Curriculum Integration Example
Example:  Arizona State University Students Link Electromagnetics and Electronics Materials
Electromagnetics and properties of electronic materials are two of the most challenging areas of electrical engineering. At ASU, Professor Ronald Roedel and coworkers use wave phenomena to integrate the material and offer students challenging and more realistic problems. Roedel unites concepts, like matter waves, electromagnetic waves, and lattice vibrations, to create a strong, interdisciplinary foundation.

Example Problem:  Develop a nondestructive technique to examine regrowth kinetics of a silicon wafer implanted with silicon ions and the interface between the thin amorphous layer near the top of the wafer and the crystalline region below. Because amorphous and crystalline silicon have different relative permitivities, consider using a He-Ne laser to illuminate the wafer. As the interface moves, the thickness of the amorphous layer changes, and the reflectance should change. Set up the wave equations for normal incidence reflection from a two interface dielectric system and solve these equations to determine the thickness of the amorphous layer. Then find the velocity of the amorphous/crystalline interface.

Instead of compartmentalizing material into either "solid state" or "electromagnetics" arenas, students who tackle problems like the one above see the need for thinking and problem solving skills at the analysis and synthesis levels. [1] Roedel developed the Wave Concepts Inventory (WCI) [2] to measure students' conceptual understanding of the material. Using the WCI, Roedel has shown that students who have taken the integrated course have a stronger conceptual understanding of electromagnetics and electronic materials than students who take the separate courses.


References for further information

  1. Roedel, R.J., S. El-Ghazaly and J.T. Aberle, An Integrated Upper Division Course in Electronic Materials and Electromagnetic Engineering—"Wave Phenomena for Electrical Engineers," Proceedings, 1998 Frontiers in Education, Tempe, AZ,
  2. Roedel, R.J., S. El-Ghazaly, T.R. Rhoads and E. El-Sharawy, "The Wave Concepts Inventory—An Assessment Tool for Courses in Electromagnetic Engineering Engineers," Proceedings, 1998 Frontiers in Education, Tempe, AZ,