PHYC 306L: Junior Laboratory

Prof. F. Elohim Becerra
Office: PAIS 2514
Phone: (505) 277-2616

Teaching Assistant
David Loos
Office: PAIS B11XX

Description of the class and objectives

This course provides an introduction to electronics and computer interfaces with LabView. Students in this class will aquire hands-on experience with electrical circuits, electronics, and instrumentation, and will learn how to program interfaces for control and measurements of physical systems.

Pre-requisites: 290. **330: highly recommended.


Lectures: Monday, 13:00-13:50, Room PAIS 2540 (Work Room )

Lectures will cover topics in electronics, basics, circuit desing, and analysis. See Topics for details.

Lab Sessions: Monday, 14:00-16:50.

You must complete 12 Labs (one every week), plus the Final Project (~3 weeks).

Electronic Labs

Electronics Labs: Students should work in teams of 2 . Every student will keep a notebook, where students discuss the experirimental procedure, results, analysis and discussion.

The weekly lab instructions follow (.pdf files):

Lab writeups

Lab writeup   Date
Lab 1 DC circuits  
Lab 2 AC circuits and Oscilloscope  
Lab 3 Capacitors and Inductors in AC circuits  
Lab 4 Capacitors and Inductors in AC circuits  
Lab 5 Capacitors and Inductors in AC circuits  
Lab 6 Diodes  
Lab 7 Transistors  
Lab 8 Opamps I  
Lab 9 Opamps II, Active Filters  
Lab10 Oscillators I  
Lab11 Oscillators II  
Lab12 Timing Sequencer LV light subVI  
Lab13 Hysteretic heater controller  
Lab14 PI controller  
Lab15 Lock-in detection  

* For each experiment, you will need to investigate/study and understand the physics behind the experiment, the technical aspects of the setup and their functionality, how the experiment works, and realize proper data and circuit analysis. By design, the lab guides are brief, and students are expected to investigate more in depth the theory and technical aspects of the Labs.


The lectures will be based on several books (mainly based on  Learning the Art of Electronics Thomas C. Hayes ) Below are some very good references for electronics, statistics and labs.

Additional resources
Fundamentals of Photonics 2nd Edition: E. A. Saleh, Malvin Carl Teich.

Office hours. You may arrange a meeting with the instructor via email.
TA office hours: PAIS Lobby: Tuesdays and Thursdays 2:00-4:00 pm


  1. Homework 20%
  2. Lab Notebook 50%
  3. Final Project and Formal Report: 20%
  4. Quizzes: 10%

Homework: There will be regular assignments related to basic electronics, data analysis, and basic programming. The assignments will be given throughout the semester, about one per week, and will be posted in the Tentative Schedule. Assignments are due at the beginning of the class. Homework is individual; you may not copy another student's work.

Lab Notebook: You will keep a lab notebook where you will describe the experimental procedure and perform the data and circuit analysis. The guidelines are here: Lab notebook Guidelines.

Quizzes:  There will be a short quiz at the start of each class. The quiz will test concepts from the previous week. There will be no makeup quizzes. The best way to prepare for the weekly quiz is to do the assignments and understand what you are building in the lab.

Final Projects and Formal Reports: You will perform an individual final project towards the end of the semester. Individual final project will focus on a specific, advanced circuit design. There are several suggested projects for students to realize. But students also can choose to develop any project from their choice. (Discuss the proposed project with the instructor to determine if it is adequate/can qualify as a final project.) Formal reports are based on the individual project that you performed. Should follow the style of a scientific journal . The guidelines are here: Formal Report Guidelines.. Lab reports are individual (i.e. each person needs to submit their own).

Published physics papers such as in Physical Review Letters, Optics Letters, etc. provide a good guide for writing your lab report. Any research article is good example. One example from a class report is here.

IMPORTANT: Use your own words. Do not copy from your classmates or any other resource, including lab guides. This is considered Academic Dishonestiy. Instead, read, understand and write with your own words. Scientific papers are the product of your understanding and your own work, and not of other people's work.

 Due Dates

Date Description
09/25 (M) Lab notebook (Labs 1-4)
10/23 (M) Lab notebook (Labs 5-8)
11/20 (M) Lab notebook (Labs 9-12)
12/08 (F) Formal Report (via email)

The lab notebooks and homeworks must be submitted in the day of class before the lecture on the day they are due. 

Late work policy:
Late work assignments will be accepted but with a 15% penalty for each day past the deadline. So any work handed-in within 24 hrs of the deadline will carry a 15% penalty, one handed-in within 48 hrs will carry a 30% penalty, as so on.

