87949 - Electronics for Applied Physics

Course Unit Page


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

Good health and well-being Quality education Industry, innovation and infrastructure

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course, the student will learn modern methods to design electronic circuits for analog and digital signals coming from experimental apparata. He/she will also acquire knowledge of the technological processes that are the basis of digital integrated circuits. In particular, in the laboratory sessions he/she will be able to design circuits with analog components and discrete programmable digital circuits (FPGA) and verify their operation. Also, the student will possess the knowledge to design relatively complex electronic circuits for high-speed data acquisition systems. The student will finally face real-world problems with dedicated laboratory sessions addressing the main sensors used in the Applied Physics field.

Course contents

  • First Module

The course provides the basic skills, in relation to modern methods of electronic design and processing analog and digital signals, to treat signals from devices used in experimental physics. In particular are treated the operational amplifiers in the various configurations and negative-feedback amplifiers.

Study of the n and p-channel MOS transistor and its model for small signals. Study of configurations of amplifiers with common drain and common source.

Study of technological processes as base of the CMOS digital integrated circuits. Examples of MOS circuits used in microelectronics.

Study of transmission lines with equations, constants and termintion methods for good transmission of waveforms.

The course also provides skills to design and test relatively complex digital architectures through the use of VHDL. Technological parameters and characteristic times of the logic gates and sequential logic.

A laboratory experience is concentrated in the programming and testing of an FPGA device.

A part of the course is dedicated to the study of the high frequencies, of the transmission lines and the approach of all the experimental problems which emerge during the transmission of high frequency signals. We study the passive and active analog filters with operational.

An experience is dedicated to the measurement of the effects due to the high frequencies used.

  • Second Module

1. Generalities, definitions and classification

2. Front-end and conditioning electronics

3. Principles of Digital Signal Processing

4. Sensors and Transducers

4.1 Physical principles

4.1.1 Temperature sensors

4.1.2 Strain sensors

4.1.3 Piezoelectric sensors

4.1.4 Optical sensors

4.1.5 MEMS technologies

4.1.6 Position, displacement and level sensors

4.1.7 Velocity and acceleration sensors

4.2 Biological and medical sensors

4.2.1 ECG electronics

4.2.3 Wearable sensors

4.2.4 DNA sequencing

5. Industrial Applications

5.1 Embedded processors and Distributed Intelligence

5.2 Smart Sensors

5.2.1 Applications with raspberry PI and embedded Microchip PIC

5.2.2 Wireless sensors

5.2.3 Introduction to Robotics

6. Radiation detectors

6.1 Advanced semiconductor radiation detectors

6.1.1 The linear and digital front-end

6.2 Advanced scintillator detectors

6.3 X and gamma-ray spectrometry

6.3.1 Analog conditioning electronics

6.3.2 Digital synthesis of pulse shapes

6.3.3 Applications in physical research

6.4 Detectors for Space

6.4.1 Satellite detectors for the X and gamma spectrum

6.4.2 Nanosatellites

Laboratory experience


Jacob Fraden, Handbook of modern sensors, Springer (third ed.) 2004

Gerhard Lutz, Semiconductor radiation detectors, Springer 1999

Sabrie Soloman, Sensors Handbook, Mc Graw Hill 2010

G.F. Knoll, Radiation Detection and Measurement, J. Wiley & Sons

other educational material provided by the lecturer

Teaching methods

Frontal didactics and practical demonstrations/laboratory

In consideration of the type of activity and the teaching methods adopted, the attendance of this training activity requires the prior participation of all students in the training modules 1 and 2 [https://elearning-sicurezza.unibo.it/] on safety in the study places, in e-learning mode.

Assessment methods

Oral examination.

Optional: development of a significant project using sensors / transducers managed by a microcontroller (hardware and software development).

The final exam aims to evaluate the achievement of the teaching objectives: knowledge of sensors and transducers and of the physical principles that characterize them; knowledge of front-end circuits, conditioning, acquisition; basic knowledge on microcontrollers

Teaching tools

Practical demonstrations/laboratory

Office hours

See the website of Giuseppe Baldazzi

See the website of Alessandro Gabrielli