Physics 440 – Electronics – Spring 2012

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The aim of this course is to give students a practical introduction to modern electronic circuits. It consists of three weekly lectures where the theory and principles of electronic circuits will be discussed, and a three hour lab where students will get some hands-on experience with electronic circuits and a variety of instrumentation such as oscilloscopes, pulsers, power supplies and digital multimeters. The topics covered in the course will start with simple DC circuits and end in computer design of programmable logic devices (PLD's). In between we will study AC circuits, filters, diodes, bipolar transistors, FET's, operational amplifiers and a variety of digital circuits. Where possible we will make use of computer programs such as LabView and software from the Xilinx corporation to program field-programmable gate arrays (FPGA's).


Please remember to fill out the SIRS form for this course.


· Pengpeng Zhang, Professor, 4213BPS, 884-5630,

· Winston Carr, TA, sections 1 and 2,

· Joseph Glick, TA, sections 3 and 4,

Weekly schedule

· Lectures: MWF 3pm - 3:50pm, 1308BPS

· Labs: Room 1254 BPS Labs start in week 3!
Section 1: Tuesday 11:30am - 2:20pm, Carr
Section 2: Tuesday 6pm - 8:50pm, Carr
Section 3: Thursday 11:30am - 2:20pm, Glick
Section 4: Thursday 6pm - 8:50pm, Glick

· Zhang office hour: Wednesday, 2pm – 3pm, 4213BPS

· Carr office hour: Tuesday 10am – 11am, 1254 BPS

· Glick office hour: Thursday 10am - 11am, 1254 BPS

Course Schedule

The schedule of lectures and labs is at


Required text:
Martin Plonus, Electronics and Communications for Scientists and Engineers, Harcourt/Academic Press, 2001, ISBN-10: 0-12-533084-7, ISBN-13: 978-0125330848. Corrections for typos in the book are here.
Suggested Reference:
P. Horowitz and W. Hill: The Art of Electronics, Second Ed., Cambridge University Press, 1995, ISBN-10: 0521370957, ISBN-13: 978-0521370950. This book is an excellent reference and students planning to continue with electronics in future years should consider acquiring it.
Optional Reference:
Nigel P. Cook: Electronics A Complete Course, Second Ed., Person Prentice Hall, 2004, ISBN-10: 0-13-111066-7, ISBN-13: 978-0131110663. This book is very detailed and easy to follow but doesn't cover all of the material.
A. J. Diefenderfer and B. E. Holton, Principles of Electronic Instrumentation, Third Ed., Thomson Brooks/Cole, 1994, ISBN-10: 0030747090, ISBN-13: 9780030747090. This book was previously used in this course, it is older but some of the descriptions/explanations are more detailed.

Clicker Questions

We will have clicker questions during the lecture. Remember to bring your i-Clicker to each lecture.

Homeworks and Quizzes

There will be weekly homework assignments, due at the beginning of class on Fridays. Quizzes will be given during lecture; there will be roughly fourteen quizzes throughout the semester. Calculators are required for the quizzes, therefore please bring a calculator to each lecture.

Laboratory Procedure and Notebook

The laboratory part of the course consists of a series of experiments that students will perform working alone. Students will be provided with a lab notebook into which they will enter all relevant information associated with an experiment. The laboratory exercises will be performed during 2h 50min lab periods. The data entered into the notebook will be left with a laboratory instructor, for grading. No formal write up will be required, but students are cautioned to enter all relevant data and explanations clearly and succinctly so that the grader can easily follow the work done. No erasures or page removal is allowed. (This follows standards for maintaining lab notebooks within research practice.) If an error is made, it should be neatly crossed out and the corrected data re-entered. In general, there are no make-up labs (rare exceptions can be made with advance notice).
More laboratory procedure tips.


Your quiz, lab and homework scores will be available on Angel. You can also submit comments and questions through Angel.


Your Total Score will be determined by the scores on the homework assignments, quizzes, and laboratory notebook. The Total Score is weighted as follows: 20%-Homework, 30%-Quizzes, 50%-Laboratory. Grade assignments at the end of the term will be taken from the table below. (It may be shifted slightly in your favor.)

Total Score % and Grade

Minimum %