Electronics is about manipulating electricity to accomplish a particular task and is very much a hands-on endeavor. Since the result of building electronic circuits is usually a device that performs a task, this hands-on aspect should be self-evident. What is often obscured in the study of electronics is that even the most complicated electronic device is made up of many smaller and simpler circuits and components. Once you have an appreciation for some of these smaller circuits, it is rather easy to understand more complicated circuits. It should not be very surprising then that the focus of this book is on very practical things that, when several are combined, result in electronics and electronic systems of interest and use to those involved in optical engineering.
During their university training, many future engineers often discover in their first circuits class that electrical engineering is not for them. Some of these engineers still have the recurring nightmare that they have their final circuits test the next day! In spite of the loathing that those engineering circuits classes evoke, as topics go, understanding electronics is really not that difficult and can actually be fun if it is approached in the right way.
The right way that we will be using here is to break electronics into two main parts. The stuff you need to know and the fun stuff you want to know! Of course, before we can get to the fun stuff, we have to introduce some fundamental concepts and circuits. We will start our journey into the world of electronics by focusing on signals, simple circuits, common devices, and how to make measurements. Electronics is meant to be hands-on, so constructing some of the circuits will help you understand them, and you are encouraged to do so! Example calculations and MATLAB® scripts are provided to help you appreciate how electronics problems can be solved numerically. A brief introduction and refresher to MATLAB is provided in the Appendix, along with a Bibliography of suggested reading in case you want to find some additional information.
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