ECE 432 - Radio Frequency Integrated Devices and Circuits - Spring 2016


Professor John Long
Phone: 519-888-4567 x33133
Notes: I keep regular office hours specifically for this course. There is a tutor available to assist with questions, and assignments outside of lecture hours.

Course Description

An introduction to the theory and practice of radio frequency (RFIC) and high-speed integrated circuit design. Topics include: physics and modelling of passive components (R, L, and C), advanced MOSFETs, and heterojunction bipolar transistors (HBTs) on a silicon chip for RF/high-speed applications; properties of integrated devices at RF and performance metrics (e.g., noise, fT/fmax, quality factor); transistor-level design of circuits, including: amplifiers, frequency sources (e.g., VCOs, PLLs), and multipliers/mixers.

Primary Outcomes for this course include:

  • Students can analyze the main circuit blocks of a modern transceiver
  • Students can specify components, circuits and sub-systems for use in high-speed/RF circuits
  • Students can describe the behaviour of RF and high-speed systems in terms of sensitivity, dynamic range, etc.

Level: At least 4A Electrical or Computer Engineering

Prerequisites: ECE 106, 242, 331

Antirequisites: None

Details of this course syllabus are subject to change from year to year.

Notes and Textbook

  • B. Razavi, RF Microelectronics, 2nd edition, Prentice-Hall, 2011.
  • Course website on LEARN


Lectures (Section 001): Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, 10:30am – 11:20am, RCH 306

Tutorial (Section 001): Thursday, 16:30 – 17:20, RCH 206

Schedule of Lectures
Week Material (subject to change)
1-2 Overview of radio-frequency and high-speed integrated circuit (RFIC) design. Transceiver and sub-system specification for wireless and wireline communication links. Assignment #1: Communication transceiver link analysis.
3-4 Wideband, low-noise, and feedback amplifiers. Assignment #2: Wideband amplifier design
5-6 Silicon MOSFETs, SiGe-HBTs, and CMOS/BiCMOS technologies for RF and high-speed applications. Transistor characteristics, models and technology metrics for RF and high-speed design. Assignment #3: Device metrics and technology characterization in SPICE.
7-8 Digital logic for high-speed applications (gates, flip-flops, etc.). Application to data slicing and frequency scaling for communications. Assignment #4: High-speed logic design and interfacing.
9-11 Oscillators. On-chip inductor and voltage-controlled oscillator (VCO) design for communication transceivers. Introduction to phase-locked loops. Assignment #5: VCO design.
12 Multiplier and mixer stages. Quadrature up/downconversion.


Circuit (SPICE/ADS) simulation, Matlab, Maple, RF system design. Question and answer on material covered in lectures, specific help with assigned problems, and problem solving skills on the following topics:

  1. Communication transceiver link analysis
  2. Wideband amplifier design
  3. Device metrics and technology characterization in SPICE
  4. High-speed logic design and interfacing
  5. VCO design for a PLL synthesizer
  6. IC mixer design

There is no laboratory for this course.


Hand-ins: 5 for 30% total
Examination: 20% mid-term, 50% final

Notes and Policies

The following statements are a required part of every course outline.

  • Academic integrity: In order to maintain a culture of academic integrity, members of the University of Waterloo community are expected to promote honesty, trust, fairness, respect and responsibility.
  • Grievance: A student who believes that a decision affecting some aspect of his/her university life has been unfair or unreasonable may have grounds for initiating a grievance. Read Policy 70, Student Petitions and Grievances, Section 4. When in doubt please be certain to contact the department’s administrative assistant who will provide further assistance.
  • Discipline: A student is expected to know what constitutes academic integrity to avoid committing an academic offence, and to take responsibility for his/her actions. A student who is unsure whether an action constitutes an offence, or who needs help in learning how to avoid offences (e.g., plagiarism, cheating) or about “rules” for group work/collaboration should seek guidance from the course instructor, academic advisor, or the undergraduate Associate Dean. For information on categories of offences and types of penalties, students should refer to Policy 71, Student Discipline. For typical penalties check Guidelines for the Assessment of Penalties.
  • Appeals: A decision made or penalty imposed under Policy 70 (Student Petitions and Grievances) (other than a petition) or Policy 71 (Student Discipline) may be appealed if there is a ground. A student who believes he/she has a ground for an appeal should refer to Policy 72 (Student Appeals).
  • Note for students with disabilities: The AccessAbility Services, located in Needles Hall, Room 1132, collaborates with all academic departments to arrange appropriate accommodations for students with disabilities without compromising the academic integrity of the curriculum. If you require academic accommodations to lessen the impact of your disability, please register with the AccessAbility Services at the beginning of each academic term.