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ELEC70101 Sensors

Lecturer(s): Dr Oleksiy Sydoruk; Prof Andrew Holmes; Prof Kristel Fobelets


Sensors are an essential input platform for many modern-day analogue and digital systems. They collect the physical input data and control applications ranging from an espresso machine and domestic thermostat to the more complex autonomous driving and robotics systems. While many sensors already exist that rely on different physical phenomena, there are also design innovation opportunities to make them better and faster for a wider range of applications. To enable you do so, knowledge of sensor requirements is essential.

The aim of this module is to give insight into physical operation of sensors. We will start with an overview of essential characteristics of sensors. We will then consider physical operation, design, and fabrication of semiconductor, electromagnetic, quantum, and MEMS sensors. We will also discuss read-out circuits for sensors. Based on this knowledge you will design, fabricate and characterise, or simulate a sensor.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the module, you will be able to:
- Describe the physics behind the operation of different sensors
- Formulate the requirements on sensor characteristics
- Design and characterise sensors for specific applications
- Critically analyse the sensor performance in view of design constraints
- Fabricate or simulate a sensor and characterise its performance
- Design electronic sensor read-out circuits


1. Overview of sensors as transducers of external signals to electrical signals. Characteristics of sensors and design constraints.
2. Different types of sensors, the physics, fabrication, applications, specific characteristics
a. Semiconductor Sensors
b. Electromagnetic Sensors
c. Quantum Sensors
d. Intro to MEMS Sensors
3. Standard sensor read-out electronics
Exam Duration: N/A
Exam contribution: 0%
Coursework contribution: 100%

Term: Autumn

Closed or Open Book (end of year exam): N/A

Coursework Requirement:
         Coursework only module

Oral Exam Required (as final assessment): N/A

Prerequisite module(s): None required

Course Homepage: unavailable

Book List: