University of Maryland

Department of Physics

College Park, Maryland


Physics 485/685

Fall 2005







M. Coplan

Office:  CSS 3215 (Computer Space Sciences Building)

Office Hours:  Monday and Wednesday 11:00-12:00 and by appointment

Telephone:  405-4858




Teaching Assistant                                         


Sogee Spinner                                                

Office:  PHYS 1120                                                  

Telephone:  301-405-5982                                         



Course Emphasis


Physics 485/685 are survey courses in the basic methods of modern electronics with equal emphasis on laboratory work and lecture material.


Lecture meets once weekly Monday 2-3:50 p.m. in Room PHYS 4220.


There will be two laboratory sections each week on Wednesday and Thursday in PHYS 3321 from 1-5 p.m.  A student i.d. is necessary for access to the laboratory area.






MicroElectronics, Second Edition, Millman and Grabel, McGraw Hill, 1987.


Physics 485/685 Laboratory Manual, Department of Physics, University of Maryland at College Park, Fall 2005 Edition.


Note.  The required text, MicroElectronics, is out of print, but can be purchased used from a number of on-line book sellers.  We have available a sufficient number of copies for loan to all registered students in the course provided that the loaned copies be returned at the end of the semester in the same condition they were received.  See Mr. Allen Monroe, the laboratory coordinator, to arrange for a book loan.  Mr. Monroe’s office is PHYS 3311; he can be reached by phone at 301-405-6002 and by email at <>.




The Art of Electronics, Second Edition, P. Horowitz and W. Hill, Cambridge, 1989.


Building Scientific Apparatus, Second Edition, J. H. Moore, C. E. Davis, M. A. Coplan, Addison Wesley, 1989, Chapt. 6.


Designing with TTL Integrated Circuits, Texas Instruments Electronics Series, McGraw Hill.


TTL Cookbook, D. Lancaster, Howard W. Sams and Co., 1980


 CMOS Cookbook, D. Lancaster, Howard W. Sams and Co., 1997


Lancaster's Active Filter Cookbook, D. Lancaster, Butterworth-Heinemann, 1996.


IC Op-Amp Cookbook, W. G. Jung, McMillan Computer Publications, 1986. 


A Practical Introduction to Electronic Circuits, Second Edition, M. H. Jones, Cambridge, 1985.



Reading Assignments


The text (Millman and Grabel) will be used principally as a reference.  Additional materials will be distributed in class.  These materials are intended to supplement the lectures.  There will also be reading assignments from the Laboratory Manual in preparation for the laboratory work and lectures.




Homework will be assigned at approximately two-week intervals and will be due approximately two weeks from date assigned.


There will be approximately 7, 20 minute quizzes during the semester.  They will be given at regular intervals during the regular Monday class.  There will be a final exam at the end of the semester.


Laboratory Work


During the laboratory period there will be often be discussions of the theory and design of the circuits under study.  Everyone is expected to participate.


Each student should obtain a bound laboratory notebook in which all data and descriptive information about each experiment is to be recorded.  Notes and calculations on separate pieces of paper are not permitted.  The laboratory notebook must have a table of contents in the beginning to aid in locating the different experiments.  The notebooks will be periodically checked.  It should be possible to reconstruct the experiment from the information in the laboratory notebook.  All entries in the notebook are to be made with pen, not pencil.  Errors should be crossed out with a single line rather than erased or obliterated.  Often an incorrect calculation or circuit will contain information that is useful later on.  Because laboratory experiments will routinely be discussed in class on Mondays, it is recommended that the laboratory notebook be brought to lecture.


There are seven experiments during the semester including a 4 to 5 week individual project at the end of the semester.  The laboratory experiments are flexible by design allowing students latitude in pursuing individual interests.  Descriptions of the experiments are given in the laboratory manual along with data sheets for the devices used in the experiments.  Operation manuals for all the laboratory equipment are available in the laboratory.


Laboratory Reports


Separate written laboratory reports for each experiment will be due at the lecture period (Monday) 1 week + 5 days after the last scheduled laboratory session for that experiment.  These reports should contain a description of procedures, tables and graphs showing results, and a discussion explaining the results.  Unless prior arrangements are made with the staff, late reports will be subject to a penalty of 1/2 point (out of a maximum grade of 10 points) per day late.  The laboratory reports should consist of four sections; Introduction, Experimental Procedure, Results, and Discussion and Conclusions.


The Introduction should contain a clear statement of the purpose of the experiment.  Relevant circuit theory should be included in this section.  Detailed derivations are not necessary.


The Experimental Procedure should contain all the information required to reproduce the experiment as it was done in the laboratory.  A list of components and equipment along with schematic circuit diagrams should be part of this section. The measurement procedures should be clearly described here.


The experimental data form the Results section.  Effective presentation of data is an important experimental skill.  The usual ways of presenting data are in tables and graphs.  When tables are used, columns should be clearly labeled with units.  Graphs should have both axes clearly labeled.  All experimental data should be presented with estimates of errors or uncertainties.  The errors can be systematic as well as random and can be due to limitations of the measuring instruments as well as uncertainties in the values of the circuit components.  For active devices, such as diodes and transistors, temperature effects can cause the results to deviate from the expected values.  A discussion of the errors should accompany the data.  It is not necessary to include component specification sheets, but reference to them should be given where appropriate.


The Discussion and Conclusions section should contain comparisons between the predicted and measured properties of the circuits.  Suggestions for improving the experiment can be included in this section.  Conclusions should be based on the data and comparisons with calculations based on the theory of the operation of the circuit.  Applications of the results of the experiment should also be included here.  Clarity rather than length or complexity is the goal of the reports.  It should be possible to reproduce your results from the information in the report.


Each of the four sections of the report will be graded on a scale from 0 to 3 where a grade of 3 means that the section fully met the criteria listed above, and a grade of 0 means that none of the criteria were met.  The maximum grade for a report is 12.


Final Grade


The semester grade for the course will be determined approximately in the following way:


            Average laboratory grade                                                                   40%

            Quizes                                                                                                 25%

            Homework                                                                                          10%

            Final exam                                                                                           25%




Week                                       Lecture Topic



1                      RC Circuit Analysis


2                      Properties of Diodes, Laplace Transforms


3                      Bipolar Transistors, Amplifiers, Equivalent Circuits


4                      Frequency Response, Stability


5                      JFET Properties, Amplifiers, Equivalent Circuits


6                      Feedback and Differential Amplifiers


7                      Operational Amplifiers - Ideal and Real


8                      Active Filters, Non-Linear Operational Amplifier Circuits


9                      Introduction to Digital Circuits


10                    Logic Gates, Binary Arithmetic


11                    Flip/Flops, Counters, Shift Registers


12                    Digital Systems, D/A and A/D Conversion


13                    Microcomputer Architecture, Control Theory


14                    Extraction of Signals from Noise