BEng Electronic Engineering with Industrial Experience

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
High Speed Digital and Mixed Signal Design

Course unit fact file
Unit code EEEN30171
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Available as a free choice unit? No


PCB Design fundamentals

            PCB construction and layout

            CAD tool design flow


            Inductance effects

            Power and ground distribution

            Layer stacks

High speed digital design

            What is meant by ‘high speed’?

            Signal propagation in distributed lines

            PCB transmission lines and termination

            Signal integrity

Mixed-signal design

            What is meant by ‘mixed signal’?

            Crosstalk management by design partitioning

            Selection and use of data converters

            Data converter support circuits 

            Clocking and jitter requirements for data converters

Introduction to electronic product design at the system level

            Architectures, grounding in distributed systems, EMC



This course unit detail provides the framework for delivery in the current academic year and may be subject to change due to any additional Covid-19 impact.  Please see Blackboard / course unit related emails for any further updates.

The unit aims to:

Introduce students to modern PCB design, including more advanced layout practices.

Enable students to recognise and apply appropriate techniques for the design of high speed digital circuits and systems

Enable students to recognise and apply appropriate techniques for the design of mixed signal circuits and systems, including selection and use of data converters and associated components


Learning outcomes


On the successful completion of the course, students will be able to:




  • Recognise common PCB features, structures, and parts, including trace types (transmission lines), layer stacks and routing techniques.




  • Describe the properties of analogue and digital signals, and both qualitatively and using calculations, how these properties can impact the design of high speed and mixed signal devices.




  • Explain the rationale behind key design concepts, including partitioning, use of PCB transmission-line techniques, layer stack usage, and clock generation and distribution quality.  




  • Select and justify appropriate data converters for given requirement using common data converter parameters and specifications. 




  • Design simple high speed digital and mixed signal PCBs using best practice methods, both at the conceptual level and using the CAD tools for schematic capture and PCB layout.




  • Use learning resources and methods appropriate to continuing professional development (articles from the professional press, technical textbooks, vendor training materials)





Teaching and learning methods

 20 hours of lectures: Largely PowerPoint based but including the use of pre-recorded videos of practical demonstrations and live demonstrations using an industry-standard CAD tool.

2 hours of small group teaching: Students discuss design problems in preparation for related coursework assignments, supported by instructor/demonstrator questioning.

3 × 3 hour laboratory classes: Practical CAD exercises, requiring deeper engagement with concepts introduced in the lectures – coursework assignments are associated with sessions 2 and 3.

Up to 30 hours (depending on previous experience of PCB CAD tools) of directed private study: Familiarisation with the design environment and basic workflows (file creation and management, schematic and layout editing). Study of book chapters and articles from the professional press describing good practice in PCB design.


Assessment methods

Method Weight
Other 20%
Written exam 80%

Duration of Lab assignment 4 hours (2x5%)

Duration of Tutorial assignment 4 hours (2x5%)

The coursework forms 20% of the total unit assessment.


Recommended reading

Students are directed to a variety of targeted resources, including book chapters, articles from the professional press, online articles and webinars.

Relevant textbooks include:

The Circuit Designer's Companion (Butterworth Heinemann), Tim Williams

High Speed Digital Design: A Handbook of Black Magic (Prentice Hall Modern Semiconductor Design), Howard W. Johnson; Martin Graham

Electromagnetic Compatibility Engineering (Wiley), Henry W. Ott

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 24
Practical classes & workshops 9
Tutorials 2
Independent study hours
Independent study 65

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Paul Wright Unit coordinator
Michael O'Toole Unit coordinator

Return to course details