Review of op-amps, their
characteristics and limitations; feedback; oscillators;
noise and drift; field-effect transistors; digital circuits;
D/A and A/D converters; modulation and communication systems;
course assumes a familiarity with basic electronics; i.e.,
passive components (resistors, capacitors and inductors),
transistors and op-amps, together with simple AC and DC
circuit theory. Specifically, it is assumed that the
student is familiar with and understands the following
chapters from Horowitz and Hill The Art of Electronics
(second edition): 1, 2, 4.00 – 4.10, 8.00 – 8.09.
Students should be able to read circuit diagrams and analyse
simple circuits such as transistor and op-amp amplifier
circuits. An ideal preparation for the course is PHYS2630.
course begins with a review of simple op-amp circuits
and their analysis via the two “golden rules”. The limitations
of op-amps are then studied in detail, both from a theoretical
perspective and in a series of laboratory measurements.
The different types of op-amps are discussed, together
with a brief introduction to the trade-offs encountered
in selecting specific devices.
are then used as a way to introduce the concept of negative
feedback, followed by a theoretical analysis of the advantages
of this technique. In the laboratory, a simple experiment
gives a dramatic illustration of how negative feedback
can be used to reduce distortion.
is studied both from a theoretical and a practical standpoint.
Johnson noise, shot noise and 1/f are introduced.
Effect Transistors are studied in the laboratory in parallel
with lectures on their construction, theory of operation
and typical applications. Laboratory projects include
construction of an “automatic volume control” which automatically
varies the gain of an amplifier to keep the output level
different types of oscillator are introduced and categorised.
In the laboratory, a range of simple oscillators are constructed
and their performance analysed.
concepts are reviewed in the lectures, followed by an
introduction to Digital-to-Analog and Analog-to-Digital
Converters (DACs and ADCs). In the laboratory, a simple
flash ADC is constructed to illustrate the principle.
different modulation schemes (AM, FM, SSB, etc) used in
radio communication are introduced by way of a lecture
demonstration. A theoretical analysis of the modulation
process is conducted. This leads to an introduction to
the digital modulation techniques that form the basis
for modern mobile phones, computer modems etc.
lecture course concludes with a discussion of lock-in
detection and bandwidth narrowing techniques. If time
permits, a lecture demonstration will be used to illustrate
the power of lock-in detection by showing how a feeble
light source on the other side of the room can be reliably
detected even in the presence of fluctuating ambient lighting.
final laboratory-based component involves the construction
of a small electronic circuit to give an introduction
to modern electronic construction techniques. Starting
with a circuit diagram, students create a printed circuit
board (PCB) layout using a computer-aided design package.
The PCB is then fabricated in our own Electronic Workshop
using a chemical-free high-speed milling process. After
instruction in the art of soldering, students then complete
the device and fit it into a small box – the finishing
touch being a front-panel label of their own design.
course aims to provide both a theoretical background to
electronics and sufficient hands-on practice to give students
confidence in understanding, designing, building and trouble-shooting
electronic circuits. These skills will be invaluable
whether your career leads into experimental research or
industry, and in understanding why and how the “electronics
revolution” has been so effective and complete.
sample exam is given here.
assignments are given each year, examples are shown here.
is electronics important?
answer this question, simply count the number of ways
that electronics has influenced your life already today.
to succeed - Strategies for Learning
is a bit like riding a horse – some theory is essential
but there is no substitute for experience. Students are
encouraged to “tinker” in the laboratory and design their
own circuits and modifications. You may be able to convince
yourself – and even your lecturer – that you understand
something but, in the end, if the circuit you build doesn’t
work the way you want it to, you still have something
the laboratory, students may choose to work in pairs or
individually. The construction project at the end of
the session is usually done in pairs, although two devices
are constructed to that each student can complete their