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Project in RF/Electromagnetics/Photonics

  1. Feb 16, 2012 #1
    Hello everyone this is my first post on PhysicsForums

    I am in my second year of electronic systems engineering degree and I have to choose a final year project. I am really enjoying the modules on RF engineering and electromagnetics, especially electromagnetics is just too interesting :smile:

    I have chosen the engineering discipline of my final year project to be RF/electromagnetic/Photonics. My university is actively involved with CERN, so one of the project applications is in particle accelerators. However, I can choose a project application in communication as well!

    Could you please suggest me some project ideas for my final year. I really like maths a lot (calculus, vectors, complex number) and I am comfortable with visualizing it. it would be nice if you could recommend a 'mathematical project' idea!

    Thank you.
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 16, 2012 #2
    If you are interested in RF, how about a RF power amplifier with class F power amp. The concept is driving into saturation so the output is like square wave. The mathematical theory is in Fourier Transform that a square wave composes of odd harmonics and the amplitude of the fundamental is higher than the amplitude of the square wave. This means if you have a 5Vpp square wave, the fundamental is something like 1 or 2 dB higher( don't ask me the exact number as I studied this years ago.). The point is if you over drive the amp, you get 1 or 2 dB more signal out in this class F amp than the class C with given supply voltage. 10% or so more power is a big deal in RF power amp.

    This involve design impedance matching network, load pull, filter to remove the higher harmonics. It is very involve. You have to know RF, transmission line distribute element design. You are going to need all the math to learn these.

    The book I suggest is power amp design by Steven C. Cripps. You really learn power amp design, this is very different from the regular RF test books. None of the RF books include the one by Pozar deal into this subject.

    This might be a little too advance though. It is a little stretch for undergrad. You need all the classes in undergrad to get into RF, and then into power amp design.
  4. Feb 16, 2012 #3
    Hmm. RF. Particle accelerators. How about making a gyrotron or klystron? Surely that would be impressive for a final year project. I'll recommend a book too. Klystrons, Traveling Wave Tubes, Magnetrons, Crossed-Field Amplifiers, and Gyrotrons by A.S. Gilmour, Jr. I have that book sitting right next to me and I think it's a pretty good introduction to those electron devices which places like CERN or so fond of. I personally think gyrotrons in particular are super cool. I'm hoping to build one myself someday. And there's lots of yummy maths involved.
  5. Feb 16, 2012 #4
    Only one thing of concern about the Klystron and TWT is it is of very limited use, maybe in very high power transmitter where solid state cannot do it. I think his project should be something that is in demand so it is beneficial to put into the resume.

    I myself had been designing electronics for all different mass spectrometers. Particularly Time of Flight which is similar to particle accel. stuff. Actually Stanford Linear Accel. had contacted me in various times for job opportunites but timing was never right. I actually published two papers in AIP RSI on ion imaging and pulse counting. Experience is not very useful in the outside world. Only other place is semiconductor capital equipment companies like KLA Tancor, Applied Material. It is interesting though.
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2012
  6. Feb 16, 2012 #5
    Thanks for your advice yungman and metiman. I will talk to my tutors and supervisor about the ideas which you have suggested.

    yungman, I appreciate your thought about 'demand', because I do not want to narrow down the options for my postgraduate and jobs later. Also, it is quite relevant to antenna technology, something I wish to learn more about.

    metiman, "Yummy maths" :D

    PS: I never knew PhysicsForums was such a fantastic place, much better than wasting time on Facebook.
  7. Feb 16, 2012 #6
    Oh yeh, I got talked into joining FB, I seldom even visit there!!! Don't people have better things to do than to tell people what I ate yesterday?

    I have been studying some on antenna theory until I started to get busy in some music electronics lately. Power amp and antennas are extension of RF circuits and I don't think there are too many people studying them..........Not to many people get into EM, RF period. Most just put up with it and survive those classes. If you are going in this direction, you should study PDE even though it might not be required. You'll have a much better appreciation in boundary problems which is absolutely necessary in EM.
  8. Feb 18, 2012 #7
    A few ideas:

    Broadband antennas for ultrawide band communications
    Signal integrity addressed at the IC level
    Improvement to bandwidth on compact PCB-based antennas (to improve manufacturing)
    Low cost, steered array (i.e. using PiN diodes) for use in car collision avoidance systems.
    Soliton production / pulse launching for UWB communications / radar.
  9. Feb 18, 2012 #8
    Thanks mike!
  10. Mar 3, 2012 #9
    Some projects from last year! There was one on E class amplifiers! How do you compare the level of mathematics and electronics knowledge involved in these projects(RF/electromagnetics) and the one which you suggested? Did you like any of these project ideas?


    Attached Files:

    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 3, 2012
  11. Mar 3, 2012 #10
    Mike I like this idea a lot but someone has already proposed it to the supervisor :(
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 3, 2012
  12. Mar 3, 2012 #11
    I think E and F are very close, I don't remember the exact difference. They are close.
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