Project Description

Course Code

RF004

Course Overview

This comprehensive course provides a solid foundation for designing high-performance RF and high-speed digital circuits with fewer design iterations reducing both development times and costs. The course covers key design considerations such as signal integrity, noise, crosstalk, electromagnetic interference (EMI) and electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) within RF, digital and mixed-signal circuits.

The course also provides a thorough overview of modern printed circuit board (PCB) design principles and layout best practice. This includes a series of useful design rules and checklists to aid development reviews.

Developed by PhD-qualified engineers with over 50 years combined industry experience, the course focuses on essential real-world knowledge, bringing together key topics in one place. Throughout the course, important concepts are simplified and explained in a way that conveys the essence of each topic without complex mathematics.

The complete course consists of 24 modules. Successfully completing all modules results in the award of a high-quality printed certificate to demonstrate your achievement.

The course is based on a series of instructor-led classroom courses delivered in partnership with leading global test equipment manufacturer Rohde & Schwarz. Technical content has been continuously refined based on attendee feedback.

Included with the course is a set of high-quality wire-bound course notes printed full-colour A4-size with heavy-duty plastic covers – ideal for taking into the lab. These notes include copies of all the slides featured in the course videos and space for taking notes as you work through the course. Course notes are packaged and shipped to you worldwide as soon as you enrol.

What You Will Learn
  • Know the challenges of RF, high-speed digital and mixed-signal circuit design

  • Understand PCB design and manufacturing technology, materials and processes

  • Identify and troubleshoot sources of electromagnetic interference (EMI)

  • Understand and troubleshoot the impact of grounding and digital noise

  • Know how to minimise cross-coupling between circuits

  • Understand performance limitations of physical components and packaging types

  • Apply a range of schematic and PCB design review checklists to reduce errors

  • Reduce development costs and time to market due to fewer PCB design iterations

Target Audience

This course is aimed at those working with RF and wireless circuits, high-speed digital logic and mixed-signal circuits. Staff members taking the certification typically include RF design engineers, wireless design engineers, RF applications engineers, digital design engineers, hardware design engineers, hardware applications engineers, PCB layout engineers and technical managers who wish to improve their understanding of signal integrity in order to better manage the design process.

  • RF, Wireless and Microwave Design Engineers

  • Hardware Design Engineers

  • Mixed-Signal Design Engineers

  • PCB Design and Layout Engineers

  • RF and Hardware Applications Engineers

  • Technical Managers

Technical Level

Although there are no formal prerequisites for the certification course, an ability to absorb and understand technical concepts is essential together with a desire to learn more about the topics covered. A technical background is desirable in order to derive maximum benefit from the course. Those taking the course would normally be qualified to degree-level or have equivalent experience in an engineering, physics or mathematics-related subject.

Time to Complete

Approx. 10 hrs

What’s Included?
  • Unlimited individual access to all course content on-demand 24/7 for 365 days

  • 467 minutes of focused video content

  • 24 subject modules covering a range of RF and high-speed signal integrity topics

  • 225 individual video lessons

  • Printed course notes including 230 course slides posted to you worldwide

  • Downloadable supporting materials and applications notes

  • 1.0 IEEE Continuing Education Units (CEUs)

  • 10 IEEE Professional Development Hours (PDHs)

  • IEEE Certificate of Completion issued by IEEE on completion (PDF)

  • Certificate of Achievement issued by TTA on completion (PDF and hardcopy)

  • Add certificate to your LinkedIn profile

Printed Course Notes

High-quality printed course notes are included with this diploma course. These are posted to you worldwide when you enrol. They are wire-bound and printed full-colour A4-size with heavy duty plastic covers. They include all 230 slides featured in the course videos and space for notes as you work through the course.

IEEE Certificate of Completion

This course has been approved by IEEE for the quality of its technical content and adherence to IEEE’s strict criteria for educational excellence. Successfully completing all of the course modules and quizzes results in the award of 1.0 Continuing Education Units (CEUs) and 10 Professional Development Hours (PDHs). CEUs are widely recognized as the standard of excellence for continuing education programs in IEEE’s fields of interest. An official IEEE Certificate of Completion will be emailed directly by IEEE on completion.

Printed Certificate of Achievement

Successfully completing all of the course modules and quizzes also results in the award of a high-quality printed Certificate of Achievement issued by The Technology Academy. Certificates are made from heavyweight A4 card and include a 3D security hologram and attractive gold foil strip – ideal for framing.

