Learning outcomes of the course unit
The course aims at providing an introduction to basic digital circuits and the processing of digital signals, from both a theoretical and a practical point of view. While on one hand digital electronics is the underlying working principle of computers, on the other hand it is a relevant part of the expertise required by modern experimental physics, which motivates this course.
A background in analog electronics is preferable, although it is not strictly necessary.
Course contents summary
Analogue and digital signals.
- Digital signals as boolean quantities: Boole algebra, logical operators and functions.
- The circuital implementation of Boole operators: fundamental and derived logical ports.
- Binary representations of integers: addition and subtraction, binary codes.
- Minimization of logical expressions: Karnaugh maps.
- Combinatorial logical circuits: encoders/decoders, (de)multiplexers, digital adders.
Bistability and sequential logics.
- Latch, flip-flops, and registers.
- An application of flip-flops: ripple- and synchronous counters.
- General theory of synchronous counters: arbitrary sequence counting.
- Shift registers (SISO, SIPO, PISO).
- Asynchronous sequential circuits.
Digital-to-analog (D/A) and analog-to-digital (A/D) signal conversion.
- Fundamental concepts: sampling and quantization, over- and under-sampling, aliasing.
- D/A conversion.
- A/D conversion based on D/A in a feedback network: single-ramp, successive approximations, and sigma-delta converters.
- Double ramp A/D converter.
- Parallel (flash) A/D converter.
- General concepts: high/low levels, noise margin, fan-out; speed and power dissipation.
- TTL logics, 74xx IC family and derived ones (74LSxx, etc.)
- CMOS logical family.
Overview on semiconductor memories.
- Architecture of memory ICs.
- Read-only memories: ROM, PROM, EPROM, EEPROM.
- Read-write memories: SRAM, DRAM.
- P.H. Beards, Analog and digital electronics: a first course, Prentice Hall (italian translation: Elettronica analogica e digitale, Jackson Libri)
- Teacher's notes
An essentially practical approach is followed in this course. Lectures on the theory of digital signals and circuitry are accompanied by laboratory exercises, in an approximate ratio of 1:1. During laboratory sessions, students are required to design simple electronic circuits implementing digital functions, and to assemble and test them by mounting electronic components on breadboards.
Evaluation of students consists in an oral exam on theory and laboratory exercises, possibly integrated by a written test.