Summer 2017




This course is an elective and will be offered as an undergraduate/graduate class. If you

require a more detailed outline or any additional information, please send me an e-mail

(, call me at 330-972-6525


Undergraduate Class Number:                   31032

Course:                        4400:469-381, Intro: Sensors and Actuators

Period:                         6/12/17 – 8/6/17

Time:                           10:00 – 11:35 *

Location:                     LH 307 *

Credits:                       3

Prerequisites:              Senior standing or permission.


Graduate Class Number:                            31856

Course:                        4400:598-381, ST: Electrical Engineering – Seminar: Introduction to Sensors and Actuators

Period:                         6/12/17 – 8/6/17

Time:                           10:00 – 11:35 *

Location:                     LH 307 *

Credits:                       3

Prerequisites:              None.


Taught by:                 Nathan Ida, Electrical and Computer Engineering

Office Hours: See method of delivery.


Breadth and Depth for undergraduate students taking this class as an elective:

Electrical Engineers:

Please see the current EE list, available in the EE office or from your advisor.


Computer Engineers:

Please see the current CpE list, available in the EE office or from your advisor.


The class outline and some additional information is available at

Click on the sensors button and download or view the course outline

To register: please see or call Gay at 330-972-7649



Almost any modern electrical or electromechanical system includes sensors as inputs and

actuators as outputs. These may be as simple as a microphone and a speaker in a public address

system or more complex such as a car with temperature, pressure, speed, position and chemical

sensors and various valves, electric and vacuum motors, as well as other types of actuators.

It is therefore important that engineering students have a firm understanding of the various strategies for sensing and actuating as well as knowledge of the classes of sensors and actuators available, their properties, manufacturing and the theory behind them. This need has been further accentuated with the introduction of the Senior Design sequence, which has shown that almost all designs have to specify and implement sensors and actuators as well as to interface these to amplifiers drivers and microprocessors.

The present course fulfils these needs by providing an introduction to sensors and

actuators based on the various sensing and actuating strategies. Topics included are classification

of sensors and actuators, materials and manufacturing, sensitivity analysis, strategies for

measurement and interfacing as well as discussion of specific sensors and actuators.

Although this course addresses specific needs in the electrical and computer engineering

curricula, it is also relevant to other engineering disciplines including Mechanical Engineering,

Biomedical Engineering, Civil Engineering and Chemical Engineering.




Required:       N. Ida, Sensors, Actuators and Their Interfaces, Scitech Publishers, 2014.



J. Fraden, “AIP Handbook of Modern Sensors, Physics, Designs and Applications,” American

Institute of Physics.

C.W. de Silva, “Sensors and Actuators, CRC Press,

Note: The two books listed here are general purpose books and are quite good but I do not recommend you buy these books. I will follow the material in the required textbook.


Homework:    There will be a number of homework assignment plus a project towards the end of the class. More details will be available during the semester.


Grading:        Homework assignments:     40%

                        Project:                                  60%


There will be no formal exams in this class.


Course Topics:

1. Introduction

2. Performance Characteristics of Sensors and Actuator

3. Optical sensors

4. Temperature Sensors

5. Magnetic and Electromagnetic Sensors and Actuators

6. Mechanical Sensors

7. Acoustic Sensors and Actuators

8. Chemical Sensor

9. Radiation Sensors

10. MEMS and Smart Sensors

11. Interfacing Methods and Circuits

12. Interfacing to Microprocessors:



During Summer 2017, the course will be web-based. This means the following:

Finally, I very strongly recommend that you schedule the viewing of the lectures and your work on homework so that you complete everything on time. The class is intense and the time short. If you fall behind it is difficult to catch up. For this reason alone, I will not accept late homework. The student assistant will be instructed to this effect.



