & Computer Engineering
Accredited by ABET
Undergraduate Programs

ECE 4104 Microwave and RF Engineering

Fall 2016 textbook list

The Fall 2016 ECE textbook list is available online for students.

Current Prerequisites & Course Offering

For current prerequisites for a particular course, and to view course offerings for a particular semester, see the Virginia Tech Course Timetables.

Return to course list

ECE 4104 Microwave and RF Engineering (3C)

Passive and active RF and microwave components and circuits for wireless communications: transmission-line theory; planar transmission-lines and waveguides; S-parameters; resonators; power dividers and couplers; microwave filters; sources, detectors, and active devices; modern RF & microwave CAD; measurement techniques.

What is the reason for this course?

The applications for RF and microwave devices and circuits are growing at a high rate. One visible example nowadays is wireless communications. Other examples include Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS) TV, Local Multipoint Distribution Services (LMDS, e.g. wireless cable TV and internet), wireless local area computer networks (WLANs), and future satellite communications systems. In addition, as microprocessor clock speeds continue to increase towards the GHz range, electromagnetic and distributed effects are becoming increasingly important in the digital world as well. This course will provide students with a strong background in microwave and RF engineering enabling them to contribute to research and development for the emerging high speed and wireless information infrastructure. Students focused on the communication field or wanting to get involved in the design and applications of RF and microwave circuits and devices will need to take this course. Analysis and design techniques at these high frequencies are different from those followed at the lower frequencies as they involve the use of scattering parameters as well as distributed (rather than lumped) analysis approaches. The laboratory part of this course provides the students with the principles and hands-on experience of microwave and RF design, prototyping, and measurements. The experiments provide the student with fundamental procedures and experimental tools essential to design and testing of microwave systems. In this lab, students are introduced to basic experimental set ups for the measurement of microwave parameters. Students are to design modifications to these setups as needed for the experiment. Examples of the microwave parameters of interest include impedance, wavelength, power, standing-wave ratio, scattering parameters, and antenna radiation patterns. Alternate time-domain methods for coaxial measurements are also introduced. The students are to perform several basic design experiments. These design experiments include the design of matching and tuning stubs for microwave applications, as well as design, construction, and testing of planar geometry striplines, filters, power dividers, couplers, etc.

Capstone Technical Elective for EE; Technical Elective for CPE. Typically offered: Fall. Program Area: Electromagnetics.

Prerequisites: C- or better in 2014, 3106, 3204.

Why are these prerequisites or corequisites required?

This course assumes fundamental knowledge of electromagnetic field theory (electrostatics and electrodynamics) and transmission-line theory as gained from the ECPE 3105/3106 sequence. This course also assumes basic knowledge of semiconductor devices, electronic circuits, and network theory as gained from the ECPE 2204/3204 sequence.

Department Syllabus Information:

Major Measurable Learning Objectives:
  • Analyze transmission-line circuits at RF and microwave frequencies
  • Use the Smith chart for solving transmission-line problems
  • Design impedance matching in transmission-line networks
  • Perform transient analysis of transmission-line networks
  • Analyze EM transmission characteristics of planar-lines and waveguides
  • Design planar-line sections for RF and Microwave circuits
  • Perform Scattering parameter analysis of RF networks.
  • Design Planar-line filters, couplers, and power dividers.
  • Analyze RF and microwave networks containing passive distributed components
  • Perform a variety of microwave and RF measurements
  • Organize and write technical reports
  • Organize and make technical presentations

Course Topics
Topic Percentage
1. Transmission-line Theory 20%
2. Planar Transmission-lines 10%
3. Waveguides 10%
4. Matching Networks for Distributed Networks 5%
5. Microwave Network Analysis 15%
6. Resonators 5%
7. Power divders and couplers 10%
8. Microwave Filters 10%
9. Intro to sources, detectors, and active circuits 7%
10. RF & Microwave Measurement Techniques 8%

Return to course list