Radio Frequency Circuits and Devices

  • 150 hours
  • 4 teaching days, 3 hour tutorial, (optional) exam
  • 18 February 2019


This four-day course will give you a good grounding in a range of RF (radio frequency) devices including the fundamentals of device physics, RF circuits, system architectures and noise measurement techniques.

You'll learn about impedance matching, stability and noise figure for amplifier circuit design.

This will be consolidated with a full-day computer simulation exercise where you'll perform RF amplifier design tasks using the industry standard software package Agilent ADS.

The course is run by UCL's Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering.

Who this course is for

The department's short courses/CPD modules are aimed at those working in the telecommunications industry such as researchers, engineers, IT professionals and managers. 

They're particularly suited to graduates in electronic and electrical engineering, communications engineering and computer science who want to further their knowledge on a particular topic, or work towards a Master's degree. 

You don't need to have any pre-requisite qualifications to take this course.

Course content

You'll cover the following during this course:

  • Introduction to RF spectrum, applications, devices and fabrication technologies
  • Fabrication of passive elements: inductors, capacitors and resistors
  • Review of key aspects of semiconductor physics: band structure, effective mass and mobility, quantum wells and tunnelling
  • Two-terminal devices: transferred electron devices (Gunn diodes), IMPATT diodes, varactors, PIN diodes, tunnel diodes and quantum tunnel diodes
  • Overview of different transistor technologies for RF/microwave applications
  • Introduction to coaxial, microstrip, coplanar transmission lines and planar filters, two-port networks and the scattering parameters
  • Impedance matching techniques (two-element L network, three-element matching, designing with Smith Chart, transmission-line matching network)
  • Introduction to monolithic microwave integrated circuit (MMIC)
  • RF transistor amplifier design using scattering parameters (constant gain circle and constant noise circle)
  • Stability consideration and techniques for improving stability
  • Introduction to balanced amplifiers and distributed amplifiers
  • Full-day computer simulation exercise using Agilent ADS for RF amplifier design
  • RF transmitters and receivers
  • Noise and noise figure
  • Mixers and modulators
  • Intermodulation and dynamic range
  • Practical measurement of noise figure and intermodulation
  • Amplifier linearisation techniques

Structure, certificates and assessment

The course runs over four days, followed by a three-hour tutorial, and an optional exam.

A certificate of attendance will be issued on completion for those who take the module but not the exam. 

If you take and pass the exam you'll get a certificate stating this, which includes your pass level.


  • Lectures: 18 to 21 February 2019
  • Tutorial: 15 March 2019
  • Exam: 22 March 2019

Benefits of UCL's Electronics and Electrical Engineering CPD courses

You can take this course as a standalone (one-off) course/module, or accumulate it towards an MSc qualification (up to two standalone modules can be transferred towards the flexible MSc degree).

Benefits for employees
The programme offers the opportunity for professional people working in the telecommunications industry to develop their career, be able to respond to changes in their environment, and learn while they earn. It's also designed to give you the opportunity of working towards an MSc qualification from an academic institution whose quality is recognised world-wide.

Benefits for employers
Our flexible CPD courses enhance staff motivation and assists in the recruitment and retention of high-quality staff. It enables your company to keep ahead of the competition by tapping into world-leading research, and to profit from UCL’s world class Telecommunications and Business expertise.

View the full range of related courses available.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this course, you should be able to: 

  • demonstrate an advanced understanding of the semiconductor physics underlying the operation of a range of RF devices
  • draw the band diagrams for a range of semiconductor materials and RF devices and use them to predict and explain the current-voltage characteristics of those devices
  • apply and solve the Schrodinger’s equation for a simple potential barrier structure, explain the tunnelling phenomenon and determine the device dimensions necessary for the tunnelling to occur
  • analyse devices with negative differential resistance and design oscillator circuits using the correct load resistance
  • understand the design, fabrication, packaging, operation and characteristics of a wide range of two terminal RF devices
  • analyse and design impedance matching circuits with both lumped components and distributed transmission line elements using analytical as well the graphical Smith Chart techniques
  • evaluate the stability of RF transistors used in amplifier circuits and design corresponding matching networks to ensure stable operation
  • design matching circuits for achieving either maximum power gain or minimum noise figure using the scattering parameters of transistors
  • design and evaluate a complete single-transistor amplifier circuit using industry standard simulation package
  • demonstrate a good understanding of various functional blocks including mixers and modulators, the key RF applications and system architecture
  • understand noise and noise figure in the system context and calculate the overall gain and noise figure in a cascade configuration
  • apply the Y-factor technique to measure the gain and noise figure of a given amplifier using a spectrum analyser and a broadband noise source
  • understand intermodulation and dynamic range and how to improve them
  • determine the system spurious-free dynamic range from the gain, third-order intercept point and system noise bandwidth
  • understand general analogue-to-digital converters and its associated components and quantify the relationship between the number of bits of resolution and the dynamic range
  • compare various linearisation techniques in amplifier design

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Course team

Dr Chin-Pang Liu

Chin-Pang is a Lecturer in Photonics at UCL. He worked for JVC in Hong Kong from 1994 to 1995 as project coordinator and was a UCL Research Fellow from 2000 to 2009. He's a regular reviewer for the IET Optoelectronics, the IEEE Photonics Technology Letters and the Journal of Lightwave Technology.

His research interests are focused on:
• Design, fabrication and characterisation of advanced photonic devices, in particular the Asymmetric Fabry-Perot modulator (AFPM) which can be used as both a light intensity modulator and a photodetector in a single device
• Radio-over-fibre systems and techniques: novel and low-cost transmission techniques for wireless multiple-input-multiple-output (MIMO) signal over fibre
• Microwave Photonics: high-speed photonic sampling techniques
• Real-time indoor location systems using active RFID tags, optical fibres and associated signal processing techniques

Course information last modified: 18 Jun 2018, 16:37