Additional details on the topics above:

1. Introduction

(Classification of sensors and actuators, sensing and actuating strategies, general requirements

for interfacing and actuation, sensing, transduction, actuation)


2. Performance Characteristics of Sensors and Actuators

(Input/output characteristics, accuracy, errors, repeatability, sensitivity analysis, hysteresis,

nonlinearity, saturation, frequency response, dynamic characteriostics, calibration, resolution,

excitation, impedance, applications)


3. Optical sensors:

(Photodiodes, phototransistors and photoresistors based sensors, Photomultipliers, light-to-light

detectors, Intrared sensors (thermal, PIR, AFIR, thermopiles), CCD sensors and detectors)


4. Temperature Sensors:

(Thermoresistive sensors: Thermistors, Resistance temperature sensors, Silicon resistive sensors,

Thermoelectric sensors, PN junction temperature sensors, Optical and acoustic temperature



5. Magnetic and Electromagnetic Sensors and Actuators:

(Motors as actuators (linear, rotational, stepping motors), magnetic valves, inductive sensors

(eddy current, LVDT, RVDT, Proximity), Hall effect sensors, Magnetoresistive sensors,

Magnetostrictive sensors and actuators, Magnetometers (fluxgate, search-coil, Squid), Voice coil

actuators (speakers and speaker-like actuators), Bolometers (microwaves))


6. Mechanical Sensors:

(Accelerometers (capacitive, piezoelectric, piezoresistive, thermal), Force sensors (strain gauges,

tactile sensors), Pressure sensors (semiconductor, piezoresistive, capacitive, VRP), Gyroscopes

(mechanical, optical, fiber-optics))


7. Acoustic Sensors and Actuators:

(Ultrasonic sensors (piezoelectric, electromagnetic), Piezoelectric actuators, Piezoelectric

resonators, Microphones, hydrophones, speakers, buzzers)


8. Chemical Sensor:

(Electrochemical, Thermo-chemical, ChemFET, Gas, pH, Humidity, moisture and Opticalchemical sensors), Chemical Actuators


9. Radiation Sensors:

(Ionization detectors, Scintillation detectors, Geiger-Mueller counters, Semiconductor radiation

detectors, Microwave sensors (resonant, reflection, transmission), Antennas as sensors)


10. MEMs and Smart Sensors

(Micro-Electro-Mechanical (MEMs) Sensors and Actuators, Smart sensors, ASIC based sensors, Wireless Sensors and Issues Associated with Wireless Sensors, Sensor Arrays). Note: the current videos do not cover this material – it is intended for the future but the notes are complete.


11. Interfacing Methods and Circuits:

(Amplifiers: operational amplifiers, power amplifiers, A/D and D/A converters, Bridge circuits,

Interfacing to microprocessors, Data transmission, Excitation methods and circuits,

Power requirements, Signal translation, Isolation, Noise, Interference, Compensation

(temperature, drift, etc.))


12. Interfacing to Microprocessors:

(General requirements for sensors and actuators, Input signal conditioning (offset, scaling,

isolation, hysteresis, etc.), Output signals (level, power, isolation, etc.), Driving metods (direct,

PWM), Errors (A/D and D/A)), noise and errors.



1. N. Ida, Sensors, Actuators and Their Interfaces, Scitech Publishers, 2014.

2. J. Fraden, “AIP Handbook of Modern Sensors, Physics, Designs and Applications,”

American Institute of Physics.

2. C.W. de Silva, “Sensors and Actuators, CRC Press,

3. A. D. Khazan, “Transducers and their Elements,” Prentice Hall.

4. R.S. Muller and T.I. Kamins, "Device Electronics for Integrated Circuits," John Wiley &


5. S.M. Sze, "Physics of Semiconductor Devices," newest version.

6. S.M. Sze, “Semiconductor Sensors,” John Wiley & Sons.

7. L. Ristic, “Sensor Technology and Devices,” Artech House, Inc.

8. R. Seippel, “Transducers, Sensors and Detectors,” ,Reston Publishing Company.

9. “Microsensors,” Eddited by RS. Muller, R. Howe, etc., IEEE Press.

10. A.S. Grove, "Physics and Technology of Semiconductor Devices," John Wiley & Sons.

11. H.F. Wolf, "Semiconductors," John Wiley & Sons Inc.