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ELEC40009 Topics in Electrical Engineering

Lecturer(s): Dr Kristel Fobelets; Prof Tim Green; Prof Eric Yeatman; Prof Kin Leung


The aim of this module is to introduce you to the interdisciplinary nature of electrical engineering.
The module starts with semiconductor devices – the pn diode that is the basic structure for all other devices and will support understanding of concepts in Analysis and Design of Circuits. It will then look into the use of pn diodes as solar cells and the way in which solar energy systems are connected to AC electricity grids. The role of solar energy in the transition to a zero-carbon energy system is explored.
The introduction to solar energy will link to the second topic in power that will look at further circuits for converting and conditioning power and further aspects of the operation of national-scale electricity grids.
In the spring term, the module changes track and takes you from waves propagating in space and transmission lines through to waves as information carriers in the frequency domain and the need for modulation techniques to transport this information efficiently.
The objective is to give you a flavour of different aspects in engineering to help you choose between EEE and EIE stream in the 2nd year. It also helps you understand the interconnectivity of a wide variety of concepts that classically taught separately.

Learning Outcomes

At the end of the module you are expected to be able to:

1. Describe waves as information carriers.
2. Describe how waves propagate in free space and transmission lines.
3. Apply mathematical tools to investigate signals in the frequency domain.
4. Explain the need for modulation techniques to transmit a signal and identify the basic hardware components to achieve modulation and demodulation.
5. Describe the transport processes in a pn diode and extrapolate this knowledge to its use as a solar cell.
6. Employ laboratory skills to characterise solar cells.
7. Illustrate how solar panels are arranged and operated for maximum energy yield.
8. Analyse the perforation of circuits for power conversion and use analytical methods to choose component values to achieve a performance specification.
9. Relate the different engineering topics to demonstrate how they are interconnected.


- Waves as oscillators, signals in time domain
- Propagation of waves in free space and in transmission lines such as coaxial cables
- Radiating waves and their connection to radar
- Signals in the frequency domain using Fourier transforms
- Modulation and demodulation
- Transport processes in the pn diode and its IV characteristic
- Using the diode as a solar cell and circuit representation
- Introduction to the Electricity Supply Industry
- Characteristics of Solar Energy and Circuits for Grid Interfaces
- The Transformation of Zero-Carbon Electricity System and the Role of the Smartgird
Exam Duration: N/A
Coursework contribution: 0%

Term: Autumn & Spring

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

Coursework Requirement:

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

Prerequisite module(s): None required

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Book List: