Jun 18, 2024  
2020-2021 Graduate Catalog 
2020-2021 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Electrical and Computer Engineering


Professor Dinesh Rajan, Chair

Professors: Jerome K. Butler, Jung-Chih Chiao, Marc P. Christensen, Scott C. Douglas, Gary A. Evans, Ping Gui, Duncan L. MacFarlane, Suku Nair, Panos E. Papamichalis, Behrouz Peikari, Dinesh Rajan, Ron Rohrer, Mitch Thornton
Associate Professors: Joseph D. Camp, Carlos E. Davila, James G. Dunham, Jennifer Dworak, Mohammad Khodayar, Choon S. Lee, Jianhui Wang
Assistant Professors: Kkevin Brenner, Prasanna Rangarajan
Senior Lecturer: M. Scott Kingsley
Adjunct Faculty: Ravindra Athale, Veepsa Bhatia, Sudipto Chakraborty, Joseph R. Cleveland, Mohamed Ezzat, John Fattaruso, Dilshan Godaliyadda, Clark D. Kinnaird, Rajin Koonjbearry, Bhalaji Kumar, Joseph Mait, Peter Nguyen, James Olivier, John Rhymer, Steven G. Pelosi, Robert Perkins, Kamakshi Sridhar, Nagarajan Sridhar, Dario J. Villarreal Suarez, John Widhalm

General Information

The discipline of electrical and computer engineering is at the core of today’s technology-driven society. Personal computers, computer-communications networks, integrated circuits, optical technologies, digital signal processors and wireless communications systems have revolutionized the way people live and work, and extraordinary advances in these fields are announced every day. Degrees in electrical and computer engineering offer exceptional opportunities for financial security, personal satisfaction and an expansion of the frontiers of technology. The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at SMU offers a full complement of courses at the bachelor’s degree level in communications, networks, digital signal processing, optoelectronics, electromagnetics, microelectronics, computer architecture, digital systems, and hardware security.

The mission of the department is as follows:

Through quality instruction and scholarly research, to engage each student in a challenging electrical and computer engineering education that prepares graduates for the full range of career opportunities in the high-technology marketplace and enables them to reach their fullest potential as a professional and as a member of society.

Departmental goals include the following:

  • Becoming one of the nation’s leading electrical and computer engineering departments by building peaks of research excellence and by being a leader in innovative educational programs.
  • Offering undergraduate curricula that equips graduates for careers that require ingenuity, integrity, logical thinking, and the ability to work and communicate in teams, and for the pursuit of graduate degrees in engineering or other fields such as business, medicine and law.
  • Offering world-class Ph.D. programs that prepare graduates for academic careers, for research careers in the high-technology industry or for technical entrepreneurship.
  • Promoting lifelong learning animated by a passion for the never-ending advance of technology.

Department Facilities

The department has access to the Lyle School of Engineering academic computing resources, consisting of shared-use computer servers and desktop client systems connected to a network backbone. In addition to servers and shared computational resources, the Lyle School of Engineering maintains a number of individual computing laboratories associated with the departments. Specific department laboratory facilities for instruction and research include the following:

Antenna Laboratory. This laboratory consists of two facilities for fabrication and testing. Most of the antennas fabricated at the SMU antenna lab are microstrip antennas. Antennas are made with milling machines. Fabricated antennas are characterized with a network analyzer. Workstations are available for antenna design and simulation with COMSOL and HFSS. Radiation characteristics are measured at the SMU Antenna Characterization Chamber in the SMU East campus, where the frequency ranges from 500 MHz to 40 GHz.

Biomedical Engineering Laboratory. This laboratory contains instrumentation for carrying out research in electrophysiology and psychophysics. Four Grass physiographs permit the measurement of electroencephalograms as well as visual and auditory evoked brain potentials. The lab also contains a state-of-the-art dual Purkinje eye tracker and image stabilizer, a Vision Research Graphics 21-inch Digital Multisync Monitor for displaying visual stimuli, and a Cambridge Research Systems visual stimulus generator capable of generating a variety of stimuli for use in psychophysical and electro-physiological experiments.

Circuit Fabrication Laboratory. This lab is fully equipped with modern fabrication tools to design and fabricate multi-layer circuit boards of various sizes, complexity, and design rules, ideally suited for RF and microwave applications. An automated circuit board plotter produces PCB prototypes from CAD files, for both rigid and flexible substrates. An integrated through-hole electroplating system yields reliable copper layers on the surfaces of all existing vias, including multilayer boards. The boards are passed through six cascaded baths that are integrated in a safe enclosed benchtop system. Multi-layer boards are fabricated using a benchtop multi-layer hydraulic press to aid in bonding the layers together. The lab also includes an automated de-solder/solder tool for surface mount components, and supporting instruments such as oscilloscopes, multi-meters, and microscopes. 

