How to Learn Practical ASIC and Board Design in Just One Year

Prof. Eckhard Hennig

The 1,5-year Power Electronics and Microelectronics Master curriculum at Reutlingen University is centered around a one-year team laboratory project. In this project, starting from day zero of the curriculum, students gain hands-on experience with the joint development of a complex electronic system with microelectronic and power electronics components from specification capture over system architecture, ASIC, and PCB design to prototype implementation and test. Recent project assignments include the design of delta-sigma, or PWM modulated Class D audio amplifiers with gallium nitride power devices and developing a sensorless power controller for a switched reluctance motor. All assignments include the design of an analog or mixed-signal CMOS ASIC for signal processing and control purposes.
In this talk, I will present our learning-by-doing approach to teaching electronics design and discuss the organizational, technological, and financial requirements that must be met to make such complex projects feasible with students that have had little, if any, previous exposure to the theory and practice of ASIC design.