Undergraduate Teaching 2017-18

Engineering Tripos Part IIA, 3B2: Integrated Digital Electronics, 2017-18

Engineering Tripos Part IIA, 3B2: Integrated Digital Electronics, 2017-18

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Dr D Popa


Dr D Popa and Dr O Akan

Lab Leader

Dr O Akan

Timing and Structure

Lent term. 16 lectures.


The aims of the course are to:

  • Introduce the principles of design and operation of the major digital integrated circuit technologies.
  • Discuss the importance of miniaturising digital circuits and their key role in microprocessors, memories and programmable logic devices.
  • Describe techniques such as tabular minimisation and hazard analysis for the design of trouble-free combinatorial logic circuits.
  • Show how to use LSI chips such as Programmable Logic Arrays, how to minimise the number of states in a system and how to design sequential logic systems.


As specific objectives, by the end of the course students should be able to:

  • Use the Quine-McClusky method to simplify logic having 5 or more inputs; to be familiar with Prime Implicant tables; be able to use the Prime Implicant function to choose the simplest logic solution; be able to deal with "Don't-care".
  • Use both map and algebra methods to detect and correct for logic hazards; be aware of all the different types of hazards.
  • Analyse and synthesise how LSI circuits are used in logic; Multiplexers, Read-only Memories, Programmable Logic Devices (PLD, PLA, PAL) are all to be understood in this application.
  • Design sequential logic circuits; to know about the Moore and Mealy models. In design, to be able to eliminate equivalent states, to know about merging, and to be able to choose the best bistable allocation, and to use all bistable types.
  • Design of asynchronous and synchronous circuits. Use of complex PLDs for design of sequential networks. Design and configuration of Field Programmable Gate Arrays.
  • Appreciate the drive to miniaturise digital circuits and understand how this has improved performance and reduced cost.
  • Know the definitions for noise margins, rise times, fall times and transfer characteristics for digital circuits.
  • Be aware of the two operating regions (saturation and non-saturation) of the Metal-Oxide-Semiconductor Field Effect Transistor (MOSFET) and understand how the equations for the two regions are used to design and estimate the performance of digital circuit
  • Appreciate the evolution of MOSFET inverters from the resistive load inverter through the enhancement and depletion transistor load inverters to the CMOS inverter.
  • Plot the transfer characteristics and calculate the rise times for NMOS and CMOS inverters.
  • Know the basic gate circuits for NMOS and CMOS logic and be able to compare their performance.
  • Distinguish between the cut-off, linear and saturation regions of the bipolar transistor and know how the Ebers-Moll equations are used to design and estimate the performance of bipolar transistor digital circuits.
  • Explain charge storage in diodes and bipolar transistors and understand how it limits the switching speed of bipolar digital circuits.
  • Explain the operation of bipolar/CMOS (BiCMOS) circuits and be aware of their advantages for fast logic gates.
  • Explain the operation of Emitter Coupled Logic (ECL) logic circuits and be able to plot the transfer characteristic and calculate the risetime for an ECL inverter.
  • Understand the operation of the MOS Schmitt trigger and be able to calculate the trigger voltages.
  • Understand the operating principles and design challenges of static and dynamic memories.


Logic Circuits (8L)

Logic simplification and synthesis, tabular methods (L & P Chap. 3, Roth Chap 6-8).
Logic functions using multiplexers, logic arrays, ROMs, PLAs, PALs (L & P Chaps. 4.5, 5.3, 5.4, Roth Chap 9 ).
Hazards: static and dynamic, correction (L &P Chap. 5.5, Roth Chap 26).
Design of asynchronous sequential circuits (L & P Chap. 8, Roth  Chap 23-25).
Design of synchronous sequential circuits (L & P Chap. 7, Roth Chap 16).
Sequential network design with PLDs (Roth Chap 19).
Complex combinational/sequential circuits, FPGAs.
Alternative logic. Introduction to quantum computation.

Digital Circuits (8L)

Introduction to digital microelectronics.
Logic gate definitions; inverter transfer characteristics, noise margins, rise times, fall times, delay times, etc. (H & J, Chap. 1)
MOS Transistors (H & J, Chap. 2).
MOS and CMOS Inverters (H & J Chap. 3).
Bipolar Transistors and charge storage (H & J Chap. 4).
ECL (H & J, Chap. 7).
BiCMOS gates. Schmitt triggers (H & J, Chapter 8).
Semiconductor memories: static and dynamic RAM circuits (H & J, Chapter 9).


Two experiments are provided (only one may be counted).

[Experiment A - Logic Analyzers]

Learning objectives

  • Be familiar with logic analyzers
  • Generate and examine random signals
  • Examine and measure a IEEE-488 communication bus

[Experiment B - Digital Circuits]

Learning objectives

  • Be familiar with digital ICs
  • Measure and characterize NAND gates
  • Assemble and test digital circuits using ICs

Practical information:

  • Sessions will take place in EIETL, during weeks 1-8 Lent term.
  • This activity involves preliminary work (~2h). You are required to read the lab handouts before lab sessions, and perform any activity required by the Lab Leader as a preparation for the lab.

Full Technical Report:

Students will have the option to submit a Full Technical Report.



Please see the Booklist for Part IIA Courses for references for this module.

Examination Guidelines

Please refer to Form & conduct of the examinations.

Last modified: 13/09/2017 10:13