Sensors - (5 cfu)

Prof. Giovanni Chiorboli Tel. 0521.905809 - Fax. 0521.905822
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A study of operation, design, applications of modern sensors typically found in an automated manufacturing environment. A variety of techniques and signal conditioning configurations will be covered.
Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to: understand the various types of sensors available in industry and their applications; understand physical principles behind various sensors; know how to interface sensors to a system.
Lecture and lab.


Introduction: sensors, transducers, and actuators; sensor classification; interfering and modifying inputs, compensation techniques; static and dynamic characteristics; materials; primary sensors.

Resistive sensors: potentiometers, strain gages (piezoresistive effect, types, and applications), resistive temperature detectors, thermistors (types, applications, linearization), magnetoresistors.

Signal conditioning for resistive sensors: measurement of resistance, voltage dividers, Wheatstone bridge (sensitivity, linearity, amplification). Interference.

Inductive sensors: equivalent circuit, dissipative effects, dissipative and quality factors. Variable reluctance sensors, eddy current sensors, linear variable differential transformers (LVDT), magnetoelastic and magnetostrictive sensors. Electromagnetic sensors (Hall effect sensors).

Capacitive sensors: equivalent circuit, dissipative effects, dissipative and quality factors. Variable capacitor, differential capacitor.

Signal conditioning for reactance variation sensors: AC bridges (sensibility, linearization, amplification, power supply decoupling, shields, AC/DC converters). Coherent detection. Specific signal conditioners for capacitive sensors.

Self-generating sensors: thermocouples (thermoelectric effects, common thermocouples, signal conditioning), piezoelectric sensors (piezoelectric effect, materials, signal conditioning, applications), pyroelectric sensors (pyroelectric effect, materials, radiation laws, applications).

Resonant sensors: sensor based on quartz resonators, SAW sensors.

Digital and intelligent sensors: sensor-microcontroller interfacing, communication systems for sensors (current loop 4-20 mA, buses). Intelligent sensors.

Attività d'esercitazione

14 hours with 1 laboratory assignment.

Modalità d'esame

Final Exam, Laboratory Report and presentation, homework assignments.


It is expected that students will know operational amplifiers. Electronic Measurements

Testi consigliati

R. Palląs-Areny, J. G. Webster, Sensors and Signal Conditioning, John Wiley & Sons Inc., 2001 (ISBN: 0471332321)

Testi d'approfondimento

J. Fraden, Handbook of modern sensors. Physics, designs, and applications. 3rd ed. Springer, 2003 (ISBN: 0387007504)
S. Franco, Design with operational amplifiers and analog integrated circuits, 3rd ed., McGrawHill, 2002 (ISBN: 0071207031)
Practical design techniques for sensor signal conditioning, Analog Devices,

Ultimo aggiornamento: 08-06-2007

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