Course Curriculum

24 modules – 225 video lessons – 467 mins video

1.1 When is a Design ‘High Speed’?  
1.2 The Rise of Clock Frequencies  
1.3 Properties of High-Speed Digital  
1.4 RF vs. High-Speed Digital Requirements  
1.5 Features of High-Speed Digital  
1.6 Signal Integrity  
1.7 Pulse Rise and Fall Times  
1.8 Digital Pulses and RF Energy  
1.9 Propagation Time  

2.1 Transmission Lines  
2.2 Electromagnetic Wave Behaviour  
2.3 Distributed Not Lumped  
2.4 Power Transfer Efficiency  
2.5 Transmission Line Fundamentals  
2.6 Reflection and Transmission of Pulses  
2.7 Transmission Line Zo  
2.8 Reflection Parameters  
2.9 Transmission Parameters  
2.10 S-Parameters  
2.11 Phase and Group Velocity  
2.12 Dispersion  

3.1 Types of Transmission Lines  
3.2 Stripline  
3.3 Off-Centre Stripline  
3.4 Microstrip Line  
3.5 Buried Microstrip Line  
3.6 Other Types of Transmission Lines  
3.7 TX-LINE® Transmission Line Calculator  

4.1 Coupled Lines  
4.2 Circuit Models – Mutual Inductance and Capacitance  
4.3 Even and Odd Modes  
4.4 Coupled Lines  
4.5 N Coupled Lines  

5.1 Use of Transmission Lines  
5.2 Trace Routing Schemes  
5.3 Multi-Drop Configuration  
5.4 Signal Skew  
5.5 Delay Line Design Guidelines  
5.6 DDR3 Example  
5.7 Transmission Line Bends and Corners  

6.1 Reflections and Terminations  
6.2 Reflective Energy  
6.3 When to Account for Transmission Line Effects  
6.4 Reflections from a 1nS Rise Time Signal  
6.5 Reflected Waves – Key Concepts  
6.6 Multiple Reflections – Over-Damped  
6.7 Multiple Reflections – Under-Damped  
6.8 Use of Terminations to Eliminate Reflections  
6.9 Series Termination  
6.10 Parallel Termination  
6.11 RC Termination  
6.12 Thévenin Termination  
6.13 Diode Termination  
6.14 Which Termination to Use?  

7.1 Loss in Transmission Lines
7.2 Resistive Losses
7.3 Skin Depth
7.4 Resistance at Higher Frequencies
7.5 Dielectic Loss
7.6 Radiation Loss
7.7 Transmission Line Losses – Summary

8.1 Controlling and Measuring Line Impedance  
8.2 Microstrip Impedance Tolerance  
8.3 Time-Domain Reflectometry (TDR) Equipment  
8.4 Time-Domain Reflectometer  
8.5 Time-Domain Reflectometry  
8.6 TDR Characterisation  
8.7 Test Coupons  
8.8 Determining PCB Properties  

9.1 PCB Materials and Fabrication Processes  
9.2 Dielectric Materials Properties and Constants  
9.3 Dissipation Factors  
9.4 Prepreg Materials  
9.5 FR4 Variability  
9.6 Dielectric Variation  

10.1 PCB Fabrication Process  
10.2 Imaging, Etching and Bonding of Layers  
10.3 Etching Tolerances  
10.4 Thermal Properties of Tracks  
10.5 Board Layer Construction  
10.6 High-Speed Multi-Layer PCB  
10.7 Multilayer Impedance Design  
10.8 8-Layer PCB Structure  
10.9 Common 4-Layer RF Board Stack-up  
10.10 Composite Board Structures  
10.11 Technology Influence on PCB Cost  

11.1 Noise, Interference and Crosstalk  
11.2 Noise, Crosstalk and EMI  
11.3 Crosstalk-Induced Errors  
11.4 PCB Capacitance – E-Field  
11.5 PCB Capacitive Coupling  
11.6 Capacitive Cross-Talk Coupling by Electric Fields  
11.7 PCB Coupling Noise Reduction  
11.8 Interacting Current Loops  
11.9 Traces That Form a Loop  
11.10 Loop Area Influences Inductance  
11.11 Inductive Cross-Talk Coupling by Magnetic Fields  
11.12 How to Decrease Inductive Cross-Talk  
11.13 Crosstalk-Induced Noise  
11.14 Voltage Profile of Coupled Noise  
11.15 Crosstalk Guidelines  
11.16 Ribbon Cable Topologies  

12.1 Electromagnetic Interference  
12.2 Coupling – Conducted Emissions  
12.3 Common Analogue Receptors  
12.4 Coupling – Radiated Emissions  
12.5 Sources of Electromagnetic Energy  
12.6 Radiated Susceptibility – Long Traces  
12.7 Radiated Susceptibility – Loops  
12.8 Balance Helps Limit Common-Mode EMI Response  
12.9 Balanced Analogue and Digital Circuits  
12.10 Low–Voltage Differential Signalling (LVDS)  

13.1 Circuit Techniques to Minimise EMI  
13.2 Floorplanning for Isolation  
13.3 Floorplanning and Screening to Minimise Spurs  
13.4 Self–(Inflicted) EMI  

