Radio Frequency Integrated Circuits



Integrated-circuits for wireless communications constitute the core of the multi-billion dollar industry driving the R&D focus of cellular, WiFi, WLAN, sensor-networks, etc. This course will serve as an introductory course covering different system and design aspects of Radio Frequency (RF) Wireless transmitters/receivers. The lecture topics will include introduction to RLC matching networks, general noise theory, radio transmitter and receiver architectures, low-noise amplifiers, mixers, voltage controlled oscillators, power amplifiers, etc. The class projects will include design of different circuits with Cadence Spectre-RF tool.


  • Understand a variety of RF architectures and system-level & circuit-level trade-offs.
  • Design and simulate analog and RF circuits using Cadence and MATLAB.
  • Become familiar with different wireless standards such as WiFi, WLAN, GSM, etc.
  • Obtain an overview of the state-of-the-art in wireless transceivers.

Broad Contents:

  • Introduction to RF communication
  • Basics of digital communication
  • RLC matching networks
  • On-chip component models
  • S-parameters
  • Noise theory
  • Receiver architectures
  • Low noise amplifiers
  • Mixers
  • Voltage-controlled oscillators
  • Phase noise
  • Transmitter architectures
  • Power amplifiers

Suggested Reading:

  • RF Microelectronics: B. Razavi. 2nd Edition, Prentice Hall.
  • The Design of CMOS Radio-Frequency Integrated Circuits: Thomas H. Lee. 2nd Edition, Cambridge University Press.
  • IEEE Journals (JSSC, TCAS) and Conference Proceedings (ISSCC, VLSI Symposium, RFIC Symposium, CICC)


  • Anyone of (EECE269, EECE359, EECE369)
  • ELEC401 or ELEC402 (co-requisite ok) See FAQ!


  • Homework (1)  15%
  • Projects & Reports 50%
  • Final 35%

Instructor’s Office Hour:

  • Wednesdays 3:30-4:30pm K4017
  • After Lectures
  • By appointment


Q. I was/am not able to register for ELEC401. Can I still register for this course?

If you are not familiar with basics of CMOS analog circuits, this course will be difficult for you. This is the reason behind listing ELEC401 as a prerequisite or co-requisite. However, if you are still interested in registering for this RF course, I would hand out an assignment (#0) in the first week. You can do this assignment on your own, and evaluate yourself if you are ready for this course or not. If you think you are, I can give you the approval to register for this course. I would also share with you videos to go over the basics of CMOS analog circuits, and then discuss any specific questions that you have in the first tutorial. 

Q. What do you recommend for revising the basics of Analog CMOS Design?

I would suggest reading and becoming very comfortable with Chapter 3 “Basic Current Mirrors and Single-Stage Amplifiers” of Johns & Martin’s Analog Integrated Circuit Design textbook.  I would also share with you some videos, and then discuss any specific questions that you have in the first tutorial.

Q. What are the tutorials for? Do I have to attend them?

Tutorial hours are used for three purposes –

Some are used for software tutorials. They are not mandatory to attend. However, if you have no prior experience of using Cadence Spectre, you are strongly advised to attend them. We would provide tutorial documents on Cadence to you as well. They include step-by-step instructions for simulating basic RF circuits. Overview of these documentation will be provided in the tutorials, and we will answer any Cadence specific questions.

Some are used for advanced classes – 571F students must attend that.

Finally, some tutorial hours are used for makeup classes if I am traveling due to conferences – all students are expected to attend that.

If requested in advance, we can try to record and upload some of these sessions. 

The first tutorial would be on the basics of Analog CMOS Design.  

Q. How is the graduate version (EECE571F) different from the undergraduate version (ELEC404)?

The graduate students will have different sets of questions for mid-term and final, different project specifications and one additional project.