Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Sensors, Electronics & Instrumentation
Academic Year
Semester 1
(PH15720 or FG15710); or (PH15510 or FG15510); or (CS12020 or CC12020)
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 11 x 1 Hour Lectures
Practical 22 x 3 Hour Practicals


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Practical Exercises x 1  50%
Semester Assessment Online Test x 5  50%
Supplementary Assessment Resubmit failed component  100%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

1. Demonstrate an understanding of instrumentation systems.
2. Describe the basic characteristics of digital and analogue signals and different conversion methods between them.
3. Describe the operation of sensors for light, temperature and other physical phenomena
4. Analyse the operation of simple filter circuits and explain the need for filtering.
5. Demonstrate the use of programmable systems for data acquisition.
6. Describe different communication protocols used in instrumentation.

Brief description

Measurement is an essential part of the scientific process. Instrumentation is the technology of measurement. In this module, students are taught the fundamental principles of instrumentation, to design a measurement system which takes due regard of problems such as accuracy, time response and noise of the overall system and its suitability for a particular measurement.
Modern instrumentation and data acquisition systems are invariably computer controlled, this module reflects this in its use of PC and other programmable devices to control and acquire data from sensors of various types.


This module aims to give a broad understanding of instrumentation systems which will be invaluable to students undertaking experimental physics.


What is an electronic instrumentation system? A top-down approach to system design.
Types of signal encountered by instrumentation systems.
Important terms associated with instrumentation systems.
Comparison of digital and analogue signals.
Analogue to digital conversion and vice versa - sampling and quantisation.
Physical origins of fundamental noise and its effect on instrumentation.
Examples of sensors used in instrumentation systems.
Effects of loading on signals.
Use of programmable systems for instrumentation.
Interfacing instrumentation systems

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Use numerical techniques to design and analyse sensor interfacing circuits.
Information Technology Program a data acquisition system.
Problem solving Evaluate different approaches to sensor interfacing. Create programs to meet a specification.
Research skills Use of datasheets and manufacturer supplied data for design. Research into facilities offered by programming languages
Subject Specific Skills Use of programmable data acquisition and instrumentation system.
Team work Work with laboratory partner to carry out practical work.


This module is at CQFW Level 5