PHY 375 Electronics for Scientists

Spring 2017

Tuesday 9:00 10:50  (Lecture)  in MLT 309 and Thursday 9:00 11:50  (Lab) in MLT 217 or 309

Instructor:     George Rutherford, MLT 308-A

                        438-2934         GHR - AT - ILSTU.EDU

                        Office Hours   TBA

                        Lab:  MLT 304

Text:              Learning the Art of Electronics, by Thomas C. Hayes.   We will also use various online sources and handouts. I'll try to post handouts to this page.

Lecture Notes
Exam 2


            This course is designed to give undergraduate science students an introduction to analog and digital electronics.  The course covers basic electrical concepts, DC and AC circuit analysis, filter circuits, the solid state physics behind diodes and transistors, circuits that employ operational amplifiers, and simple digital circuits.  The format includes a 2-hour lecture on Tuesdays and a 3-hour lab on Thursdays.


        Students who successfully complete this course will:

Student Expectations:

Schedule of Topics, Exams, etc:

    Here's a tentative list of the topics we'll be covering this semester.  Remember that it's a tentative list and is subject to change at my discretion. 

  1. Charge, Current, Voltage, Resistance, Capacitance
  2. DC Circuits: Series and Parallel Arrangements, Kirchhoff's Voltage and Current Laws, Thevenin's Theorem, Capacitor Charging and Discharging in RC Circuits
  3. AC Circuits: Complex Numbers, Reactance and Impedance, Simple Filter Circuits (High- and Low-Pass), RLC Circuits, Bode Plots
  4. Diodes: Basic Semiconductor Physics, Diode Operation, Simple Diode Circuits (Clamp, Rectifiers, Voltage Multipliers), Zener Diodes 
  5. Transistors: Basic Transistor Operation, Circuit Applications     
  6. Operational Amplifiers: Golden Rules, Parameter Selection, Circuit Applications   
  7. Digital Circuits: Binary Arithmetic, Simple Logic Gates, De Morgan's Theorem, Flip-flops, Counters, Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA)   
  8. Microprocessor: The Arduino

Homework:  Check the bottom of this section later for homework problems and due dates.

            Homework problems will be assigned on a regular basis, and the due date will be announced when a group of problems is assigned.  The assignments and due dates will also be posted on the course webpage.  Your work should be neat, legible, and organized.  Please restate the problem clearly, including diagrams, before showing the solution.  Some of the assignments will include computer work; more details later.

HW 1: DC Circuits and Thevenin's Theorem, due Tuesday, 1/31
HW 2: DC Circuit Simulation, due Tuesday, 2/7
HW3: Capacitor Charging and Discharging, due Tuesday, 2/14
HW4: AC Circuit Analysis, due Tuesday, 2/21
HW5: A Transistor + Op Amp Circuit, due Thursday, 3/30
HW6: AC Op Amp Circuits, due Tuesday, 4/18

Labs:      Labs are generally done on Thursdays. We'll post them as we go, along with any other material relevant to the lab.

Lab 1: DC Circuits, due Thursday, 2/2
Lab 2: Arduino Capacitance Meter, due Thursday, 2/9 (if we finish in one lab period, otherwise, one week after we finish).
Lab 3: RC Filters, due Tuesday, 2/21
Lab 4: Microphone Fourier, due Tuesday, 2/28
      Intro to Fouries Analysis
      Fourier Mathematica Notebook
Lab 5: Diode Circuits, due Tuesday, 3/7
Lab 6: PWM Transistor Beta, due Thursday, 3/9
Lab 7: Transistor AC Amplifier, due Thursday, 3/23
Lab 8: Op Amps I, due Thursday, 4/6
Lab 9: Op Amps II, due Thursday, 4/13
Lab 10: Pulse Rate Monitor, due on day of final exam

Make-up Policy:

            Make-up exams are given only for unavoidable absences due to personal illness or death in your immediate family.  Appropriate documentation is required.  Exams missed for other reasons will receive a grade of zero.  Late homework will not be accepted, so make sure your homework is brought to class by a friend or classmate if you cannot attend.  Your lowest homework grade will be dropped before I calculate your homework average.


            Your grade will be determined by the following breakdown of assignments:

            2 Exams, 20% each                 40%

            Final Exam                              20%

            Homework                              20%

            Lab                                          20%

Letter grades are determined by the usual 90/80/70/60 scale.  Exam grades may be curved.  Course averages that just miss a letter grade cutoff may be adjusted upward depending on class participation, behavior, punctuality, etc.

The final exam schedule will be announced later in the semester and can be found online.