2017 Radio Frequency Integrated Circuit Design ELEC 5503 (ELG 6353)

Classes start January 9, 2017, 10:05-11:25, ME 4332. For map of campus, click here note ME is Mackenzie Building

All further course information, course notes, assignments, will be provided through cuLearn, so all students will be required to have access to it. More information is provided below.

Course Outline

Last partially updated: Jan, 2017


Carleton University, Mon Wed, 10:05-11:25, ME 4332
January 9 - April 7 2017, (Break Week February 20-24)


This course is for IC designers who would like to become familiar with the design of integrated radio front-end circuits. The first part of the course deals with general topics such as impedance matching, noise, linearity, stability, the use of simulators, and layout consideration. The second part of the course deals with detailed design of some radio front-end circuits, such as low-noise amplifiers, mixers, voltage-controlled oscillators and power amplifiers.

Course Content

  1. General Discussion: link budgets, filtering considerations, matching, use of Smith Charts, intermodulation, intercept points (IP3), compression, noise figure, sources of noise, stability, simulation issues, packaging, printed circuit boards; layout concerns such as isolation, coupling, matching, parasitics, shielding; components such as transistors, capacitors, resistors, inductors, baluns, interconnect.

  2. LNA Design: simple, cascode, tuned, balun coupled, noise, linearity, signal levels, gain, frequency response, biasing, power dissipation broadband design, UWB, distributed amplfiers

  3. Mixer Design: Gilbert cell, use of inductors and baluns, balanced, doubly balanced, single-sideband, image-reject mixers, noise, linearity, signal levels, conversion gain, frequency response, feedthroughs, power dissipation, simulation issues, passive mixers, subsampling mixers.

  4. VCO Design: types, resonators, varactors, phase noise, signal levels, frequency, tuning methods and tuning range, startup time, frequency switching speed, isolation from other circuits, injection locking, power dissipation, simulation issues

  5. Power Amplifier Design: different classes, efficiencies, output power, power control, packaging issues, simulation issues, linearization.

  6. Examples: from research and literature



Marks will be based on four assignments worth 70% and a final exam, worth 30% of the final mark.


Assignments involve design of an LNA, a mixer, a VCO, and a power amplifier, through simulation using a commercial process and SpectreRF from Cadence. Assignments will be submitted online via cuLearn.

Access to tools, Licenses, NDA:

Once registered, students from Carleton will already have access to the course on cuLearn and will have a cmail.carleton.ca account. Students from U. Ottawa will need to go through an extra step to register with cuLearn. For all students, running software tools will require obtaining the appopriate doe account, have access to the licence to run simulation tools, and have signed an NDA to access the technology.

Step-by-step instructions for accounts, tool licenses, NDA for process kit

Instructions on how to access the DOE servers remotely

SpectreRF tutorial and further information The process we are using is proprietary. We have permission to use it for the course, provided students sign a non-disclosure agreement. However, we are not allowed to post any information on public web sites, so all information will be given in class and on private sites, e.g, cuLearn, and some information may be further password protected.

Text Book:

John Rogers and Calvin Plett, Radio Frequency Integrated Circuit Design, Second Edition, Artech House, 2010, ISBN 978-1-60783-979-8 Available from the publishers at US$175, and elsewhere, (often at lower price elsewhere). Likely your best price will be if you get it as part of the course from the course instructor at cost price - but still quite expensive due to the unfavourable exchange rate. At the moment, a few books have been ordered and are expected to be available in the second or third week of January. Further books will be ordered upon demand.

RFIC Second Edition Textbook Errata, Comments


Sorin Voinigescu, High-Frequency Integrated Circuits, Cambridge University Press, 2013, ISBN 9780521873024
Behzad Razavi, RF Microelectronics", second ed., Prentice-Hall 2011, ISBN 0137134738,
Thomas H. Lee, The Design of CMOS Radio-Frequency Integrated Circuits, "second edition, Cambridge University Press, 2004.
Steve Cripps, Rf Power Amplifiers For Wireless Communications, second ed. Artech House 2006. ISBN 978-1596930186
Gonzalez, Microwave Transistor Amplifiers, Second Edition, Prentice-Hall 1997.

Registration for Special Students: *** verified for winter of 2014 ***

  1. Register as a special student by filling out the special student form and bringing it and supporting documents to the registrar's office in TB 300 - the form is available on line or at the registrar's office. If you have previously been a student at Carleton, your previous student number will be reactivated. If you have never been a student at Carleton you will be issued a new number. This might take a few days.
  2. Then, you need to get permission from the instructor teaching the course - typically they will decide based on two factors:
    • The first factor is your background, so please provide information to the instructor about your prior schooling and your approximate grades.
    • The second factor is the current course enrollment, noting that full or part-time students will get priority. Since enrollment may not be known until the first class, it is possible that this permission will be delayed.
    If approved, the instructor will send an email to one of the DOE administrators (Anna or Blazenka) and they will open a spot for the student.
  3. After this, the student can register using Carleton Central