227-0111-00L  Communication Electronics

SemesterSpring Semester 2020
LecturersQ. Huang
Periodicityyearly recurring course
Language of instructionEnglish


AbstractElectronics for communications systems, with emphasis on realization. Low noise amplifiers, modulators and demodulators, transmit amplifiers and oscillators are discussed in the context of wireless communications. Wireless receiver, transmitter and frequency synthesizer will be described. Importance of and trade offs among sensitivity, linearity and selectivity are discussed extensively.
ObjectiveFoundation course for understanding modern electronic circuits for communication applications. We learn how theoretical communications principles are reduced to practice using transistors, switches, inductors, capacitors and resistors. The harsh environment such communication electronics will be exposed to and the resulting requirements on the sensitivity, linearity and selectivity help explain the design trade offs encountered in every circuit block found in a modern transceiver.
ContentAccounting for more than two trillion dollars per year, communications is one of the most important drivers for advanced economies of our time. Wired networks have been a key enabler to the internet age and the proliferation of search engines, social networks and electronic commerce, whereas wireless communications, cellular networks in particular, have liberated people and increased productivity in developed and developing nations alike. Integrated circuits that make such communications devices light weight and affordable have played a key role in the proliferation of communications.
This course introduces our students to the key components that realize the tangible products in electronic form. We begin with an introduction to wireless communications, and describe the harsh environment in which a transceiver has to work reliably. In this context we highlight the importance of sensitivity or low noise, linearity, selectivity, power consumption and cost, that are all vital to a competitive device in such applications.
We shall review bipolar and MOS devices from a designer's prospectives, before discussing basic amplifier structures - common emitter/source, common base/gate configurations, their noise performance and linearity, impedance matching, and many other things one needs to know about a low noise amplifier.
We will discuss modulation, and the mixer that enables its implementation. Noise and linearity form an inseparable part of the discussion of its design, but we also introduce the concept of quadrature demodulator, image rejection, and the effects of mismatch on performance.
When mixers are used as a modulator the signals they receive are usually large and the natural linearity of transistors becomes insufficient. The concept of feedback will be introduced and its function as an improver of linearity studied in detail.
Amplifiers in the transmit path are necessary to boost the power level before the signal leaves an integrated circuit to drive an even more powerful amplifier (PA) off chip. Linearized pre-amplifiers will be studied as part of the transmitter.
A crucial part of a mobile transceiver terminal is the generation of local oscillator signals at the desired frequencies that are required for modulation and demodulation. Oscillators will be studied, starting from stability criteria of an electronic system, then leading to criteria for controlled instability or oscillation. Oscillator design will be discussed in detail, including that of crystal controlled oscillators which provide accurate time base.
An introduction to phase-locked loops will be made, illustrating how it links a variable frequency oscillator to a very stable fixed frequency crystal oscillator, and how phase detector, charge pump and programmable dividers all serve to realize an agile frequency synthesizer that is very stable in each frequency synthesized.
Lecture notesScript is available online under Link
Prerequisites / NoticeThe course Analog Integrated Circuits is recommended as preparation for this course.