Integrated Circuits and Systems Laboratory. This facility has state-of-the-art design tools and equipment to conduct design, simulations, and measurements of integrated circuits and systems. The tools, facility and equipment include electronic design automation (EDA) tools such as Cadence, ADS, Synopsys, HFSS, and Xilinx software; IC measurement equipment including a high-speed sampling oscilloscope, spectrum analyzer, RF signal sources and a network analyzer. The SMU high-performance computer cluster is used for mixed-signal simulations.

NeuroMechatronics Lab. This laboratory is a fully equipped biomechatronics facility, which supports the activities of faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate students in theoretical and experimental tasks related to research in human-robot interfaces. The lab has the equipment to analyze, interpret, and decode the biomechanics and biological signals of human across a wide range of activities. In addition, this laboratory has the equipment to rapid prototype and test data-driven control systems in robotic and wearable devices designed to improve the quality of life in impaired individuals. The main equipment in the lab consists of a 16-camera motion capture system, wireless electromyography and electroencephalography sensors, and a lower-limb robotic exoskeleton.

Multimedia Systems Laboratory. This facility includes an acoustic chamber with adjoining recording studio to allow high- quality sound recordings to be made. The chamber is sound isolating with double- or triple-wall Sheetrock on all four sides, as well as an isolating ceiling barrier above the drop ceiling. The walls of the chamber have been constructed to be nonparallel to avoid flutter echo and dominant frequency modes. Acoustic paneling on the walls of the chamber are removable and allow the acoustic reverberation time to be adjusted to simulate different room acoustics. The control room next to the acoustic chamber includes a large, 4-foot-by-8-foot acoustic window and an inert acoustic door facing the acoustic chamber. Up to 16 channels of audio can be carried in or out of the chamber to the control room. Experiments conducted in the Multimedia Systems Laboratory include blind source separation, deconvolution and dereverberation. Several of the undergraduate courses in electrical engineering use sound and music to motivate system-level design and signal processing applications. The Multimedia Systems Laboratory can be used in these activities to develop data sets for use in classroom experiments and laboratory projects for students to complete.

Wireless Systems Laboratory. This laboratory contains an array of infrastructure for experimentation across a number of wireless frequency bands, platforms and environments for research and instruction in lab-based courses on wireless communications and networking. The infrastructure includes 1) state-of-the-art test equipment for repeatability, control and observability of wireless channels, including complex channel emulators, fixed and mobile spectrum analyzers, wide-band oscilloscopes, and signal generators; 2) a wide range of reprogrammable wireless testbeds that operate from 400 MHz to 6 GHz for IEEE 802.11, cellular, and Bluetooth network and protocol development; and 3) diverse mobile phones, drones and tablets that enable participatory sensing, context-aware applications and large-scale deployment in the field. The in-lab infrastructure is also enhanced by multiple outdoor antennas deployed on campus buildings and buses for understanding real wireless channels.

Photonic Architectures Laboratory. This laboratory is a fully equipped optomechanical prototyping facility, supporting the activities of faculty and graduate students in experimental and analytical tasks. The lab is ideally suited for the prototyping, integration and testing of optical devices and systems. It includes infrastructure for imaging at microscopic and macroscopic scales. The lab has five optical tables three of which include vibration isolation. It also contains an assortment of light sources, both coherent and incoherent sources, at visible and infrared wavelengths. Devices for patterning light including Spatial Light Modulators, deformable mirror and pattern projectors. The lab also includes an assortment of detectors ranging from single pixel area detectors to focal plane arrays (FPA) at visible and infrared wavelengths. The lab additionally contains lock-in FPA’s and Time-of-Flight (ToF) sensors featuring support for per-pixel homodyne detection. The lab also hosts a variety of measurement equipment including a wavefront sensor and a surface profilometer. A vast array of manual and motorized optomechanical components are also available. Support electronics hardware includes various test instrumentation, such as arbitrary waveform generators, and a variety of CAD tools for optical and electronic design, including optical ray trace and finite difference time domain software.

Photonic Characterization Laboratory. This laboratory is dedicated to characterizing the optical and electrical properties of photonic devices. Equipment in this laboratory program includes optical spectrum analyzers, optical multimeters, visible and infrared cameras, an automated laser characterization system for edge-emitting lasers, a manual probe test system for surface-emitting lasers, a manual probe test system for edge-emitting laser die and bars, and near- and far-field measurement systems. 

