Measurement and Control in Experimental Physics

Course content

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, linear systems, 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 NBI.


BSc Programme in Physics
BSc Programme in Nanoscience

Learning outcome


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

  • measure and model properties of linear physical systems.
  • design and build simple operational amplifier circuits such as inverting or integrating amplifiers, recognize basic 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).
  • 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 aims to prepare students for experimental work in the research groups at NBI for their Bachelor and Master projects.

Competences acquired in this course will enable future teachers and physicists to understand and improve existing measurement setups and to develop new ones.

The course provides students with a solid background and some practical experience in electronic signal processing and is also useful for students of other disciplines who expect to use electronics for parameter control, signal processing and conditioning in one way or another.

Lectures, Tutorials, Laboratory exercises

to be announced

Knowledge corresponding to the first 2 years of the physics study.
Specifically: Electromagnetism; basic lab-experience e.g. from an experimental physics course as well as elementary programming skills for data analysis are helpful.

7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Oral examination, 30 minutes
30-minute oral exam without preparation time.
Only certain aids allowed

Own notes from Lab-Exercises

Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
several internal examiners
Criteria for exam assessment

see learning outcome

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 28
  • Laboratory
  • 35
  • Preparation
  • 142,5
  • Exam
  • 0,5
  • English
  • 206,0