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An Engineering Physics Introduction to Electronics for ECE Sophomores

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Innovations in Teaching and Research in Physics or Engineering Physics II

Tagged Division

Engineering Physics & Physics

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.162.1 - 23.162.15



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Paper Authors


Steve E. Watkins Missouri University of Science & Technology

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DR. STEVE E. WATKINS is Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Missouri University of Science and Technology, formerly the University of Missouri-Rolla. His interests include educational innovation. He is active in IEEE, HKN, SPIE, and ASEE including service as the 2009 Midwest Section Chair and the 2012 Midwest Section Conference General Chair. His Ph.D. is from the University of Texas at Austin (1989). Contact:

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An Engineering Physics Introduction to Electronics for ECE Sophomores Electronic devices and circuits are fundamental parts of undergraduate curricula inelectrical engineering and computer engineering. Courses that introduce these topics typicallyemphasize either the semiconductor physics of such devices with little attention to the circuitanalysis or the circuit analysis of such devices with little attention to the device physics. A goodunderstanding of the basic operating point behavior is needed to understand more complexbehavior such as high-frequency analysis and optoelectronic systems. A good understanding ofbasic semiconductor structures and processes is needed to understand VLSI layout and design.A lower-level course that serves curricula needs of both electrical engineering and computerengineering can provide an early introduction to these important topics and can improve thelinkage between device physics and circuit behavior. Follow-on courses can then give morecomprehensive coverage of advanced concepts. A required, sophomore-level course that gives a balanced treatment of semiconductordevice physics and electronic circuit analysis is described. The course has been implemented forthe past four-years. The course topics are semiconductor physics, diodes, transistors, operationalamplifiers, and optoelectronics. The course is a prerequisite for upper-level courses inelectronics, semiconductor physics, and semiconductor circuit layout. A stronger link betweenphysical principles and device behavior and an improved sequence in electronics instruction areoutcomes. The selected topics are discussed in relation to desired curricula benchmarks and tothe alignment of core curricula for electrical and computer engineering. Also, studentperformance in a required electronics sequence is assessed before and after the implementationof this introductory course.

Watkins, S. E. (2013, June), An Engineering Physics Introduction to Electronics for ECE Sophomores Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--19176

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