ECEN 4634/5634, Microwave Lab, Fall 2015


Weekly updates:


-          Welcome to the class!

-          All relevant information for the current week will be posted here, so please READ ON.

-          Please come to your assigned lab section on Aug. 25th and Aug. 27th. We will do a review of the material and make sure everyone is placed in an appropriate lab section.

-          Lab groups have a maximum of 3 students, and there are 4 lab groups per section.

-          There is a review homework due XX:

-          All other homework is lab-related (prelabs).


Lab manual:  4634-Lectures-Labs.pdf


Past assignments and other material, in order of posting:

None so far.


General Class Information:


ECEN 4634

Microwave and RF Lab

ECEN 5634

Graduate Microwave and RF Lab


Section 020

M 4:00 – 5:15pm

ECCR 139


Section 020

M 4:00 – 5:15pm

ECCR 139

Lab Section 021

T 12:00 – 2:30 pm


Lab Section 021

T 9:00 – 11:30am


Lab Section 022

T 2:00 – 4:30 pm

Lab Section 022

Th 9:00 – 11:30am



Instructor: Prof. Zoya Popovic (ECOT-252) Office hours: TBD by class vote



Class organization and rules: 

-          There will be 11 experiments this semester. You must complete all of these to pass the course. There will be a single make-up lab session near the end of the semester only for students that miss a lab for a good reason and who inform me ahead of time.

-          If you arrive more than 10 minutes late for your lab section, you will not be allowed to do the lab, and will have to make it up during the make-up week.

-          A prelab homework is due at the beginning of your lab section each week. Be sure to do the homework appropriate to the lab that your group will be doing each week.

-          You will not be allowed to do the lab work (and hence will not get credit for that week's experiment) unless the pre-lab has been handed in at the beginning of the lab. The pre-labs are designed to help you finish the labs.

You should also read the course notes prior to each week's lecture. There is a very limited amount of lecture time available for the many topics we cover in this course, so the lectures cannot go into each one in as much detail as we might wish. Also, some of the material should be a review for you from your previous EM Fields courses. I expect that you will read the notes and review basic EM concepts as needed in order to keep up; I will always be glad to help you with any questions you may have during my office hours since there will not be time for long answers during the lectures. Please feel free to come in for help.

Lab reports are due in lecture the Monday after your lab. Although you carry out the lab experiments in groups of two or three students, everyone must turn in their own individual lab report that shows your own understanding of the material. Only the data you took should be the same among reports from the same lab group. These write-ups are the only basis for determining your grade for each lab. Grading of pre-labs and lab reports is as follows:


Recommended textbook: Pozar.

Additional material will be provided when needed.

Background text (free): Introductory Electromagnetics, Popovic and Popovic, on ECEN3400 web page

Some other good books will be kept in my office and you can borrow them for a few hours if you wish:


Software:  In this class we will use an industry-standard   circuit simulator tool from National Instruments Applied Wave Research (AWR): Microwave Office. NI/AWR has generously allowed our class to obtain free licenses. Please follow the instructions below to obtain a license for your computer:

  1. Go to
  2. If for some reason you have previously already registered on the AWR website, you will use the same account to get the software.
  3. If you have not previously registered, the license generation will send you an email with the account login information.
  4. You will then obtain a license file with a link to the software download area.

If you are asked for a faculty contact name, use "Prof. Zoya Popović". It is probably best if you download from an on-campus location, or use a VPN. The domain "" is added to the system so you should not have any problems, but please let me know as soon as possible if you have trouble downloading the software. The AWR software runs on the Windows OS. If you run another OS, you will have to run it in a virtual machine.


AWR and some other EM/RF/microwave software have been installed on four computers in the outer lab (room ECEE 254) for use by students in this course. These computers are shared with other classes (e. g., ECEN 5134), and in addition to the TA office hours, other classes may also use this room for a few hours each week for various purposes. Use of these computers will be on a first-come, first-served basis, and you may not leave a computer running your program without being present yourself.


Grading (preliminary)

Homework/prelabs: 50%

Midterm: 25%

Final exam: 35%

*Note that the total is 110%, and the grade is based on 100% (built-in curve)

Homework projects will be due approximately every two weeks. Start working on each project as soon as it is assigned, since it covers at least two weeks worth of material. You are supposed to do these individually, without collaboration or help.


Copying other students’ work, or letting other students copy your work is considered dishonest and if proven will result in and F in the course. I am sure you have already been told that this is for your own good.

Schedule (approximate)

Below is the approximate class and homework schedule for the semester. It will be updated as needed, so please check periodically.



