84442 - High Frequency Electronic Circuits M

Course Unit Page


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Quality education Affordable and clean energy Industry, innovation and infrastructure Sustainable cities

Academic Year 2022/2023

Learning outcomes

The course deals with the analysis and design of high frequency electronic circuits. Students learn how high frequency front-ends work, to state and evaluate the specifications of their main building blocks and to face the tradeoffs involved in their design.

Course contents

Basics: Review of radio transceiver architectures and their behavioural components. Implementing technologies. Linear and nonlinear elaboration with and without memory. Modulation and demodulation schemes. Overview of high-frequency circuit applications.

Small-signal Amplifiers: Scattering parameter and Smith Chart theory. Power Gain, Return Loss and VSWR. Impedance Matching. Design of Transistor Bias Networks (Field Effect and Bipolar Transistors). Design of lumped and distributed matching networks. Stability analysis of microwave amplifiers. Single-ended and balanced amplifiers. High frequency narrow- and wide-band amplifiers. Low-Noise Amplifiers.

Power Amplifiers: Harmonic and Intermodulation Distortion Analysis. Gain compression, Third-Order Intercept point, energetic efficiency, Power Added Efficiency. Other figures of merit (ACPR, EVM, NPR,..). Power Amplifier behavioral models (AM/AM and AM/PM characteristics). Source and Load Pulling. Design of power amplifiers in A, B, C, F class of operation. Elements of Efficiency and Linearity Enhancement Techniques (Envelope Tracking, Doherty Amplifiers, Digital Pre-Distortion).

Noise in Electron Devices: Main noise sources in Electron Devices. Noisy transistor models (FETs and Bipolar Devices). Experimental Characterization of the Noise Figure. Low-Frequency Noise (Flicker). Nonlinear conversion of flicker noise to radio-frequencies. High-Frequency circuit impairments due to noise. Sensitivity and dynamic range in LNAs. Phase Noise in oscillators.

Electron Devices for microwave and millimetre-wave applications: III-V Semiconductors. Schottky diodes, Hetero-structures, MESFETs, (P)HEMTs, HBTs. Classification of electron device models. Empirical models implemented into CAD tools. Model parameter identification.


- G. Gonzales, Microwave Transistor Amplifiers, Artech House

- R. S. Carson, Radio communications concepts: Analog, J.Wiley&Sons

- B. Razavi, RF Microelectronics, Prentice Hall

- S. Cripps, RF Power Amplifiers for Wireless Communications, Artech House

Teaching methods

Lecturers and Laboratory. Laboratory exercises will be carried out by using commercial CAD tools for the design of microwave and mm-wave circuits and they will be held either in the Laboratory of Electronic Design and Measurement for RF and Industrial Applications (EDM-Lab, http://www.dei.unibo.it/en/research/research-facilities/Labs/edm-lab) at DEI or on personal laptops after installing complimentary temporary licenses. The exercises will consist in circuit analysis and design examples with CAD tools. 

Assessment methods

The exam consists in two parts: 1. Theory and 2. CAD. The theory part of the exam consists in an oral interview. This is aimed at evaluating: 1. student's knowledge of subjects included in the course program; 2. how deep the student is able to develop the subjects; 3. their ability to plainly explain the subjects by using adequate technical language. Two subjects will be addressed during the interview. If requested, some time will be given before the interview for writing formulas, graphs, schemes, thought to be useful for subject exposition. The CAD part of the exam concerns the laboratory exercises. This is aimed at evaluating 1. the student's knowledge of the different tasks to be pursued with standard CAD tools for HF circuit analysis/design. 2. The abilities to autonomously carry out simple circuit simulation tasks and interpret the obtained results. 

Teaching tools

- Theory notes and slides written by the teacher

- Notes on laboratory exercises

Links to further information


Office hours

See the website of Alberto Santarelli