3209 MEMO 2009

3209 MEMO 2009 - ECE 3209 Electromagnetic Fields University...

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ECE 3209 — Electromagnetic Fields University of Virginia Fall 2009 As you study and learn about the different specialized areas of electrical engineering, many of you might notice that only a few of your courses make explicit reference to electromagnetic fields. In fact, many of the engineers that work in signal processing, controls, digital systems or computer architecture never need to calculate an electric field magnitude or worry about magnetic vector potentials. Part of the reason is that much of engineering design is done at a “system” level where the details of electromagnetic field distributions or the inner workings of semiconductor components are unnecessary complications. Given this, you might be tempted to ask why is it necessary to learn about electromagnetic fields? Electromagnetics was the first “specialized” area in electrical engineering and continues to be the foundation upon which all modern electrical systems rely. This is not always obvious because electromagnetic field theory is often “hidden” or disguised by a simpler set of rules. Most engineers are familiar with Kirchhoff’s Laws which are used to design and analyze elec- trical circuits. Kirchhoff’s Laws, however, are really simplified versions of more general laws known as Maxwell’s Equations. Maxwell’s Equations are the fundamental rules governing the behavior of electromagnetic fields and, as a consequence, are the basis for all electrical and electronic systems. Perhaps the field in which electromagnetics is used most explicitly is the microwave and wireless RF industry. The RF industry is quite large: microwave systems have been a vital technology for our nation’s defense since World War II and, more recently, the commercial and consumer applications of microwave and RF systems have grown at an unprecedented rate thanks to development of wireless networks, high-bandwidth personal communications, au- tomotive collision avoidance radar, and navigation systems for aircraft and ships. Moreover, the speed of computer CPU’s has continued to increase with the development of nanometer- scale CMOS devices enabling clock rates well into the Gigahertz region. At these frequencies, metal traces on printed circuit boards can radiate as antennas and there can be very strong coupling between signals on adjacent traces. In addition, one must be very careful to account for propagation delays and reflected signals bouncing back and forth within a printed circuit. With all this going on, signals do not look much like simple “1”’s and “0”’s anymore. To understand these phenomena and properly account for them, future designers of high-speed digital systems must be proficient with electromagnetic field theory. The goal of this course is for you to learn the basic laws of electromagnetism and how
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3209 MEMO 2009 - ECE 3209 Electromagnetic Fields University...

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