Lecture Topics

Tentative list of topics that will be covered. The calendar is in the Tentative Schedule.

  1. Introduction DC Circuits: (Hayes  Part I  1N & 1L; Horowitz & Hill 1.2-1.3)
    - Overview; Ohm's and Kirchhoff's (KVL & KCL)laws
  2. AC circuits and Oscilloscope: (Hayes Part I1N & 1L; Horowitz & Hill 1.2-1.3)
    - Voltage, Engergy, and Power; AC soruces and AC power
  3. Capacitors and Inductors I: (Hayes Part I 2N & 2L & 2W; Horowitz & Hill 1.3-1.5)
    - Complex Numbers; Harmonic Waves; AC circuits; Complex Impedances; RC and LR circuits and Voltage Divider
  4. Capacitors and Inductors II: (Hayes Part I 2N & 2L & 2W; Horowitz & Hill 1.3-1.5, 6.1-6.2)
    - Bode Plots and Response Function; decibel (dB) representaiton; High pass filters; RLC resonant circuits.
  5. RLC curcuits: (Hayes Part I 2N & 2L; Horowitz & Hill 1.3-1.5)
    - Poles and Zeros; Response Function G(w).
  6. Diodes: (Hayes Part I 3N & 3L; Horowitz & Hill 1.6)
    - Ideal diodes and diode models;I-V curve; Rectification
  7. Transistors:  (Hayes Part II 4N & 4L, 5N & 4L; Horowitz & Hill 2.1-2.3, 2.6 )
    - NPN transistors; Analog Amplifier; Transistor switch; Boolean logic gates
  8. Operational Amplifiers I: (Hayes Part III 6N & 6L; Horowitz & Hill 4.1-4.5)
    - Fourier Analysis; OpAmps Golden Rules; Inversting/non-inverting/Summing/Differential/Integral Amplifiers;
  9. Operational Amplifiers II: (HAYES Part III 6N & 6L and 7N & 7L; Horowitz & Hill 4.1-4.5)
    - Active and Passive Filters; OpAmp transfer function G(w); Gain-Bandwidth product and Slewing
  10. Oscillators I: (Hayes Part III 8N & 8L; Horowitz & Hill 7.1-7.2)
    - Oscillation; Phase-shift oscillator; Buffered Oscillator; RC Oscillator
  11. Oscillators II:  (HAYES Part III 8N & 8L; Horowitz & Hill 7.1-7.2)
    - Relaxation Oscillators; working principle and implementations.
  12. Timing and Control: (HAYES Part III 8N & 8L; Horowitz & Hill 7.1-7.2)
    - Difital timing with logic gates; Close and open loop control
  13. Close loop control:  (Hayes Part III 10N & 10L)
    - PID feedback control
  14. Lock-in detection
    - Lock-in deteciton and amplification

Additional resources

Class overview: Lecture 1

Fit straight line with unequal errors

Statistical Treatment of Data

Additional resources

The art of electronics (3rd Edition): Paul Horowitz and Winfield Hill
Introduction to LabView

Program examples

Tentative Schedule

Lectures Date Subject Homework HW Due Notes
Lecture 1 08/21 (M) Overview; DC circuits, Ohm's and Kirchhoff's laws HW1 (M) Aug 28  
Lecture 2 08/28 (M) AC circuits and Oscilloscope HW2  (M) Sep 11  
  09/4 (M) (no class)      
Lecture 3 09/11 (M) Capacitors and Inductors in AC circuits I HW3  (M) Sep 18  
Lecture 4 09/18 (M) Capacitors and Inductors in AC circuits II HW4  (M) Sep 25  
Lecture 5 09/25 (M) RLC Resonant Circuits HW5  (M) Oct 02  
Lecture 6 10/02 (M) Diodes HW6  (M) Oct 09  
Lecture 7 10/09 (M) Transistors HW7  (M) Oct 16  
Lecture 8 10/16 (M) Fourier Analysis and Operational Amplifiers I HW8  (M) Oct 23  
Lecture 9 10/23 (M) Operational Amplifiers II HW9  (M) Oct 30  
Lecture 10 10/30 (M) Oscillators I HW10 (M) Nov 06  
Lecture 11 11/06 (M) Relaxation Oscillators      
Lecture 12 11/13 (M) Timing and Control      
L13 11/20 (M) Close Loop control      
L14 11/27 (M) PID controller      
L15 12/27 (M) Lock-in amplifier