Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Electrical Engineering


Electrical Engineering


Dennis Derickson


With the growth of wireless communications, comes the need for engineers knowledgeable in 3D electromagnetic (EM) simulation of high-frequency circuits. To give electrical engineering students a better understanding of the behavior of electromagnetic fields, experiments including the use of 3D EM simulation software were proposed. Most students get lost in differential equations, curls, and divergences; this thesis aims to remedy that by exposing them to 3D EM simulation, which may motivate them toward further study in electromagnetics. Also, experience using EMPro is very beneficial for future RF/microwave/antenna engineers, as use of 3D EM simulation is becoming a requirement for this field. 3D EM simulators solve problems where using classical analysis techniques is impractical. Classical EM solutions to simple objects such as boxes, cylinders, and spheres, are widely known; but when the object is more complex, numerical approaches are preferred for their speed.

Currently, Cal Poly does not use 3D electromagnetic simulation in any of its courses. Targeted relevant courses include EE 335/375: EM Fields & Transmission Lines, EE 402: EM Waves, EE 405/445: High-Frequency Amplifier Design, EE 425/455: Analog Filter Design, EE 502: Microwave Engineering, and EE 533: Antennas. As a starting point, EE 425/455 was targeted.

In choosing which filters to investigate, simplicity and cost were the most important factors. For simplicity, transverse electromagnetic (TEM) mode filters were chosen; also, using a trough design for these filters would allow for simple construction and access. Also, a circular waveguide filter was chosen as an alternative to the TEM filters, as the modes are either transverse electric or transverse magnetic. To lower costs, printed circuit board was used to construct the filters, along with brass tubing, semi-rigid coaxial cable, and copper plumbing caps.

From these guidelines, three electronic bandpass filter experiments were investigated: a 1 GHz half-wave coaxial resonator filter, a 2 GHz copper end cap filter, and a tunable 1 GHz quarter-wave coaxial resonator filter. Electric and magnetic field coupling was used to excite the filters. They were then simulated using finite difference time domain (FDTD) simulations in Agilent EMPro. From the simulations, tradeoffs between insertion loss and bandwidth were observed. After, the filters were built and measured using a network analyzer. The quarter-wave filter was incorporated in Cal Poly’s EE 455 course during spring 2012. Students completed an EMPro tutorial, simulated the filters, and measured them using network analyzers. Student feedback was mixed, and modifications were made for future implementations.