Texas Tech University

Texas Tech Reengineers its Microwave Engineering Course to Make for a More Vivid and Hands-On Experience
AWR and NI tools illustrate complicated microwave theories with ease. The use of these tools within the classroom inspired students from the beginning of the semester through to the final project. They gained theoretical knowledge but also valuable hands-on experiences in design, fabrication, and characterization of microwave circuits. It was very exciting to see students enjoy this class and want to continue on with microwave engineering.
Dr. Changzhi Li
Assistant Professor - Dept. of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Texas Tech University

Texas Tech Reengineers its Microwave Engineering Course to Make for a More Vivid and Hands-On Experience

Customer Background

The Texas Tech Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering offers students opportunities for course work and research experience leading to masters and doctoral degrees in electrical engineering. The electrical and computer engineering building houses excellent laboratories, classrooms, and computer facilities for teaching and research. 

The Design Challenge

Microwave educators at Texas Tech University sought to inspire engineering students to choose microwave engineering over competing subjects such as computer programming and robot development and increase enrollment within the EE program. As a result of the interest and enthusiasm generated by a Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) tumor tracking research project and a National Science Foundation (NSF) wireless structural health monitoring sensor project, both led by Professor Changzhi Li in 2012, the challenge was to take the same hands-on experiences gained with that effort and integrate it into the more traditional and theoretical microwave engineering curriculum.

The Solution

A reengineered course in microwave solid-state circuit design was developed, for which AWR and parent company National Instruments partnered to provide the RF/microwave software and hardware, as well as tutorials and technical support. 

Course objectives were to become familiar with the fundamentals of design and testing of microwave/RF circuits, the analysis of microwave circuits on the module/board level, transmission lines, S-parameters, Smith charts, and device modeling, and to design, simulate, and measure microwave circuits using the popular NI/AWR Microwave Office® circuit design software and NI LabVIEW/PXI software/hardware measurement tools. The course attracted a record 43 senior and graduate students in 2012 and is slated to become a regular offering within the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

AWR’s Microwave Office greatly facilitated the instructor’s explanation of complex concepts such as impedance matching, Smith charts, and constant noise figure circles. Students were able to learn the theory and solve classical problems, as well as use modern RF/microwave tools to verify their analysis and optimize their design. Moreover, based on a series of homework exercises that combined theoretical analyses, designs using AWR tools, and lab experience with NI PXI/LabVIEW, students were able to design, build, and characterize state-of-the-art microwave circuits and systems in their final project.

To continue to read the full story, click to download the PDF document below...

Related customer stories

AWR software quickly and intuitively helps students to understand the correlation between real-world applications and the theories that they have learned in the classroom.
Dr. Elif Aydin
Associcate Professor
University of Atilim
Read story
Microwave & RF students complete graduate-level simulation tasks with time to spare, leaving them ample time to design, tune and optimize circuit performance.
Dr. Francesco Fornetti
MEng PhD
University of Bristol
Read story
We, the Nanoelectronics Research Group at the University of Alberta, have been using Microwave Office in our research. Thanks to your great support, the software has been very helpful to our cause. We have recently published an article in the IEEE Transactions on Nanotechnology entitled, “RF Linearity Potential of Carbon-Nanotube Transistors vs. MOSFETS,” based on our simulations in Microwave Office and further work is in progress.
Ahsan U. Alam
Graduate Student
University of Alberta
Read story