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Last modified: 20 Hours, 22 Minutes ago

Course Overview

This 100% continuously assessed course explores two fundamental areas of physics. In electronics you will go from building simple circuits to designing complex logical architectures, using both real components and simulation software.

The optics half of the course explores various fascinating optical phenomena, some of which are practically applicable for geologists and many other scientific disciplines.   The practicals elegantly demonstrate the fundamental properties of light.

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 2
Session Second Sub Session Credit Points 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits)
Campus Aberdeen Sustained Study No
  • Dr Ross Macpherson

Qualification Prerequisites

  • Programme Level 2

What courses & programmes must have been taken before this course?

What other courses must be taken with this course?


What courses cannot be taken with this course?


Are there a limited number of places available?


Course Description

The course is evenly divided between an introduction to the fundamentals of digital electronics and optical experiments illustrating theory discussed in the PX 2013 course. The first six weeks of twelve are spent doing electronics, the remaining weeks are for optics.

The electronics begins at the level of specifying the behaviour of the basic logic gates and the construction on a breadboard of simple circuits from circuit diagrams, covers Boolean algebra and ends with using Karnaugh maps to develop fairly complex circuits from a set of desired behaviours.

The optics covers: interference effects, such as using Newton's rings to determine the radius of curvature of a lens and then the refractive index of water; polarisation, including optical activity and Brewster's angle; the function of lens systems, from finding focal to length to determining the six cardinal points of a telephoto lens; and laser diffraction from various different gratings and objects.

The optics experiments include a number of places where digital photographs are taken of an optical effect (the ring system for a lens on an optical flat, the Peacock's eyes from the aser beam) and used, particularly in the former case, to make measurements.

Degree Programmes for which this Course is Prescribed

  • BSc Geology - Physics
  • BSc Physical Sciences
  • Bachelor Of Science In Geophysics
  • Physics Minor

Contact Teaching Time

130 hours

This is the total time spent in lectures, tutorials and other class teaching.

Teaching Breakdown

  • 1 Computer Practical during University weeks 28, 34
  • 2 Science Laboratories during University weeks 25 - 27, 25 - 33, 29 - 35, 35
  • 1 Science Laboratory during University weeks 28, 34

More Information about Week Numbers

Summative Assessments

Assessment of Laboratory Reports

Exam Type Summative Weighting 40
Assessment Weeks Feedback Weeks

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Lab books are graded and returned weekly, marks for the experiments are made available to the students. The students submit one lab report on a self-selected electronics experiment and one on an optics experiment, due roughly one week after the completion of the topic. These are then marked and returned within a fortnight.

Learning Outcomes
NameKnowledge LevelThinking SkillOutcome
No data available

Exam Type Summative Weighting 60
Assessment Weeks Feedback Weeks

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Learning Outcomes
NameKnowledge LevelThinking SkillOutcome
No data available

Formative Assessment

There are no assessments for this course.

Resit Assessments

Re-submission of failed elements

Exam Type Summative Weighting
Assessment Weeks Feedback Weeks

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Learning Outcomes
NameKnowledge LevelThinking SkillOutcome
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Course Learning Outcomes

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