cod. 02126

Academic year 2023/24
3° year of course - Second semester
- Giovanni CHIORBOLI
Academic discipline
Misure elettriche ed elettroniche (ING-INF/07)
Attività formative affini o integrative
Type of training activity
48 hours
of face-to-face activities
6 credits
hub: PARMA
course unit

Learning objectives

By the end of the course, students should be able to understand:

• how to process measurement data, use curve fitting and evaluate the goodness of fit;

• how to estimate measurement uncertainty, using design stage and multiple measurement analysis; the propagation of individual uncertainties to final measurement results;

• operational principles of digital data acquisition and spectral analysis of data;

• basic signal conditioning circuits, evaluating more relevant non-idealities;

• basic electronics instruments behaviour.

Moreover, students should be able to do the followings:

• correctly apply basic instrumentation;

• design, conduct, and analyze laboratory experiments;

• properly report the results, with advance proficiency in professional communications and interactions.


It is expected that students will know: complex numbers, probability and signal theory, electrical and electronic (OpAmps) circuits

Course unit content

To introduce students with the fundamentals of modern metrology, with particular reference to the electronic measurements.

Topics include:

1) An introduction to metrology (measuring system modeling, International System of measurement units, electrical standards), and to evaluation of measurement uncertainty.

2) Analysis of some blocks of measurement systems: non-idealities of resistors, capacitors, and inductors; static non-idealities and noise of op-amps; their measurement effects, with reference to simple circuits; metrological characteristics and architectures of Analog-to-Digital converters; metrological characteristics of Digital-to-Analog converters, example of R-2R architecture.

3) Description and use of some basic instruments: multimeter, digital scope, frequency meter and time interval counter. Techniques, precautions for each measurement type, and required instrumentation configurations are stressed.

Full programme

1) Metrology theory: (16 hours)
1.1) Measurements for monitoring physical phenomena. Errors and uncertainty. Physical quantity, measurement units and standards. The International System of measurement units.
1.2) Modelling the measurement process: identifying sources of error, understanding and quantifying errors, codifying error effects on a specific reported value in a statement of uncertainty. Uncertainty propagation, type A and type B evaluations, composite and extended uncertainty, degrees of freedom. Measurement compatibility.
1.3) Least squares curve fitting of experimental data.

2) Components of electronic measurement systems: (12 hours)
2.1) Non-idealities in resistors, capacitors, and inductors.
2.2) Op-amp static non-idealities (offset, bias) and noise (input referred sources). Effects on some elementary measurement circuit.
2.3) Analog-to-Digital conversion. Sampling and quantisation. Non-idealities in real A/D converters. Dithering. Effective number of bits.
2.4) A/D converter's architectures:
2.4.1) Integrating converters (dual-slope, multi-slope, voltage-to-frequency);
2.4.2) A/D converters for time-varying signals (flash or parallel converter, interleaving, SAR-ADC).
2.5) Digital-to-Analog conversion. Some architectures

3) Basic measurement instruments: (6 hours)
3.1) Digital multimeter architecture (DC and AC voltage and current, resistance).
3.2) Digital scope: architecture, trigger, memory, real-time and equivalent-time sampling, interpolation (linear versus sinc), processing. Passive and active probes. Specifications.
3.3) Spectrum of a sampled signal (folding, noise level, leakage and windowing).
3.4) Superetherodyne spectrum analyser: architecture and behaviour.
3.5) Interval time, period, and frequency measurements: conventional and reciprocal electronic counter. Analogue and digital interpolation techniques for measuring time-intervals with picosecond resolution. Measurement uncertainty.

4) Laboratory
4.1) design and characterization of the Howland current generator: measurement of the output resistance
4.2) design and characterisation of a Voltage Controlled Resistor basen on an analog multiplier and/or design and characterisation of a RMS-to-DC converter with implicit RMS computation
4.3) design and characterisation of a Schmitt trigger
4.4) design and characterisation of an astable multivibrator
4.5) DC characterisation of Op-Amps
4.6) design and characterisation of a charge balancing V/f converter
4.7) MATLAB: numerical analysis of FFT spectra (quantization, folding of harmonics, windowing)


J.R. Taylor, Introduction to Error Analysis: The Study of Uncertainties in Physical Measurements, University Science Books; 2nd edition (August 1, 1996)

As an alternative:

P. Bevington, D. K. Robinson, Data Reduction and Error Analysis for Physical Sciences, McGraw-Hill; 3rd edition (July 23, 2002)

Teaching methods

The course is divided roughly in 17 lectures (2 hours each) and 7 labs.

A detailed schedule of lectures, material to read, labs, and homework is available on the course website.

Assessment methods and criteria

A mid-term exam with some exercises on metrology will be followed by a final oral examination.

At the end of the course the exam consists of a written test, only for those who have not passed the intermediate test and, for all, in an oral test consisting of two theory questions. The result of the written test and that of the oral exam contribute to 34% and 66%, respectively, of the final result.

Other information

Online material is available on Elly at the course beginning, and will be finally updated at the end