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Analog And Mixed Signal Design In A Junior Electronics Course Sequence

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

ASEE Multimedia Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.222.1 - 8.222.17



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Paper Authors

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John Nestor

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David Rich

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2793

Analog and Mixed-Signal IC Design in a Junior Electronics Course Sequence

David A. Rich and John A. Nestor Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering Lafayette College Easton, PA 18042


The integrated circuit revolution has impacted virtually all fields of engineering. The main driving force behind this revolution is Complementary Metal-Oxide Semiconductor (CMOS) transistor technology. As CMOS integrated circuit “chips” have come to dominate analog and digital electronics, introductory electronics courses in Electrical and Computer Engineering programs have evolved to place greater emphasis on CMOS transistors and amplifiers. However, due to the perception that chip design is too esoteric, both lecture and laboratory coverage of this important topic are usually deferred to more advanced courses. Design experiences are instead limited to “breadboard” circuits using discrete components and operational amplifiers.

This paper presents a new approach to teaching introductory electronics that incorporates the design and layout of CMOS chips. The coverage of topics in the two-semester sequence only needs minor changes from the traditional approach. Topics on the physics and design of bipolar devices are de-emphasized, but not eliminated. Similarly, we retain basic coverage of discrete-component design. We add coverage of integrated circuit processing and the design of basic analog and mixed-signal circuits at the transistor and layout levels.

In the lab, students start with traditional exercises using operational amplifiers, discrete components, and circuit simulation. They next undertake integrated circuit projects that include the design and layout of basic logic gates and differential pairs. The lab concludes with a capstone project where students design, lay out, and simulate complex circuits based on material found in IEEE technical publications.

The resulting course sequence gives ECE students a better understanding of the relationship between chip design and electronics. It also offers hands-on experience with circuit design at the chip level. The design and fabrication of student projects generates enthusiasm and motivates students' efforts to grasp underlying fundamentals and theory.

1. Introduction

Continued improvements in transistor and integrated circuit technology have brought about major changes in the design of electronic systems. While early integrated circuits

Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Nestor, J., & Rich, D. (2003, June), Analog And Mixed Signal Design In A Junior Electronics Course Sequence Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--11790

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