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EE students get a new RF lab full of test equipment

Analog Devices and the Analog Devices Foundation have provided students at UMass Lowell with spectrum analyzers, signal generators, oscilloscopes, and other equipment.

Agilent E5052B

Agilent E5052B signal source analyzer

Lowell, Mass. — What do you do with test equipment that needs a new home? You put it to work educating future RF engineers. Recently, Analog Devices donated 23 pieces of test equipment to UMass Lowell, augmenting its RF test-equipment collection and opening a new RF lab. The equipment value is some $165,000, augmenting an already hearty collection. Plus, the Analog Devices Foundation donated an additional $125,000 so the university could equip three classrooms for remote learning. “The remote-learning classrooms were upgraded with a camera, remote tracking capabilities, computers, and lighting,” said Bryan Goldstein, VP of the Analog Devices Defense and Aerospace Business Unit.

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“Books and learning are just a piece of the puzzle,” continued Goldstein. “It’s the hands-on, real-life, day-to-day opportunity to get your hands in the lab on real equipment is where the excitement of experimentation comes from.”


HP8648D signal generator

“This lab brings together the relationship that UMass Lowell shares with Analog devices,” said Joe Hartman, UMass Lowell Provost and Vice-Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs. Hartman, who started at UMass Lowell as Dean of Engineering, addressed the lab gathering by adding “When I started, Rick Hess of Analog Devices was on the board. He introduced me to Bob Broughton with whom we started doing senior design projects. This lab is part of the next step in our relationship with Analog Devices. It helps our students learn what they need to be successful in our industry. That’s been moving toward the RF and Microwave industry for some time.”

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The lab benches are organized by maximum frequency, ranging from 3.2 GHz to 40 GHz. Test benches that cover frequencies around 3 GHz are quite useful today. After all, that’s today’s “sweet spot” of 5G radio spectrum. Many 5 G-connected IoT devices do and will operate at those frequencies.

The video below provides a quick tour of the new lab.

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