THE UNIVERSITY OF COCHIN instituted the Department of Electronics in the year 1975. This is envisaged as a postgraduate Department with Master's degree and Ph.D. programmes in frontier fields of electronics. The Department was inaugurated by Prof. M. G. K. Menon in 1975.
Realising the growing needs of trained manpower in various fields of Electronics, the University decided to start teaching programmes in the Department, anticipating formal approval of the University Grants Commission, All India Council for Technical Education etc. in due course. Initially, an M.Tech. Course was started with student strength of 6. This course has a unique aspect in the sense that the students spend their last semester in industries and R&D organizations. Their project work during this period will be supervised by senior officers/scientists of these organisations as 'external guides'. The progress made by these students in all these years is very encouraging and the interaction between the organizations and the Department is quite active. Subsequently the student strength was raised to 15, including 3 sponsored candidates.
In 1983, the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) and the University Grants Commission (UGC) extended financial support to the M.Tech. course. Special allocations of funds were granted for building, furniture, equipment, workshop, library, and other essential requirements. All students satisfying specific requirements including GATE score get Govt. of India's scholarship of Rs. 2500/- per month. In 1985, the student strength has been raised from 12 to 20 in the general category and 3 to 5 in the sponsored category. The doctoral programmes of the Department are mainly in the fields of Ocean Electronics, Microwave propagation and Antennas, Pattern recognition, Microprocessor applications, Signal processing Neural Networks etc. External agencies like the Department of Science and Technology (Govt. of India), Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Atomic Energy Commission, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and the State Government are supporting this Department through various research projects and Research Fellowships. The Department of Electronics has well-equipped Microwave Electronics Research Laboratory (MERL), centre for Ocean Electronics (CENTOL), Electronics Instrumentation and Microprocessor Research Laboratories for carrying out research work at the M.Tech. and Ph.D. levels. An S-band Radar System, Microwave Anechoic Chamber, HP 8410B, 8510C Network Analysers, Automatic turn-tables, Sweep Oscillators, XY/t recorders, Logic Scopes, Microprocessor trainer kits, Mini and Microcomputers, Microprocessor Development systems, Alpha DEC Workstations, Spectrum analysers, Dynamic Signal Analyser, Short Range Sonar, Impedance Analyser, Signal Conditioners, Local Area Networks, Underwater Transducer Evaluation Facility etc. are some of the notable infrastructural facilities of the Department. Apart from this, four Centres for advanced research and training in areas like Electronic Instrumentation, Microprocessor Applications, Microwave and Ocean Electronics have been started, with the financial support from the Ministry of Human Resource Development (Govt. of India). From 1990, the Department offers a M.Sc. degree course in Electronics Science. This course is sponsored by UGC and Department of Electronics (Govt. of India).
In 1988, the University Grants Commission has sanctioned COSIST assistance of Rs.57.85 Lakhs to the Department for the development of postgraduate education and research in the areas of Microprocessor applications and Microwave antennas.
In 1994 the Department was selected by UGC under the Special Assistance Programme at the Departmental Research Support level in the thrust area of Ocean Electronics with a financial assistance of Rs. 70.75 lakhs for a period of 5 years.
The qualifications and expertise of the faculty members of the Department are apt for conducting research in the active areas of electronics such as:
Ø Neural Networks
Ø Digital Signal Processing
Ø Liquid Crystal Displays
Ø Microwave Propagation
Ø Radar Cross Section Studies
Ø Sonar Systems
Ø Underwater Acoustics/ Ocean Electronics.
Special Centres of Research and Training in the Department
With special assistance from the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Govt. of India, four special Centres of Research and Training have been set up in the thrust areas of Technical Education.
Microwave Electronics Research Laboratory (MERL)
A well established research and training Laboratory in Microwave Electronics and Antennas has also been set up in the Department with the financial assistance from Ministry of Human Resource Development, University Grants Commission, Department of Science & Technology and Department of Electronics (Govt. of India). The Laboratory is having a Microwave Anechoic Chamber for simulating free space environment for antenna and RCS measurements. The chamber can be converted into a rectangular or tapered one as per the requirements. The chamber has instrumentation set-up attached to it with provision for fully automatic measurement based on HP 8510 B Network Analyser and Scientific Atlanta positioner and controller. This Laboratory in collaboration with Sophisticated Test and Instrumentation Centre (STIC) has indigenously developed a positioner and controller for automatic antenna and RCS studies. The Department has developed a user-friendly software for quick and precise antenna measurement and analysis. The major areas of research now being pursued are Microstrip Antennas and transmission lines, super conducting microwave transmission lines, integrated circuits and antennas, microwave horn antennas, reflector antennas, leaky wave antennas, dielectric resonator antennas, material characterisation at microwave region, microwave non-destructive testing etc.
Centre for Ocean Electronics (CENTOL)
A centre for Research and Training in Ocean Electronics (CENTOL) has been set up in the Department with the financial assistance from Ministry of Human Resource Development, Govt. of India. An amount of Rs. 32 lakhs was sanctioned by the Ministry in two instalments for the Centre. This Centre has a fully instrumented Underwater Transducer Evaluation Facility for conducting preliminary studies on the performance of Underwater Transducers. University Grants Commission had approved the establishment of the Centre during the VIII plan period with essential staff and infrastructure. Developments of innovative Transducers and Arrays for Underwater applications, Marine Data Logging Systems etc are the major activities of this Centre. UGC has also supported the activities of this centre under the DRS programme and extended a financial assistance of Rs. 70.75 lakhs
Centre for Research in Microprocessor Applications (CRMA)
This centre was set up with the aid from the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India. A total grant of Rs. 45 lakhs has been sanctioned for setting up this Centre. The Centre is equipped with Microcomputer systems, a large number of microprocessor system support cards including Memory Cards, Dynamic Memories, Battery Back up Cards, A/D & D/A cards, Relay Cards, Opto Coupler cards, Peripheral controller cards etc., stand alone VDU's and three Microprocessor Development Systems: One is a 16-bit system from Hewlett Packard and the other two are from Intel Corporation-the 8 bit Personal Development system and the 16 bit stand alone development system. The Centre is equipped with multipurpose bus running throughout to accommodate most commonly used buses.
Research work undertaken in this Centre are in the areas of Multiprocessors, Protocols for Multiprocessors, Speech Processing, Pattern Recognition, etc.
Electronic Instrumentation Research Laboratory (EIRL)
The EIRL was set up in 1983 with the aid from the Ministry of Education & Culture, Government of India. A total grant of Rs. 50 lakhs has been sanctioned for setting up this laboratory. The Laboratory is equipped with Sensors and Transducers, Signal Conditioners, Measuring and Display units, Microprocessor system support cards for A/D & D/A conversion, Data Logging. Analog-Hybrid Computer, Process Control Trainer System, Logic Analysers, Scopes and General Purpose Measuring Instruments.
Research work is being carried out in the areas of Electronic Instrumentation and Microprocessor Based Measurement and Control Systems. The ElRL also proposes to set up a Standards Laboratory.
The Department conducts two biennial National Symposia in the areas of Antennas & Propagation and Ocean Electronics, effective from 1988.
The technical biasing of the University, spectacular growth of electronics industries in Kerala and the location of the University in the industrial belt of the state are all favourable aspects for hope of substantial development of this Department.