PHY 207: Basic Electronics

3 credits | Prerequisites: PHY 102, PHY 224

Course rationale

This is the first of two courses on electronics for students majoring in physics. It focuses on the fundamentals of analog electronics. Students will be introduced to the working principles of transistors, amplifiers and precision circuits. Electronics is an integral part of physics education because it is one of the most striking success stories of the application of modern physics and because it is an integral part of any experimental or observational physics.

Course content

Circuit Fundamentals I: voltage, current, resistance, signals, capacitors, ac circuits, inductors, transformers. Circuit Fundamentals II: diodes and diode circuits, impedance and reactance, AM Radio, passive components. Bipolar Transistors: basic transistor circuits, Ebers-Moll model, amplifier building blocks, negative feedbacks. Field-Effect Transistors: FET linear circuits, junction-gate FET, FET switchers, MOSFETs, and their applications. Operational Amplifiers I: basic Op-Amp circuits, Op-Amp behavior, examples of Op-Amp circuits. Operational Amplifiers II: Op-Amp operation with single power supply, Op-Amp types, feedback amplifier frequency compensation, precision Op-Amp design. Precision Circuits: millivoltmeter, precision amplifier, component errors, amplifier input and output errors, RRIO Op-Amps, difference amplifier. Filters: active and passive filters, active-filter circuits. Oscillators and Timers: oscillators, timers. Low-noise Techniques I: noise, signal-to-noise ratio, bipolar transistor amplifier noise, low-noise designs with JFETs, charting the bipolar FET shootout. Low-noise Techniques II: noise in differential and feedback amplifiers, signal transformers, noise sources and measurements, SNR improvement, power supply noise. Voltage Regulation: basic linear regulator circuits, fully integrated linear regulators, heat and power design, switching regulators, inverters and switching amplifiers.

Course objectives

  1. Relate the fundamental principles of electricity and magnetism with the basics of electrical circuits.
  2.  Familiarize students with the components of electrical circuits.
  3. Explain the physical principles and applications of different types of transistors.
  4. Understand the principles and usage of operation amplifiers.
  5. Explain the elements of precision circuits and their applications.
  6. Illustrate the behavior of filters, oscillators and timers.
  7. Demonstrate various techniques of reducing noise in circuits


  1. Paul Horowitz & Winfield Hill, The Art of Electronics, 3rd edition, Cambridge University Press.
  2. Robert L. Boylestad, Introductory Circuit Analysis, 13th edition, Pearson.
  3. Robert L. Boylestad, Electronic Devices and Circuit Theory, 11th edition, Pearson