First Cycle Degree


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First semester
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Learning outcomes of the course unit

At the end of fo the course the students should be able:
- to know basic principles of analogic electronics, microscopic details of elemental electronic devices (pn junction, transistor, MOSFET), main topics of solid state physics;
- to design a setup for measurement and control of a physical quantity (project work);
- to make and manage the experiment model on the basis of the draft;
- to identify troubles of prototype;
- to explain the operational mode of prototype.


Good knowledge of measure methodology and error theory presented in the course of Laboratory of Physics I. The student has to be familiar with algebra, differential and integral calculus, algebra in complex field.

Course contents summary

The course is made up of some lectures (21 hours for 3 CFU) and practical activities (36 hours for 3 CFU). Lectures concern some topics of Experimental Physics and its aim is to train the students to design and realize a simple setup to measure and control one or more physical quantities. Matter of lessons are basics of electronics, acquisition/conditioning/ analysis of signals, selected physical instrumentations and its principle of working (excitation sources, sensors, oscilloscope, etc.). In the practical project students will be led to acquire experience with instrumentation commonly used in a teaching laboratory of physics, but also helpful in a research laboratory or in a R&D company laboratory. The use of the open-source Arduino card is proposed to easy control input from a variety of sensors and to drive lights, motors, and other actuators.

Course contents

Basic of electronics
The p-n junction, the diode and the transistor

The diode as a circuit element, pnp and npn transistor, operation modes of the transistor, use of the transistor, common-emitter, common-collector and common-base configurations, MOSFET transistors, small signal model, common-source amplifier, Common-Drain amplifier (Source Follower), notes on the JFET transistor.

Operational Amplifiers

General characteristics, operational amplifiers, applications, active filters, low pass and high-pass filter, band-pass filter.

Measurements in complex systems

General concepts, measurements of physical quantities:

Measurements of voltage, current, resistance, (analog and digital multimeters), analysis in the time domain, frequency domain analysis, signal-to-noise ratio, Lock-in amplifier.

Active sensors

Thermocouples, sensors, photoelectric and photovoltaic, piezoelectric sensors, Hall effect sensors.

Passive sensors

Thermometers, strain and pressure gauges, capacitive and inductive sensors.

Structure of a measuring system: transducers and signal conditioning

Amplification and attenuation, filtering, sum and difference with the reference signal, integration and linearization, conversion of a voltage / current signal into a voltage / current signal, converting a frequency into a voltage signal.

Acquisition and control:

analog control system: the PID controller: proportional, integrative and derivative action

A/D converters: sampling, digitization, data acquisition and signal processing.

D/A Converters: alteration of analog signals, control of the measuring system.

Recommended readings

G.V. Pallottino, “Appunti di elettronica”
P. Horowitz, W. Hill "The Art of Electronics", Cambridge University Press, 2011
A. S. Sedra, K. C. Smith, “Circuiti per la Microelettronica”, EdiSES, Napoli, 2005
R.C. Jaeger, “Microelettronica”, Mc Graw-Hill, 2013
M. Banzi, "Arduino: La guida ufficiale", Tecniche Nuove, 2009
Lecture notes, paper and electronic material provided from teacher.
Manuals and reference material for instrumentation for the practical project are available in teaching and research laboratories of Department.

Teaching methods

Lecture: to provide basic knoweldge to design a device for the measure and control of a physical quantity (project work). Short videos will be uploaded to Elly with the main contents of each lesson. If necessary, the lessons will be held online (synchronous mode)

Exercise: numerical examples to gain familiarity with device assembly.
Some numerical solved examples (text format, excel sheets or videos) will be uploaded to Elly.

Guided practice: for a correct use of the electronic materials.
Project work: design, construction and test of the prototype.
If it will be impossible to carry out laboratory activities in person, activities will be prepared to be carried out online with the presence of the teacher and using low cost material that can be easily retrieved by students.

Materials provided from teacher available on the Elly platform, otherwise on the text listed in "Testi di Riferimento".

The activities will take place in presence.

Assessment methods and criteria

Oral proof: each student will be evaluated by an oral exam in which he will discuss about matter of lessons and the project work. The report must feature:
• the goal of the experimental project;
• planning stage and block diagram;
• instrumentation and its specifications;
• data acquisition;
• graphs and tables with results and measurement errors;
• result discussion;
• troubles with the project;
• improvements
The student should show to get used to the laboratory instrumentation and to the main techniques of measure. The overall rating will take into account the individual contribution within the working group.

If necessary, the examination will take place online (Teams).

Other informations

Additional topics could be proposed according to the specific students's needs.

Examples of project works: