Physics 440 – Electronics – Spring 2018

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The aim of this course is to give students a practical introduction to modern electronic circuits. It consists of two 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,

· Artemis Spyrou, Professor, 2008NSCL, 908-7141,

· Tom-Erik Haugen, TA,

· Jacob Bullard, TA,

Weekly schedule

· Lectures: MWF 12:40 PM - 1:30 PM, 1300 BPS

· Labs: Room 1254 BPS Labs start in week 3!
Section 1: Tuesday 11:30am - 2:20pm (Tom-Erik Haugen)
Section 2: Tuesday 6pm - 8:50pm (Tom-Erik Haugen)
Section 3: Thursday 11:30am - 2:20pm (Prof. Spyrou)

· Zhang office hour: Wednesday 1:30pm – 2:30pm, 4213 BPS (lecture related)

· Spyrou office hour: Thursday 10:30am – 11:30am, 1254 BPS (lab related)

· Haugen office hour: Tuesday 10:30am – 11:30am, 1254 BPS

· Bullard office hour: Wednesday 2:30pm – 3:30pm, 1248 BPS help room

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 twelve quizzes throughout the semester. Calculators are required for the quizzes, therefore please bring a calculator to each lecture. In general, there are no make-up quizzes (rare exceptions may be made with advance notice).

Laboratory Procedure and Notebook

The laboratory part of the course consists of a series of experiments that students will perform working alone. Students will need to purchase 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.

Tier II Writing Requirement

Because this course can partially fulfill the Tier II Writing requirement for physics majors, there will be a 5-10 page research paper written as a journal article due near the end of the semester. The paper will be graded for style, grammar and form, as well as for content and presentation. The rough draft of this research paper will be due on Friday, April 13, and the final draft will be due on Friday, April 27, which is the last day of the lecture. Your score on the research paper will weight 10% in the final grade.


Your quiz, lab, homework, and research paper scores will be available on D2L. You can also access homework solutions through D2L.


Your Total Score will be determined by the scores on the homework assignments, quizzes, and laboratory performance. The Total Score is weighted as follows: 10%-Research Paper, 20%-Homework, 20%-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 %