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PHSI245 Electronics for the Sciences

Electronics plays a key role in most aspects of modern life and scientific endeavours are no exception. The vast majority of measurements that are made are made using electronic devices. This course will give you a basic understanding of how electronic devices and measurement processes work. As well as understanding the operation of existing electronic systems, this basic understanding will help you to develop your own. There is a large and well developed market place for electronic components and modules, as well as cheap and accessible manufacture on demand services. Together with high quality open source tools. This means that professional grade electronics solutions are often accessible to those with some basic knowledge with very little setup cost.

The course has two lectures a week and one help room session per week. There is a 4-hour lab every fortnight

Important information about assessment for PHSI245

Course Coordinator

Dr Jevon Longdell

Paper Content

Power, Resistivity and Resistance

Circuit Elements

Linear circuits

AC Circuits and Impedance

Resonant circuits

Operational Amplifiers

Semiconductor Devices

Logic and Digital


Power electronics

Learning outcomes

The goal of this paper is to provide an introductory understanding of simple, useful electronic circuits, in terms of the underlying DC and AC circuit theory using complex numbers, and the fundamentals of digital logic. Many circuits and principles are tested in the lab by the student.

Mathematically analyse simple AC and DC circuits including the use of complex numbers
Understand the fundamentals of digital logic and how to program a simple microcontroller
Understand the operation of Op-amps and how to design op-amp circuits for various applications
Gain a basic understanding of semiconductor physics and be able to explain the operation of diodes and transistors
Understand the operation of combinatorical and sequential logic devices

Formal University Information

The following information is from the University’s corporate web site.

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An introduction to key concepts in analog and digital electronics. Linear networks and filters, operational amplifiers, simple transistor circuits, logic gates, microcontrollers and digital applications.

The goal of this paper is to provide an introductory understanding of simple, useful electronic circuits, in terms of the underlying DC and AC circuit theory using complex numbers, and to implement simple functionality using a microcontroller. Many circuits and principles are tested in the lab by the student with the aid of comprehensive computer-based virtual instruments, coupled to a breadboard system that allows effective investigation and experimentation.

Paper title Electronics for the Sciences
Paper code PHSI245
Subject Physics
EFTS 0.1500
Points 18 points
Teaching period Semester 2 (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,141.35
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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(MATH 130 or MATH 140) or one of PHSI 131, PHSI 132, PHSI 191
ELEC 253
Recommended Preparation
PHSI 132 or PHSI 191
Schedule C

Associate Professor Jevon Longdell

Teaching staff

Associate Professor Jevon Longdell
Dr Tim Molteno

Practical Electronics for Inventors by Schertz & Monk - 3rd Edition or later.
Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Global perspective, Interdisciplinary perspective, Lifelong learning, Scholarship, Critical thinking, Information literacy, Self-motivation.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes
After completing this paper students will be able to:
  1. Understand how electronic circuits and devices can provide high-speed, predictable, reliable functionality
  2. Mathematically analyse simple DC and AC circuits, including the use of complex numbers
  3. Build, debug and understand simple electronic circuits in the lab using a breadboard, electronic components, and virtual test equipment
  4. Present a well-structured report of the results of a laboratory investigation
  5. Understand how to design and program a simple microcontroller circuit to implement basic high-level functionality

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Semester 2

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Monday 13:00-13:50 28-34, 36-41
Friday 10:00-10:50 29-34, 36-41


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Wednesday 11:00-11:50 28-34, 36-41


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Thursday 14:00-16:50 28-34, 36-41