Signals and noise. Introduction to measurements, errors and statistical distributions. Mathematical treatment of signals and noise in the time and in the frequency domain. Signal-to-Noise ratio (S/N). Autocorrelation functions, energy and power spectra. Noise sources in electronic circuits and sensors. Main types of noise spectra. Noise interpretation and modeling with statistical pulse sequences.
Extracting signals from noise. Linear filters with constant parameters and with time-variant parameters, action on signals and noise and resultant S/N. Pulse-signals and constant-parameter low-pass filters; Gated Integrator (GI); Boxcar Integrator (BI); Sample-and-Hold (S&H) and fast samplers; discrete filtering by sampling and weighted average of samples. Optimum filtering for pulse-amplitude measurements, significance and practical usefulness. Noise with 1/f spectrum: characteristic features and ensuing problems, filtering approach. Constant-parameter high-pass filters; correlated double sampling (CDS) and further developments; Baseline Restorer (BLR). Periodic signals and constant-parameter resonant filters; modulation of signals and noise; Lock-in Amplifier (LIA), analog and digital implementations of LIAs.
Sensors. The physical principles of their operationis discussed; the device structure and technology; characteristic features and electrical parameters; output signals and information content; equivalent electric circuit; internal noise. Photodetectors: vacuum tube and semiconductor photodiodes; photoconductors; Photomultiplier tubes (PMT), avalanche photodiodes (APD) and single-photon avalanche diodes (SPAD); analog and digital detection, single-photon counting (SPC) and time-correlated single- photon counting (TCSPC). Temperature Sensors: thermo resistances. Strain and Force Sensors: strain gauges sensors.