14.1 RF Power Amplifier Stability Case Study  
14.2 Switched-Mode PSU Coupling Case Study  
14.3 EMC Filter Radiation Case Study  
14.4 Conducted Emissions from a Transmitter Case Study  
14.5 TDMA Burst Susceptibility Case Study  
14.6 Use of a 2–Turn Loop to Pinpoint Problems  
14.7 Rectification in Audio Devices  
14.8 Decoupling to Reduce TDMA Buzz  
14.9 Careful Decoupling of Op-Amps  

15.1 Power Supply Distribution and Decoupling  
15.2 Power Distribution  
15.3 Power Planes or Not?  
15.4 Power Supply Noise and Decoupling  
15.5 Why Decoupling?  
15.6 A Capacitor Is Not Just a Capacitor  
15.7 Selecting Decoupling Capacitors  
15.8 Where to Place Decoupling Capacitors  
15.9 Shunt Component Grounding  
15.10 Decoupling Rules  
15.11 Splitting Power and Ground Planes  
15.12 ZigBee® PCB Power/Ground Decoupling Case Study  

16.1 PCB Grounding  
16.2 Common Grounding Issues  
16.3 Signal Return Path  
16.4 Current Density  
16.5 Slots in Ground Planes  
16.6 Analyzing Ground Returns  
16.7 Grounding and Supply Distribution Strategy  
16.8 Groundplane Flood  
16.9 Ground Bounce  
16.10 Sources of Ground Bounce  
16.11 Ground Bounce in Digital Circuits  
16.12 Vcc Bounce  
16.13 Ground Current Return Path Case Study  

17.1 PCB Parasitics – Vias and Stubs  
17.2 Materials Have Finite Resistance  
17.3 PCB Trace Parasitic Resistance  
17.4 PCB Inductance  
17.5 PCB Capacitance  
17.6 Impedance Discontinuities  
17.7 Stub Effects  
17.8 Properties of Vias  
17.9 Modelling Vias  
17.10 Using Vias for RF Signals  
17.11 Controlled Impedance Vias  
17.12 Types of Via Hole  
17.13 Vias and Drill Sizes  
17.14 Stubs for Matching, Filtering and Biasing Case Study  

18.1 Rules and Processes  
18.2 Typical Design Rules  
18.3 PCB Design Rules  
18.4 Manufacturing Design Rules vs RF Design Rules  

19.1 Schematics – Good Practices  
19.2 PCB Layout Guidelines  
19.3 Review Before PCB Layout  

20.1 Schematic Review Checklist  
20.2 Component-Level Review  
20.3 PCB Layout Design Review  
20.4 Placement Checklist  
20.5 Tracking Checklist  
20.6 Geometry and Silkscreen  
20.7 Gerber Manufacturing Files  
20.8 Checklists Reference PDF  

21.1 DDR3 SODIMM Memory  
21.2 DDR2 and DDR3 Background  
21.3 Basic DRAM Chip  
21.4 Addressing Sequence  
21.5 Timing Diagram Detail  
21.6 Logic Thresholds and Signal Integrity  
21.7 Timing Accuracy  
21.8 DDR3 SODIMM – All Layers  
21.9 Layer Stack-Up  
21.10 Fly-by Connections for Control Lines  
21.11 Bi-Directional Data Bus Termination  
21.12 Termination Strategy  
21.13 A8 Tracking Example  
21.14 D8, D9, D12, D13 Termination  
21.15 DDR3 Checklist  

22.1 RF Power Amplifier  
22.2 Schematic  
22.3 RF Simulation and PCB Layout  

23.1 GPS Module Suffers Switched-Mode PSU EMC  
23.2 PCB Layout Analysis  
23.3 Experimental Solution  
23.4 Updated PCB Layout  

24.1 Manufacturability Examples  
24.2 X-Ray Analysis of Vias  
24.3 Thermal Stress on Vias  
24.4 Thermal Reliefs  
24.5 Thermal Joint Failure  
24.6 Soldering Issues  
24.7 Manufacturability X-Ray Photos  

RECENT TESTIMONIALS
“The course was very good for putting together the knowledge required for successful RF PCB designs. It was also useful to see many real life examples of both successful and problematic designs and problem solving. I feel I am much better equipped now to start working on my own designs.”

Alexey L
Senior Research Officer, University of London

“I enjoyed the course. The digital issues were familiar, but it was interesting to see them contrasted with their RF counterparts and RF techniques.”

Mark W
PCB Design Engineer, Airbus Defence and Space

“Very practical course with real-life examples and their solutions.”

Martin T
Engineer, BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation)

100% No-Risk Guarantee

We want you to be satisfied with this course and therefore offer a 100% no-risk refund guarantee. To receive a full refund, all we ask is that refund requests are made within 30 days of purchase and that you have viewed no more than 5 individual course videos.

Includes 1-year unlimited individual course access, printed notes, certificates and IEEE CEUs/PDHs

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Enroll on course $995
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