prof.dr. E.W. McCune

Parttime Professor
Electronic Circuits and Architectures (ELCA), Department of Microelectronics

Expertise: Sustainable Wireless Systems, RF electronics, wireless design and technology

Prof. Earl McCune sadly passed away on May 27, 2020. We will always remember and miss him for his boundless enthusiasm, humor and unselfish commitment to education and research in the field of wireless communication.

Themes: RF electronics


In Memoriam – Earl McCune (1956 – 2020)

Tuesday, 2 June 2020

In one of his last interviews, Earl told us that he was willing to fight a few persistent beliefs in the field of wireless communication. For instance, he was busy making 5G more energy efficient. A challenge in which, according to Earl, all links in the communication chain need to be overhauled. Being both a professor at TU Delft and entrepreneur in California, Earl was involved in several major projects in this field. In Silicon Valley, he followed the idea of building a single large switch in which the available power varies each time. At TU Delft he worked with various groups on a solution consisting of hundreds of smaller transistors of variable size.

The love for building things

One evening, when Earl was twelve, his father explained a few months’ worth of network theory of electrical circuits to him. From that moment on, Earl became enchanted by the subject. As a result, he worked on technology development in the field of radiofrequency and wireless design for more than 45 years, most of which he spent in industry. ‘I just love to build things,’ Earl told about that, ‘and I have seen a lot of what works, and what doesn’t work.’ Although he actually enjoyed his early retirement in California, he couldn’t do nothing. Because he still wanted to help solve society’s problems, he accepted a position as professor at TU Delft.

Warm personality

Earl will not only be remembered for his boundless enthusiasm for the improvement of systems, and the inexhaustible amount of knowledge he brought with him; more than that, Earl was a mentor, an inspirer, an adventurer and a warm personality who put a smile on many people's faces with his dry sense of Californian humour.

Leo de Vreede

It is with great sadness that we announce the sudden and untimely death of Earl McCune, IEEE Fellow (‘18) on May 27, 2020, in Santa Clara, California, USA. He was 63 and is survived by his wife, Barbara. At the time of his passing, Earl was a Professor of Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands, a tireless and long-time IEEE volunteer, as well as CTO and cofounder of Eridan Communications, Inc., California, USA. Earl’s longstanding passion for sustainable and energy-efficient radio frequency communications was an essential part of Eridan’s founding inspiration, and his colleagues are deeply saddened to lose his vision, steady leadership and generous spirit. That vision and commitment will also be missed by the IEEE communities that relied on his expertise in developing standards, guiding a roadmap for future network generations, or his willingness to provide necessary reality checks. Although Earl’s time at Delft was sadly cut short, the staff and students of the Microelectronics Department will always remember him for his boundless enthusiasm, humor and unselfish commitment to education and research in the field of wireless communication. His expertise and devotion to radio electronics — and equally importantly— his ability to bring all kinds of students, scientists and businesspeople together, and inspire them with his ideas and dreams, will be greatly missed in Delft, in California, and by his many friends and collaborators around the world.

John Schmitz
Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands

Doug Kirkpatrick
Eridan Communications, Inc., California, USA

Ashutosh Dutta
IEEE Future Networks Initiative


Earl McCune (S’78–M’79–SM’97–F’18) received the B.S.E.E./C.S. degree from the University of California (UC), Berkeley, CA, USA, the M.S.E.E. degree from Stanford University, and the Ph.D. degree from UC Davis, CA, USA. He was a Silicon Valley serial entrepreneur, with 93 issued U.S. patents and the author of two books. His research interests included RF circuits and systems, including modulation design, with an emphasis on the joint optimization of throughput and energy efficiency while also minimizing implementation cost. He was an emeritus MTT Distinguished Microwave Lecturer, a member of multiple IEEE conference committees and served as the Chair of the Energy Efficient Communications Hardware Standards Working Group. His considerable work experience included stints at NASA, Hewlett-Packard, Watkins-Johnson, Cushman Electronics, Digital RF Solutions (start-up #1), Proxim, Tropian (start-up #2) and Panasonic, and Eridan (start-up #3) where he was CTO. He was a Professor of Delft University of Technology, where he held the chair of sustainable wireless systems.

Energy Efficient Wideband Transmitter, NXP Partnership ‘Advanced 5G Solutions’

This project providing enhanced average efficiency in wideband wireless transmitters while withstanding the changing load conditions that can occur in handheld devices and MIMO/smart-antenna communication systems.

  1. A Wideband I/Q RFDAC-Based Phase Modulator
    Yiyu Shen; Michael Polushkin; Mohammad Reza Mehrpoo; Mohsen Hashemi; Earl McCune; Morteza S. Alavi; Leo C. N. de Vreede,;
    In (accepted RWS 2018).,

  2. A wideband I/Q RFD AC-based phase modulator
    Shen, Yiyu; Polushkin, Michael; Mehrpoo, Mohammadreza; Hashemi, Mohsen; McCune, Earl; Alavi, Morteza S.; de Vreede, Leo C. N.;
    In 2018 IEEE 18th Topical Meeting on Silicon Monolithic Integrated Circuits in RF Systems (SiRF),
    pp. 8-11, 2018. DOI: 10.1109/SIRF.2018.8304215

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Last updated: 8 Jun 2020

Earl McCune