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Spie Press Book

Practical Electronics for Optical Design and Engineering
Author(s): Scott W. Teare
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Book Description

This book provides a functional overview of electronics and an appreciation for how knowledge of electronics can enhance optical engineering projects. The first six chapters focus on a wide range of circuits that are fundamental to understanding and working with electronics. This presentation is supplemented by techniques for making electronic measurements and for moving data from the sensor to the computer. The next seven chapters introduce electronic devices of interest to optical engineers and build on the earlier chapters. Examples are provided throughout the book that range from simple calculations to sample MATLAB® scripts. The aim of the MATLAB-based examples is to support an understanding of the fundamentals and relationships behind the electronics, and to provide a starting point for creating customized code.

Book Details

Date Published: 25 July 2016
Pages: 234
ISBN: 9781510603622
Volume: TT107

Table of Contents
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Table of Contents

Acronyms and Abbreviations


1 Introduction to Electronics
1.1 Ohm's Law
1.2 Simple LED Circuits
1.3 Resistors
1.4 Signals
1.5 Measuring Instruments
1.6 Voltage Dividers and Regulators
1.7 Device Data Sheets
1.8 Practice Problems

2 Common Electronic Circuits and Components
2.1 Bridges and Balance Measurements
2.2 Diodes
2.3 Transformers and Inductors
2.4 Transistor Switches and Amplifiers
2.5 Power Transistors
2.6 Combining Transistors
2.7 Digital-to-Analog Conversion
2.8 Practice Problems

3 Linear Amplifiers
3.1 Inverting Operational Amplifier Configuration
3.2 Non-inverting Operational Amplifier Configuration
3.3 Operational Amplifiers: Math Circuits
3.4 Differential Amplifiers
3.5 Transfer Functions, Imaginary Numbers, and Decibels
3.6 Bode Plots
3.7 Practice Problems

4 Useful Op-Amp Circuits
4.1 Instrumentation Amplifiers
4.2 Improved Precision Rectifier
4.3 Peak Detectors
4.4 Oscillators
4.5 Sample-and-Hold Circuits
4.6 Voltage Indicators
4.7 Practice Problem

5 Digital Electronics
5.1 Elements of Digital Logic
5.2 Binary Logic
5.3 Flip-Flops and Latches
5.4 Programmable Integrated Circuits
5.5 Microcontrollers
5.6 Field-Programmable Gate Arrays
5.7 Practice Problems

6 Instrumentation, Signal Conditioning, and Filters
6.1 Instrumentation
6.2 Passive Analog Filters
6.3 Active Analog Filters
6.4 Analog-to-Digital Conversion
6.5 Digital Filters and Signal Processing
6.6 Noise and Analysis
6.7 Practice Problems


7 Solar Cells and Rechargeable Batteries
7.1 Solar Cells
7.2 Batteries and Charging
7.3 Solar Cells and Panels
7.4 Solar-Panel-based Battery Charger
7.5 Fast Chargers
7.6 Solar Panels and Fast Chargers
7.7 Going Farther
7.8 Practice Problems
References and Notes

8 Photodiodes
8.1 Light Detectors
8.2 Transimpedance Amplifiers
8.3 Amplifier Chaining
8.4 Removing Unwanted Effects
8.5 Photodiode Applications
8.6 Capacitance and Oscillation in Amplifiers
8.7 Practice Problems

9 Quad-Cells and Position-Sensitive Detectors
9.1 Quad-Cells
9.2 Quad-Cell Mathematics
9.3 Quad-Cell Electronics
9.4 Position-Sensitive Detectors
9.5 Spot Location in Position-Sensitive Detectors
9.6 Position-Sensitive Sensor Electronics
9.7 Practice Problems

10 Proportional-Integral-Derivative Controllers
10.1 Controllers
10.2 Proportional-Integral-Derivative Controllers
10.3 Bang-Bang Controllers
10.4 Proportional Controllers
10.5 Proportional-Integral Controllers
10.6 Proportional-Integral-Derivative Controller Redux
10.7 Proportional-Integral-Derivative Electronics

11 Strain Gauges
11.1 Strain Measurement
11.2 Gauge Factor
11.3 Strain Gauge Calculations and Electronics
11.4 Strain Gauge Signal Processing Electronics
11.5 Load Cell to Microcontroller
11.6 Strain Gauge Applications in Optics
11.7 Practice Problems