Class Topics

Homework projects

Due Date

Week 1


Introduction, review of Maxwell’s equations, boundary conditions, wave equation

Project 1 assigned 

(wave equation, plane waves)


Week 2


No class on Jan.19 (MLK)

Skin effect, uniform plane waves 



Week 3


Uniform plane waves: reflection and refraction, example devices

Project 1 due

Project 2 assigned

(reflection and refraction of plane waves)


Week 4


Non-uniform plane waves: coaxial line  



Week 4


Coaxial line: devices, Smith chart analysis  

Project 2 due

Project 3 assigned

(coaxial lines)


Week 5


Finish coaxial lines


Study handout for Midterm 1


Week 6


Quasi-TEM lines:

Microstrip and CPW

Project 3 due



Week 7


Microstrip: example circuits and circuit design methods

Project 4 assigned

(microstrip and CPW)



Week 8


TEM modes

Rectangular metallic waveguides; TE and TM modes

Practice midterm handout


Week 9


Midterm (Monday, March 16)

Metallic waveguides: example devices; resonators


Project 4 due



Week 10


Spring break, no classes or assignments

Week 12


Dielectric waveguides: slabs and fibers    

  Project 5 assigned (waveguides)


Week 13


Dielectric waveguides;

Start antennas



Week 14


Antennas and propagation

Project 5 due

Project 6 assigned


  April 17

Week 15


Antennas and propagation



Week 16


May 1

Last week of classes

Review for final

Project 6 due


April 27


Class overview

Electromagnetic waves are at the core of many modern technologies: radio, television, digital networks (e.g. WiFi), microwave ovens, mobile phones, GPS, radar, remote sensing, infrared remotes, lasers (DVD and Blueray to industrial), microscopy, imaging, and optical fiber data communication. This course will provide the foundations for further study in these fields, through an introduction to the theory of electromagnetic wave propagation, including the following topics:

1.   Uniform plane waves (reflection and transmission through different environments, polarization) and devices that involve plane waves, such as stealth materials at RF and quarter-wave matching layers, beam-splitters and prisms in optics.   

2.   Non-uniform plane waves in a coaxial line and quasi-TEM waves in printed lines (microstrip and CPW). We will review transmission line analysis methods, such as the Smith chart, and design matching circuits and various passive components in coaxial line and microstrip.  

3.   Waveguides and resonators that support other modes (field profiles) will be studied: metallic waveguides for RF high power and high-frequency applications (TE,TM), and hybrid and evanescent modes in dielectric waveguides (slab guides, rectangular THz dielectric guides, silicon integrated photonics, and optical fibers).

4.   Beam propagation (Gaussian beams) will be introduced in the context of applications at optical and millimeter-wave/THz frequencies.

5.   Finally, we return to plane waves to study fundamentals of antennas and propagation.



Policies and Regulations:  The following policies and regulations apply for this course.


Honor Code. All students of the University of Colorado at Boulder are responsible for knowing and adhering to the academic integrity policy of the institution. Violations of this policy may include: cheating, plagiarism, aid of academic dishonesty, fabrication, lying, bribery, and threatening behavior. All incidents of academic misconduct shall be reported to the CU Honor Code Council (, 303-725-2273). Students who are found to be in violation of the academic integrity policy will be subject to both academic sanctions from the faculty member and non-academic sanctions (including but not limited to university probation, suspension, or expulsion). Other information on the Honor Code can be found at


The instructor reserves the right to use anti-plagiarism software to help determine the originality of term papers.


Cell phones and PDAs. Out of respect for the students and instructors as well as to minimize interference to laboratory measurement it is mandatory that cell phones or other devices with annunciators or other disturbing audio capabilities be turned off before entering the classroom or laboratory. Calculators may be used during exams, but personal digital assistants or other devices with communications capabilities are not permitted.


Electronic Communication. Questions on the course material, schedule, or policies may be e-mailed to the instructors at the above-listed addresses. E-mailed questions will be addressed as soon as possible, although given the volume of e-mail received by the instructors a delay of up to several days may occur. All course-related e-mails should include the course number in the subject line.  Voice mailed questions will be handled similarly but with e-mailed responses.


Disability. Students who qualify for accommodations because of a disability should submit to the instructors a letter from CU Disability Services in a timely manner so that needs can be addressed.  Disability Services determines accommodations based on documented disabilities.  Contact: 303-492-8671, Willard 322, or .
Religious Observances. Campus policy regarding religious observances requires that faculty make every effort to reasonably and fairly accommodate all students who, because of religious obligations, have conflicts with scheduled exams, assignments or required attendance. Conflicts between scheduled course activities and religious observances should be made known in writing to the instructors at least two weeks in advance of the activity so that alternate arrangements can be made. See full details at .
Discrimination and Harassment. The University of Colorado at Boulder policy on Discrimination and Harassment (, the University of Colorado policy on Sexual Harassment, and the University of Colorado policy on Amorous Relationships applies to all students, staff and faculty.  Any student, staff or faculty member who believes s/he has been the subject of discrimination or harassment based upon race, color, national origin, sex, age, disability, religion, sexual orientation, or veteran status should contact the Office of Discrimination and Harassment (ODH) at 303-492-2127 or the Office of Judicial Affairs at 303-492-5550.  Information about the ODH and the campus resources available to assist individuals regarding discrimination or harassment can be obtained at .