Physics of Measurement
This course explores the fundamental underpinnings of experimental measurements from the perspectives of coupling, responsivity, noise, backaction, and information. Its overarching goal is to enable students to develop intuition about, and to critically evaluate, a diversity of real measurement systems - and to provide a framework for estimating the ultimate and practical limits to information that can be extracted from them. Topics will include physical signal transduction and responsivity, fundamental noise processes, modulation, frequency conversion, synchronous detection, signal-sampling techniques, digitization, signal transforms, spectral analyses, and correlation methods. The first term will cover the essential fundamental underpinnings, while topics in second term will focus their application to high frequency, microwave, and fast time-domain measurements where distributed approaches become imperative. The second term (in alternate years) may focus on topics that include either measurements at the quantum limit, biosensing and biological interfaces, of functional brain imaging.
The online version of the Caltech Catalog is provided as a convenience; however, the printed version is the only authoritative source of information about course offerings, option requirements, graduation requirements, and other important topics.