28651 - Electronics T-A

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2019/2020

Learning outcomes

The course aims to provide basic knowledge on the functioning of elementary electronic devices, as well as on the analysis and design of digital circuits.

Course contents

Requirements/Prior knowledge

Prerequisite for the understanding of the arguments is the knowledge of the key concepts of the theory of linear electrical circuits developed in the Course of Electrotechnics. In particular the student should be able to analyze the behaviour of a linear circuit both in stationary and transient conditions. Fluent spoken and written Italian is a necessary pre-requisite: all lectures and tutorials, and all study material will be in Italian.

Course Contents

- Electronic System and Digital Computers Topology. Technological and Architectural Trends. The Qualitative Computer Design Principles. The memory hierarchy. 

- Warehouse scale computers e datacenters. Non von Neumann Architectures

- Properties of digital circuits: cost, input capacity, fan-out, propagation delay, power consumption, power-delay product, noise margin.

- Basics of microelectronics: description of how the functional behavior of transistors n-and p-MOS. Operating regions and constitutive equations. The n-MOS inverter with resistive load: voltage transfer characteristic, static power consumption. The p-MOS inverter with resistive load: voltage transfer characteristic, static power consumption.

- The CMOS inverter: operating regions of the transistors and static input-output characteristic. Power consumption. The CMOS inverter in transient conditions. Transistor parasitic capacitances: calculation of the CMOS inverter inputs capacity.

- Signal theory: analog signal, digital signal and binary signal. Properties of a binary code, length of a binary number. Conversion from decimal to binary conversion. Operations on binary numbers: addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.

- Description of the behavior of Analog / Digital and Digital / Analog converters.

- Finite state automata, combinatorial automata and truth tables. Elementary combinatorial networks: NOT, AND, OR, XOR, Equiv. CMOS implementation of the logic gates: NAND and NOR and their properties.

- Fully-CMOS Gate: pull-up and pull-down networks. Gate topology, analysis and synthesis of logic functions. MOS transistors connected in series and in parallel. Design of a logic function in Fully-CMOS according to the switching time requirements.

- Introduction to Boolean algebra: logical expressions and logical variables. Synthesis of logic functions based on canonical expressions SP and PS. Minimum cost network. Minimization of a logic function by means of Karnaugh maps. Adjacency rules and groupings. Coverage and regular expressions. Minimum SP and PS expressions using grouping.

- Networks with NAND and NOR. Analysis of networks with only NAND gates. Combinational networks with NAND.

- Introduction to programmable logic circuits. Decoder, multiplexer and demultiplexer.

- The ALU processing unit. Binary Addition: adder circuits. Structure of a Full-Adder. Full-adder realized by means of half-adder or multiplexer. Description of operation of a ripplecarry propagation adder. Parallel adder and carry select adder. Subtractor circuit. Multiplier: serial multiplier and parallel multiplier. Comparator circuit.

- Synchronous digital systems: the latch circuit. Latch-D with NAND and NOR logic gates and feedback with NOT.

- Pass-transistor for signal transfer. Non-idealities of the nMOS and pMOS based pass-transistor. Latch-D realized with NOT and pass transistors.

- Circuits able to sampled on a clock edge: Flip-flop master-slave. Static and dynamic flip-flops.

- Introduction to memories. Memory classification: volatile and non-volatile memories. Row and column decoders. Description of the operation of the SRAM cell with 6T. Reading and writing of an SRAM cell. Description of the operation of the sense amplifier of SRAM memories. The DRAM cell. Reading and writing of a DRAM cell. The phenomenon of charge redistribution. The sense amplifier in DRAM memories. Differences between SRAM and DRAM.

- Introduction to non-volatile memories. ROM, PROM and Flash memories. NOR and NAND architecture of non volatile memories. The flash memory, electron injection in the floating gate. Endurance and data retention of the memory.


David Money Harris, Sarah L. Harris - Digital Design and Computer Architecture - ISBN: 978-0-12-394424-5

Microelectronic Circuits - Adel S. Sedra, Kenneth C. Smith.

Fummi, Sami, Silvano, progettazione digitale, McGraw-Hill

Computer Architecture A Quantitative Approach 6th Edition
Authors: David Patterson
ISBN - eBook: 978-0-12-811906-8
ISBN - Paperback: 978-0-12-811905-1

Teaching methods

The course consists of classroom lectures in which the basic electronic elements are presented. In particular we will focus on the key concepts of Digital Electronics and its role on more today's electronic systems. The theoretical presentation of each topic is followed by several lectures devoted to the solution of exercises and specific problems aiming to acquire the method for analysing and designing simple digital circuits.

Assessment methods

Learning assessment is done through a final exam that ensures acquisition of knowledge and expected skills. The written test is of 2 hours and can be done with the help of books and notes (two for each exam session). The oral test is optional, and it will be in handled few days after the written exam.

The written session is normally composed of a mix of questions and exercises to assess the student's ability to perform simple logic functions as well as to verify the ability to analyse circuits realized with MOS transistors, main circuit blocks within the ALU, the behaviour of the semiconductor memories, and the computing topologies and theirs power, performance, cost characteristics. To obtain a passing grade, the student must demonstrate the capacity to manage the key concepts illustrated in the course program.

To attend the exam it is required to register via Almaesami. Those who do not succeed to register by the deadline are required to promptly notify the problem at the Secretary's office.
The minutes of the evaluation is obtained during any of oral sessions set by the teacher during the academic year. It is possible to view the written test during the verbalization date immediately following the written exam. The possibility of using alternative hours to take vision of the written exam is reserved for exceptional cases.

Teaching tools

Teaching materials presented during the lectures will be made available online to the student in electronic format.

To download the electronic teaching material: http://campus.unibo.it/


Elearning portal: https://elearning-cds.unibo.it

Username and password are available only for students of the Università di Bologna.

Office hours

See the website of Andrea Bartolini