12 Stepper Motors and Actuators
12.1 Stepper Motors
12.2 Stepper Motor Signals
12.3 H-Bridges
12.4 Microcontroller-Driven Stepper Motors
12.5 Actuators
12.6 Feedback Sensors
12.7 Practice Problems

13 High and Higher Voltage
13.1 Transformers
13.2 Quartz Crystal Oscillators
13.3 Integrated-Circuit Oscillators
13.4 Resonant Oscillators
13.5 Cockcroft–Walton Voltage Multipliers
13.6 High-Voltage Safety Dos and Don'ts
13.7 Practice Problems


14 Circuit Boards, Connectors, and Packaging
14.1 Circuit Boards for Prototyping and Finished Products
14.2 Wall Transformers and Power
14.3 Cables and Connectors
14.4 Fuses and Circuit Breakers
14.5 Transient Voltage Control
14.6 Packaging

15 Tying It All Together: From Sensor to Computer
15.1 Instrument Overview
15.2 Analog Circuit
15.3 Microcontroller Organization
15.4 Error Trapping, Management, and Log Files
15.5 Data Storage and Analysis
15.6 Summary

Appendix: MATLAB® Introduction and Refresher
A.1 MATLAB Introduction
A.2 MATLAB Basic Commands
A.3 MATLAB Refresher
A.4 MATLAB Scripts
A.5 MATLAB Commands: A Closer Look



Optical engineers make use of a wide range of sensors and controllers in optical systems. Photodetectors, cameras, and actuator systems all use electronics and electrical control systems to operate. There are a wide range of manufacturers of electronics systems, but sometimes all we need is a simple circuit to read a sensor or to condition a signal. Whether the needed electronics are to support a photodiode or a strain gauge, or just to make a trigger to start several instruments simultaneously, quite often the needed components are readily available on the bench. However, the how-to and confidence to start assembling the needed device may be lacking. Once a circuit has been assembled, the question arises of how to properly check its operation. This might require the use of tools that perhaps haven't been touched since that one undergraduate circuits class that still causes those exam anxiety nightmares!

Practical Electronics for Optical Design and Engineering has been organized into three parts: Basic Electronics, Optical Applications, and Projects and Finishing. The first part, Basic Electronics, focuses on a wide range of fundamental circuits important in understanding and working with electronics including making electronic measurements and techniques for moving the data from a sensor through to a computer. Optical Applications is composed of seven chapters and builds on the previous material, introducing specific electronics of interest to optical engineers. Projects and Finishing provides some ideas about how to complete projects and works through the development of an example instrument.

The book is designed so that you can get started on any chapter that catches your attention and seek more specialized information from the earlier chapters as needed. Some examples of these interesting circuits are transimpedance amplifiers and drivers for low-light photodiodes, using solar cells as a power source or battery charger, low-resolution digital-to-analog converts, analog controllers, quad-cell processing, and analog control circuits. Discussions on how practical electronics work, their design, and translating this to circuit boards manufacturing, as well as the limitations of different prototyping approaches are included.

Examples throughout the book range from simple calculations to sample MATLAB® scripts. You are encouraged not only to work the examples and use the MATLAB code, but to construct and test the circuits. The aim of the MATLAB-based examples is to support an understanding of the fundamentals and relationships behind the electronics and to provide a starting point for your own code.

I hope that Practical Electronics for Optical Design and Engineering provides the interested reader with a functional overview of the topic of electronics and an appreciation for the way knowledge of electronics can enhance optical projects. While this book is not meant to be a complete treatise on electronics, as there are many excellent books on the topic, the aim here is to provide an introduction more closely tied to the needs of those working in optical engineering and design.

I greatly appreciate all of the colleagues and friends who have both directly and indirectly helped me in preparing and writing this book, and I am grateful for their unswerving and unselfish support. I also appreciate the feedback from the many students who over the years have helped me refine my optics and electronics lectures and laboratories. I am particularly grateful to my grandfather, Stephen Holmes Scott, who introduced me to electronics many years ago.

While I have benefited from the support of many individuals in preparing this work, any errors that remain in the text are mine to fix. I would appreciate receiving any assistance in this in the form of comments and corrections. Please direct any correspondence to the author c/o New Mexico Tech, Electrical Engineering Department, Socorro, NM 87801, USA.

I am most grateful for the support of SPIE Press for their interest in publishing this work as part of the Tutorial Text Series, and particularly the efforts of Senior Editor, Dara Burrows, for putting this work into its final form.

Scott W. Teare
Professor of Electrical Engineering
New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology
Socorro, New Mexico
May 2016

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