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tennessee technological university

Electrical and Computer Engineering

General Description

The devices and electromagnetics area includes several subspecialties grouped for convenience in this area. They include physical electronics, semiconductor theory, electromagnetics, microwaves, optics, antennas, plasmas, and gaseous electronics. Physical electronics and semiconductor theory provide the theoretical and physical basis for electronic devices used in electronic, telecommunication, control, digital and power systems. Physical electronics, semiconductor theory and electromagnetics prepare the student for courses in optical, microwave and antenna theory and design, and for plasma and gaseous electronic theory.

Relation to Other Areas

Physical electronics courses are very closely related to almost all of the other emphasis areas. They provide a theoretical background for the devices used in electronic digital, control, power and telecommunication systems and in the fabrication of these devices. Electromagnetic theory is applied to telecommunication and power devices. An especially close relationship exists between telecommunications systems, which include antennas which may be implemented at microwave or optical frequencies. Gaseous electronics is closely related to switchgear used in the power industry.

Job Opportunities

The information revolution is being partially driven by the development of new devices such as lasers, laser diodes, optical fibers, and very large scale integrated circuits. Such development becomes possible with advances in semiconductor material theory and fabrication. Consumer markets for microwave devices and systems, ie, microwave ovens and satellite communications, have evolved and, in the communication and information areas, have the potential for tremendous growth. The development of cellular telephone and satellite communication technology will result in a huge demand for related consumer products. The transmission of electric power demands sophisticated switchgear for the quick interruption of faults. The engineering of gas mixtures allows the development of switching devices with a performance that is optimum for a particular application. Since few graduates have specialized in the various physical electronics areas, jobs in design, development, fabrication, manufacturing, sales and applications will continue to exceed the number of job applicants.

Focus Area Electives (Senior Sequences)

The following are required courses to complete this focus area.

  • Any two courses from the following list:
    • ECE 4510 Electromagnetic Fields II
    • ECE 4520 Optoelectronic Engineering
    • ECE 4570 Introduction to Gaseous Electronics (note: course no longer available)
    • ECE 4950 Introduction to MicroElectroMechanical Systems (MEMS) (note: course no longer available)
  • ECE 3560 EM Simulation Laboratory *

* ECE 3560 not required if following 2011 or earlier curriculum.


The following courses are in the devices and electromagnetics area.

  • ECE 3510 Electromagnetic Fields I
  • ECE 3540 Physical Electronics
  • ECE 3560 EM Simulation Laboratory
  • ECE 4510 Electromagnetic Fields II
  • ECE 4520 Optoelectronic Engineering