Physics 327 (Spring 2017): "Modern Instrumentation"




Prof. Vitaly Podzorov


Serin W119


Office Hour:

please arrange by e-mail






Office Hour:

please arrange by e-mail 

Meeting Times:

Lectures (Podzorov, all sections):

Wed 6:40pm - 8:00pm

SEC 208

Lab Sec. 3 (Podzorov)

Mon 6:40pm - 9:30pm

Serin 101

Lab Sec. 1 (Sass)

Tue 10:20am - 1:20pm

Serin 101

Lab Sec. 2 (Sass)

Tue 3:20pm - 6:20pm

Serin 101

  Lab Sec. 4 (Sass)   Thu 6:40pm - 9:30pm   Serin 101




“An Introduction to Modern Electronics”,

by William L. Faissler, Wiley, 1 edition (March 5, 1991)



You can find it at Amazon or Rutgers book stores (Semester: SPRING 2016, Physics Department code: 750, Course: 327, sections 1,2,3,4)



1. The first lecture is on Wed. Jan. 18 in SEC-208, 6:40-8:00 pm.

2. Labs start the following week (starting with sec. 3 on Mon. Jan. 23, 6:40-9:30 pm).

All labs are in Physics SERIN building, rm. 101, first floor, entrance from the Allison Road).

3.  Some details of what to watch out for when preparing your lab reports - download doc file.

Course Schedule:


Lab No.



Read Chapters

Suggested Problems


DC Voltage divider (1 week lab)

Jan 18/Jan 23,24,26

2-6 15-16

4.10-4.12 5.1 6.6


AC, Capacitance, Impedance (1 week lab)

Jan 25/Jan 30, 31, Feb 2

7-9 12 17 51 53

7.1 7.4 8.5 9.1 12.2


RLC Resonance (1 week lab)

Feb 1/Feb 6,7,9


12.1, 11.2 12.6


Diode and Transistor

(2 week lab)

Feb 8/Feb 13,14,16

Feb 15/Feb 20,21,24




Operational Amplifier

(2 week lab)


Feb 22/Feb 27,28 Mar 2

Mar 1/Mar 6,7,9





Difference and Instrumentation Amplifiers

(2 week lab)

Mar 8/Mar 20,21,23 (Mar 12-19 is Spring Break)

Mar 22/Mar 27,28,30

29 31 32

31.3 31.4


Digital Basics: Timers, Counters (1 week lab)

Mar 29/Apr 3,4,6

19 21-24

21.1 23.4


DAC, ADC (1 week lab)

Apr 5/Apr 10,11,13

34-36, 54



LabView, GPIB (1 week lab)

Apr 12/Apr 17,18,20




Extra week to finalize all unfinished labs

Apr 24,25,27




Last chance (!) to finish and submit all work

May 4




Course Goal:

The goal of this class is to learn a number of basic electronic components and their analysis, so that you can understand and build circuits for use in physics experiments. You should normally perform laboratory experiments with a partner(s). You must share all phases of the experimental work, so all the partners understand the entire experiment. Each partner must participate actively in building the circuits, taking measurements and interpreting the data. Each student must keep his (her) own notes and prepare individual lab reports (no copying of reports from a partner is allowed!).  The ideal lab reports have to be brief (3-5 pages), neat, and complete. 


Preparation for the Labs:

The lab instructions are available at the course home page. You are expected to read and understand these instructions before coming to the lab.  In addition, you are expected to read and understand the suggested chapters of the textbook prior to the lab (see the schedule for detailed reading assignments).  Being prepared for the labs will make your learning experience satisfying and will save your time and improve your grade.


Lab Reports:

Lab reports are to be prepared individually and handed in during the next lab session, i.e. in a week for the one-week labs and in 2 weeks for the two-week labs.  The report must be typed; the graphs are to be generated using Origin (highly preferred).  Drawings and circuit diagrams can be neatly drawn and labeled by hand.  Late reports will be accepted up to one week after the due date, but will have to be penalized by a 30% grade reduction.  Maximum mark for each lab is 15.  No “carbon copies” of the reports will be accepted.  Do not write a “report” if you have not actually done the lab: it will not be accepted.  Write the report so that the reader can understand what you did, what you measured, and what theory predicted, etc.  The report must be brief, yet fairly self-sufficient.  Do not simply copy the lab instructions of excerpts from the textbook into your report, unless these are formulas or circuits diagrams.  Your report should have the following structure:


Introduction: Clearly state the objective(s), and a short explanation of the theoretically background, if appropriate. To avoid redundancy, do not copy the entire lab description in your report.

Experimental Method: Brief description of the equipment used and the experimental procedures followed must be included.  Also include accurate neatly-drawn circuit diagrams.  Do not include your results in this section.

Results and Discussion: Show the data obtained in numbered tables and figures.  All quantities have to be given with the correct units.  Omitted units may result in a lower grade.  The figures must have appropriate axis labels with units.  If drawings of observed effects/waveforms clarify your data description, include them.  Analyze the data, including pertinent equations, calculated numbers, discussion of what observations and measurements mean.  Discuss what was expected and how well the experiment agrees with the theory.  Do not give more significant figures than warranted by the accuracy of your measurements.  Include an elementary error analysis where appropriate.

Conclusions:  Discuss if the goals set forth were met. Often, the obtained data are somewhat different from what was expected.  In this case, you should try to understand why and justify your conclusion.



Short quizzes will be given occasionally during the lecture.  They will not be announced.  Topics to be quizzed are the lecture contents and reading assignments.  Make-up quizzes will not be offered, unless you have a documented medical reason for missing a quiz.



The course grade will be primarily based on the lab reports (about 70%), with remainder determined by lab preparation and participation, quiz scores, and lecture attendance.


Students with Disabilities:

If you have a disability, you are urged to visit the following web site to make the necessary arrangements to support a successful learning experience:


A Brief Guide to Debugging :

Generally we are going to set up circuits with wires and components arranged on a “bread board” or prototype board. The components range from simple passive resistors to active chips with tens of inputs and outputs. When you set up a circuit the first time, it often does not work as you think it should. Then you need to debug it, i.e., figure out why the circuit is behaving as it is instead of as it should.  


To make the debugging less painful:

·  Arrange the circuit neatly on the prototyping board so that you can trace where wires go and hook up the circuit correctly.


·  Understand the circuit: Figure out before the lab what you should see when you make the stated measurements.


·  Understand your equipment: Common examples of mistakes include measuring the wrong voltage with an oscilloscope, because the input was AC-coupled instead of DC-coupled, or incorrectly using a DVM to measure current.


·  Are all the wires connected? Check voltage levels and signal shapes at various points and determine if they are as they should be.


·  Is the individual component what you think it is, resistor, capacitor, inductor, op amp, etc? You can measure the resistance of a resistor. For a complicated chip, first check that all inputs are hooked up correctly. If the chip pops, the circuit is not hooked up correctly, and you should figure out why rather than popping more.  If you have a few bad (non-popping) chips in a row, it is probable that the circuit is hooked up incorrectly.


·  If the circuit is complicated, build parts of it first and test each part separately.