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PX140 Electronics Workshop

Organiser: Andy Howes

Weighting: 6 CATS

Electronic instrumentation is widely used in virtually all areas of experimental physics. Whilst it is not essential for all experimental physicists to know how, for example, to make a low noise amplifier, it is extremely useful for them to have some basic knowledge of electronics. This workshop (and the one next year) introduce some of the basic electronics which is used by physicists.


To cover the design and operation of some basic electronic circuits and to familiarise students with the electronic instrumentation used to investigate and monitor circuit performance.


On completion of the module you should be able to:

  • Describe how simple circuits involving resistors, capacitors and diodes respond to applied steady and alternating voltages. Describe the behaviour of voltage dividers, capacitor charging, high and low pass filters and a rectifying circuit.
  • Describe n and p-type semiconductors, their application in diodes and bipolar transistors and current flow in these devices when steady voltages are applied. Describe how the bipolar transistor can be used in constant current, common emitter amplifier and switching circuits and provide some design input to this circuitry.
  • Describe the principal characteristics of the operational amplifier (op-amp) and how it can be used in basic electronic circuits such as non-inverting/inverting/summing/differential amplifiers, buffer circuits and integrating/differentiating circuits.
  • Give an account of the principal gates used in Boolean digital operations and their combination in logic circuits together with the determination and analysis of the switching function of some logic circuits using appropriate Boolean algebra, truth tables and Karnaugh maps.

You should also be able to use oscilloscopes, power supplies, signal generators, digital voltmeters and determine resistor values from colour coding.


The module is taught by a series of 4 workshops each addressing one of the areas identified above.


Four workshops each of 5 hours duration.


The assessment is based on your record of each experiment in your notebook, your answers to the questions asked at the end of each laboratory script and a one-hour test which will be conducted in the fifth week of term.

Recommended Texts: None

Leads to: PX271 Physics Skills (Electronics Workshop)