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Course Overview

6.101 is an introductory experimental laboratory that explores the design, construction, and debugging of analog electronic circuits. This subject covers diodes, transistors, JFETs, op-amps, and basic analog circuit design as applied to audio and radio frequency circuits. Students spend the second half of the term designing their own projects. Projects vary in scope and breadth, depending on students' level of prior background and interest. Past projects have ranged from simple power amplifiers to advanced noise canceling headphones.

6.101 aims to minimize math and emphasize visual and intuitive circuit understanding, to create a practical and useful design experience. In the process, students will learn to understand and use a wide variety of analog circuits. They will learn how to use books and periodicals to find circuit ideas and to supplement their textbook knowledge. Past final projects have included:

  • Theremin (an electronic instrument that produces sounds based on how far the user's hands are from a pair of metal rods)
  • Audio mixer, effects engine, Dolby decoder, and multi-channel power amplifiers
  • Noise cancelling headphones
  • Beat detector and note finder
  • FM modulated transmission over a power line
  • Laser link audio transmitter and receiver
  • 400W class D full range audio amplifier
  • Analog computer

The laboratory satisfies either the institute laboratory requirement or the course 6 laboratory requirement. It gives 12 Engineering Design Points. Passable performance in 6.002 or 6.071 should provide sufficient background. However, students often find it valuable to have taken more advanced circuit design classes, as they allow for more ambitious (and more interesting) final projects.


Amazon logo Neamen, Donald. Microelectronic Circuit Analysis and Design. 3rd ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, 2006. ISBN: 9780073285962.
The book comes with two free CD-roms and is the required textbook for this term.

Amazon logo Cathey, Jimmie J. Schaum's Outlines Electronic Devices and Circuits. 2nd ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, 2002. ISBN: 9780071362702.

Amazon logo Johnson, D. E., and V. Jayakumar. Operational Amplifier Circuits. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1982. ISBN: 9780136374473.

Amazon logo Horowitz, Paul, and Winfield Hill. The Art of Electronics. 2nd ed. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1989. ISBN: 9780521370950.
We strongly recommend that you also purchase this book. This reference will be useful in other courses and after graduation.


The first half of the class accounts for 50% of the grade. The other 50% comes from the final project.

First half of course
Homework 10%
Two quizzes 15%
Labs 25%
Final project
Project presentation and operation 25%
Write-up 25%

Recommended Citation

For any use or distribution of these materials, please cite as follows:

Ron Roscoe, course materials for 6.101 Introductory Analog Electronics Laboratory, Spring 2007. MIT OpenCourseWare (, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Downloaded on [DD Month YYYY].

Course Outline

I. Components

A. Resistors and capacitors standard values

B. Component symbols

C. Frequency response, bode plots, basics review

II. Diodes

A. Diodes, diode equation

B. Graphical/Load line analysis

C. Diode models

a. Ideal
b. Piecewise linear
c. AC
d. Other diode types

D. Zener diodes

E. Diode applications

a. Peak sample, power rectifier, clamps, regulator

III. Bipolar transistors

A. Definitions

B. V-I characteristics, breakdown

C. Common-emitter large signal model, graphical analysis

D. Common-collector

E. Common-emitter

F. Applications: current source, DC power supply regulator

IV. Bipolar transistors

A. Transistor biasing

B. Hybrid-pi equivalent circuit

C. High-frequency hybrid-pi

D. H-parameters

E. Common-emitter amplifier

F. AC load line

G. Common-collector (emitter-follower) amplifier

V. Junction field-effect transistors

A. Operation

B. Background and V-I characteristics: JFET

C. FET switch, chopper, MUX

D. Low frequency incremental model

E. Biasing

F. JFET current source

VI. Two-transistor amplifiers

A. Differential emitter-coupled pair

a. Current mirror

B. Complementary emitter-follower (Class B, AB)

C. Amplifier classes

D. Power amplifiers

VII. Operational amplifiers

A. Overview

B. Basic linear op-amp circuits

a. Inverting, non-inverting, addition, subtraction
b. AC amplifiers, inverting, and non-inverting
c. Cascading; Ideal impedances
d. I-V conv, V-I conv, difference amp, instrument amp

C. Integrator, differentiator

D. Lossy integrator

E. Negative feedback

VIII. Operational amplifiers

A. Limitations

a. Effect of finite open-loop gain
b. Differential and common mode input voltage limits
c. Common-mode rejection ration
d. Input resistance
e. Input bias current, input offset current
f. Non-zero output resistance
g. Frequency response, gain-bandwidth product
h. Output voltage swing, saturation
i. Output current limit
j. Compensation
k. Slew rate
l. Offset voltage and drift
m. Op-amp selection considerations

IX. Operational amplifiers

A. Non-linear op-amp circuits

a. Precision ½ wave rectifier, log and antilog amps
b. Comparator
c. Schmitt-trigger
d. Schmitt-trigger oscillator [astable multivibrator]
e. 555 IC timer

X. Practical matters

A. Physical layout; intercircuit coupling

B. Vcc, Vee bypassing

a. Capacitors and resistors at very high frequencies

C. Interference and shielding

D. Grounding and ground sequencing

E. Optoelectronic isolators