18-819H: Special Topics in Applied Physics: Physical Sensors, Transducers and Instrumentation

Units: 12

Sensors: How do they work and how does one use them effectively?

While modern electronic circuits have largely become digital in character, the physical world, and consequently, the electronic interfaces to the physical world remain fundamentally analog. Therefore, sensors, transducers, and the initial signal processing remain in the analog domain. Simultaneously, the commercial market place optimizes sensor technology based upon multiple attributes including cost, detectivity, size, speed, etc. In this course we explore how sensors are constructed, function and the issues of interfacing them to electronics at the analog/instrumentational level.
This requires that we learn about the diversity of physical phenomena, materials and devices that can be used to convert the various forms of physical energy into electronic signals. Due to the significant diversity of physical phenomena the course requires reading from textbooks, the technical literature and patent literature. The course is taught via the case method with student participation via oral and written reports. The student should arrive with a strong interest in, and basic understanding of, physics, material science, chemistry and analog electronic circuits as taught at the sophomore and junior course level.

This is a graduate version of the undergraduate course 18-410.

While no prerequisites are required a back ground from any, or all, of the following courses is useful: 18-303, 18-311, 18-321 or 27-432.


Applied Physics, Applied Physics (Solid State/Magnetics/Fields)


Last modified on 2007-01-18

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