NFYB14003U Measurement and Control in Experimental Physics

Volume 2015/2016

BSc Programme in Nanoscience

BSc Programme in Physics


The course presents basic concepts of measurement and feedback control in experimental physics, with emphasis on active analog electronics circuitry (operational amplifiers, transistors) and different kind of sensors.

Subjects covered are servo-loops and their stability, transfer functions and their measurement, noise in electronics circuitry and low-noise design / noise cancellation techniques, sensors and front-end amplifiers.

General concepts from control theory, statistical and semiconductor physics will be introduced/reiterated during the course, with emphasis on practical aspects relevant for experimental work in research groups at the NBI.

Learning Outcome

Upon completion of the course the student should be able to:

  • design and build simple operational amplifier circuits such as inverting or integrating amplifiers, recognize simple subcircuits as building blocks for more complicated circuitry, explain negative and positive feedback and analyze the stability of a feedback loop.
  • choose a suitable electronic sensor for their measurement task
  • design simple front-end amplifiers to solve a specific measurement task e.g. photodetection, potentials in biological systems.
  • implement simple feedback controllers (e.g. for temperature stabilization).
  • understand the mathematical description of noise from stochastic processes.
  • discuss the nature and typical size of noise in electronic circuitry such as shot-noise, Johnson noise, 1/f-noise,  and make a noise budget for simple electronic circuits.
  • explain and compare different measurement strategies e.g. such as baseband or lock-in detection.


  • Passive and active elements in electronic circuits
  • Sensors
  • Basic operational amplifier circuits
  • Feedback-loops and stability criteria
  • Thermal noise and shot-noise in electronics
  • Low-noise measurement techniques

The course provides students with a solid background and some practical experience in electronic signal processing. The course aims to prepare students for experimental work in the research groups at NBI for their Bachelor and Master projects. Also, the course can be useful for students of other disciplines who expect to use electronics for parameter control, signal processing and conditioning in one way or another.

to be announced

Knowledge corresponding to the first 2 years of the physics study.
Specifically: Electromagnetism, Statistical Physics; prior studies of introductory solid state physics and basic lab-experience e.g. from an experimental physics course are helpful.
Lectures, Tutorials, Laboratory exercises
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Exam
  • 0,5
  • Laboratory
  • 35
  • Lectures
  • 28
  • Preparation
  • 142,5
  • Total
  • 206,0
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Oral examination, 30 minutes
30-minute oral exam without preparation time.
Exam registration requirements

Students have to participate in at least 80% of the Lab-Exercises

Only certain aids allowed

Own notes from Lab-Exercises

Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
several internal examiners

Re-exam is the same as the ordinary exam. If a student has not passed the prerequisite (participation in lab exercises), the student cannot take the re-exam, but must follow the course again.

Criteria for exam assesment

The grade 12 is awarded for an excellent performance displaying a high level of command of all aspects of the relevant material, with no or only a few minor weaknesses.