37063 - Principles of Electronics for Automation T

Course Unit Page


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Quality education Affordable and clean energy Industry, innovation and infrastructure Sustainable cities

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

On completion of this course, students learn the basics of electronic devices and electronic circuits for quasi-linear signal elaboration; circuits for sensors read-out and conversion; power electronics; digital circuits based on CMOS devices; digital memories. In particular, students: · gain basic knowledge of: BJTs, MOSFETs and operational amplifiers; components for signal acquisition from sensors; switched-mode electronics; circuits for waveform generation and signal transmission; CMOS devices; figures of merit for digital circuits; digital memories. · acquire skills to perform analyses of: electronic circuits based on transistors and operational amplifiers under dc and ac operation; circuits based on voltage comparators; circuits with transistors under switched-mode operation; digital circuits based on CMOS devices.

Course contents

The course Fondamenti di Elettronica per l'Automazione T comprises two parts. Modules 1 and 2 are given by prof. Alberto Santarelli (90 hours), while Module 3 is given by prof. Nicolò Speciale (30 hours).


Modules 1 and 2 (9 cfu)

Electron devices and circuits for signal amplification

Junction diodes. Half-wave and full-wave AC/DC converters (single-phase). Output capacitors. Zener diodes. Voltage Limiters. Voltage reference circuits. Bipolar Junction Transistors. N-Type and P-type MOSFETs. Bias circuits. Linearisation of elementary nonlinear bipoles. Quasi-linear signal amplifiers. Linearisation of elementary bipoles. Small-signal equivalent circuits of BJTs and MOSFETs. Physical and hybrid parameters. Dynamic effects. Small-signal analysis of basic amplifying stages. Coupling capacitors. DC coupling. Thermal drift. Offsets. Differential amplifiers: differential- and common-mode gain, CMRR. Operational Amplifiers. Elementary circuits based on OpAmps. Amplifiers and filters for signal conditioning. Instrumentation differential amplifier. Comparators. Schmitt Trigger. Saw-tooth signal generation. Analog PWM modulators. Switching converter example (DC/DC). 

Circuits for signal acquisition, conditioning and conversion

Problems related to signal quality: scaling of electrical variables, bias, noise, interference immunity. Classification of sensors: single/multiple, differential and balanced. Basics on the operating principles and electrical behaviour of direct-type sensors (electrodynamic, thermo-couples, piezoelectric). Optoelectronic devices: fotodiode and LED. Modulating (parametric) sensors. Operating principles of resistive, capacitive and inductive parametric sensors. Circuits for signal generation from parametric sensors: half and full impedance bridge. Introduction to amplitude-, frequency- and phase-modulated signals. Basics on PAM, PWM, PPM and PFM signals. Circuits for demodulation of AM ( synchronous and asynchronous) signals (cold FET mixer), FM and PM signals. Demodulation of pulsed-carrier signals. Selective amplifier. Examples of application of the limiting amplifier. Operating principles of the quasi sinusoidal oscillator and its use as a carrier generator, clock, VCO, and FM signal generator from resonant parametric sensors. Analog to digital (A/D) and D/A conversion: signal quantization, binary coding, quantization error.  Circuits for D/A conversion. Circuits for A/D conversion: successive approximations, parallel/flash, double ramp. S/H circuits for signal sampling.

Module 3 (3 cfu)

Digital circuits

Basics of digital logics: noise margins, fan in, fan out, switching times, power dissipation. Switched transistor operation. Voltage Transfer Characteristic. Basic MOSFET inverter with resistive load. CMOS inverter. NOR, NAND CMOS gates. Basic properties of CMOS logics. Static and Dynamic gates. Pass-transistor and transfer-gate. Examples of combinational and sequential logic using CMOS technology. Input/Output interfacing circuits. Array architectures and peripheral circuits. Memory cells.



- J. Millman, A. Grabel, P. Terreni, Elettronica di Millman, McGraw-Hill.

- R. C. Jaeger, T. N. Blalock, Microelettronica (1, 2, 3), McGraw-Hill.

- P. U. Calzolari, S. Graffi, Elementi di Elettronica, Zanichelli.

Teaching methods

The course will be based both on lectures and lab activities. Lab activities will be carried out either in LAB 1 or by using a personal laptop with the LTSPICE program. Exercises will help students to better understand, by means of numerical simulation, the behaviour of different types of circuits used in industrial automation systems.

Assessment methods

Examination is in oral form. However, part of the exam could be implemented as a written multiple choice test or in the form of a brief exercise. Exam is aimed at evaluating: 1. student's knowledge of theory; 2. how deep the student is able to develop the subjects; 3. ability to plainly explain the subjects by using adequate technical language. Three subjects will be dealt with during the interview. If requested, some time will be allowed before the actual colloquium for writing notes as formulas, graphs, schemes, thought to be helpful in the discussion.

Teaching tools

Notes on the course subjects. Notes on CAD exercises.

Links to further information


Office hours

See the website of Alberto Santarelli

See the website of Nicolò Attilio Speciale