Photonics Devices and Systems Laboratory. The PDSL houses a wealth of resources for developing and applying photonic components, devices and systems, including optics, mounting hardware, optical tables, design software, electronic instrumentation and fabrication equipment. Examples of ongoing research areas include communications and instrumentation, particularly for biomedical applications.

Photonics Simulation Laboratory. This laboratory has developed and continuously updates software for modeling and designing semiconductor lasers, optical waveguides, optical fibers, couplers, switches and optical waveguide isolators. These programs include:

  • WAVEGUIDE: Calculates near-field, far-field and effective indices of dielectric waveguides and semiconductor lasers. Each layer can contain gain or loss.
  • GAIN: Calculates the gain as a function of energy, carrier density and current density for strained and unstrained quantum wells for a variety of material systems.
  • GRATING: Uses the Floquet Bloch approach and the boundary element method to calculate reflection, transmission and outcoupling of dielectric waveguides and laser structures with periodic layers or interfaces.
  • FIBER: Calculates the fields, effective index, group velocity and dispersion for fibers with circularly symmetric index of refraction profiles.
  • WAVEGUIDEISOLATOR: Calculates the bi-directional propagation constants in optical waveguides with ferromagnetic layers for the design, fabrication and analysis of integrated waveguide isolators.

Semiconductor Processing Cleanroom. The 2,800 square-foot cleanroom, consisting of a 2,400 square-foot, Class 10,000 room and a Class 1,000 lithography area of 400 square feet, is located in the Jerry R. Junkins Engineering Building. A partial list of equipment in this laboratory includes acid and solvent hoods, photoresist spinners, two contact mask aligners, a thermal evaporator, a plasma asher, a plasma etcher, a turbo-pumped methane hydrogen reactive ion etcher, a four-target sputtering system, a plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition reactor, a diffusion-pumped four pocket e-beam evaporator, an ellipsometer and profilometers. Other equipment includes a boron-trichloride reactive ion etcher, a chemical-assisted ion-beam etcher, a four-tube diffusion furnace, numerous optical microscopes and a scanning electron microscope. The cleanroom is capable of processing silicon, compound (III-V) semiconductors and piezo-electric materials for microelectronic, photonic and nanotechnology devices. 

Submicron Grating Laboratory. This laboratory is dedicated to holographic grating fabrication and has the capability of 70 nm lines and spaces. Equipment in this laboratory includes a floating air table, a 266 nm UV laser, and an Atomic Force Microscope. This laboratory is used to make photonic devices with periodic features such as distributed feedback, distributed Bragg reflector, and grating-outcoupled and photonic crystal semiconductor lasers along with grating couplers and silicon photonic devices. Measurements of radiation patterns of millimeter wave gratings can be evaluated in the W band.

Graduate Programs

The discipline of electrical and computer engineering is at the core of today’s technology-driven society. Personal computers, computer-communications networks, integrated circuits, optical technologies, digital signal processors and wireless communications systems have revolutionized the way people live and work, and extraordinary advances in these fields are announced every day. In today’s truly technological society, graduate education in electrical and computer engineering offers exceptional opportunities for financial security and personal satisfaction.

The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at SMU offers a full complement of courses at the master’s and Ph.D. level in biomedical devices, computer architecture, CAD, wireless communication networks, digital signal processing, lasers and optoelectronics, photonics, electromagnetics, microelectronics, VLSI design, systems and control, and image processing and computer vision. The courses and curriculum are designed and continuously updated to prepare the student for engineering research, design and development at the forefront of these fields.

A professionally oriented master’s degree in telecommunications systems is also offered through the Electrical Engineering Department, and courses in the curriculum (designated EETS) prepare the student for leadership roles in telecommunications systems management and planning and for developing new telecommunications products, services and applications.

Graduate Degrees. The Electrical and Computer Engineering Department offers the following graduate degrees:


    Electrical and Computer Engineering

    For ECE courses, the third digit in the course number designator indicates the subject area represented by the course. The courses for the master’s degree in telecommunications are indicated by the prefix EETS. The EETS course descriptions are listed following the ECE courses. The following designators are used for ECE courses:

    XX1X Electronic Materials
    XX2X Electronic Devices
    XX3X Quantum Electronics and Electromagnetic Theory
    XX4X Biomedical Science
    XX5X Network Theory and Circuits
    XX6X Systems
    XX7X Information Science and Communication Theory
    XX8X Computers and Digital Systems
    XX9X Individual Instruction, Research, Seminar and Special Project

    Telecommunications and Network Engineering

    EETS courses are designed for the M.S. degree in telecommunications or are taken as a part of the M.S.E.E. with the telecommunications specialization option.

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