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Unit outline_

ELEC5516: Electrical and Optical Sensor Design

Semester 1, 2021 [Normal day] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

The course focuses on environmentally friendly, intelligent sensors for multiple parameters monitoring to be used in power network and broadband network. The concepts learnt in this unit will be heavily used in various engineering applications in power systems, fiber optic systems and health monitoring. These concepts include: 1) Theory, design and applications of optical fiber sensors. 2) Sensor technologies for the growth of smart grid in power engineering. 3) Actuators and motors for electrical sensor and its applications. 4) Wearable sensor technologies for ehealth monitoring.

Unit details and rules

Academic unit Electrical and Information Engineering
Credit points 6
Assumed knowledge

Math Ext 1, fundamental concepts of signal and systems, fundamental electrical circuit theory and analysis

Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Liwei Li,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Final exam (Record+) Type B final exam Final Exam
60% Formal exam period 2 hours
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8 LO9 LO10
Assignment Laboratory
20% Multiple weeks n/a
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO9
Assignment Assignment
20% Multiple weeks n/a
Outcomes assessed: LO3 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8 LO9 LO10
Type B final exam = Type B final exam ?

Assessment summary

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a high distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100



75 - 84



65 - 74



50 - 64



0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 Introduction: sensors and applications Lecture and tutorial (5 hr)  
Week 02 Engineering measurement with sensors (general concepts, static and dynamic measurement) Lecture and tutorial (5 hr)  
Week 03 Signal conditioning (filters, noise reduction) and data acquisition Lecture and tutorial (5 hr)  
Week 04 Potentiometers, capacitive sensors and inductive sensors, Hall effect sensors Lecture and tutorial (5 hr)  
Week 05 Principles of electromagnetics Lecture and tutorial (5 hr)  
Week 06 Electromagnetic actuators (relays) and motors (AC/DC/Step motors) Lecture and tutorial (5 hr)  
Week 07 Optical sensor intruction Lecture and tutorial (5 hr)  
Week 08 Light sources and photodetectors Lecture and tutorial (5 hr)  
Week 09 Optical devices Lecture and tutorial (5 hr)  
Week 10 Optical strain and temperature sensor Lecture and tutorial (5 hr)  
Week 11 Optical sensors for power systems and guest lecture Lecture and tutorial (5 hr)  
Week 12 Biophotonic sensors Lecture and tutorial (5 hr)  
Week 13 Fiber optic sensor review Lecture and tutorial (5 hr)  

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Required readings

All readings for this unit can be accessed through the Library eReserve, available on Canvas.

  • 2nd Edition by P.P.L Regtien, Electronic Instrumentation. Delft University Press.
  • Edited by Shizhou Yin, Paul B Ruffin and Francis T.S. Yu , Fiber-optic sensors. CRC Press.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. demonstrate fluency in communicating concisely and accurately using varied formats such as written and oral, to deliver specific engineering project information
  • LO2. work in a team and promote creative team interaction to encourage contribution from all members to deliver specific engineering projects and assignments
  • LO3. design, evaluate, and select the appropriate sensors according to practical engineering applications
  • LO4. analyze sensor performance and present an initial design for engineering applications
  • LO5. understand the basic principles and performance characteristics of common electrical and fiber sensor technologies
  • LO6. formulate analytical modeling and perform software simulation to determine the key characteristics of specified sensors
  • LO7. identify information needs and target information searches effectively and efficiently using varied sources such as internet, library databases and electronic publications as part of specific engineering projects
  • LO8. apply concepts, principles and techniques to analyse sensors
  • LO9. demonstrate an understanding of system concepts of sensor technologies
  • LO10. select and use maths/science models and tools for performance analysis of sensor devices.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

It has been a wonderful experience to lecturing ELEC5516 Electrical and Optical Sensor Design and working with so many young students this semester. I can see that the students have very positive feedback about the laboratories, as these activities are good prospects for students to really “see” and “manipulate” the “sensors” and “sensing network designs” in the lab environment, which intend to let the students to understand the concept better and easier. I would also like to take this great opportunity to sincerely thank you for your great effort and support for this unit of study throughout the whole period. If you have any further questions or you would like to discuss more about your future study plan, please feel free to contact me by email, phone or in person. Finally, wishing you an amazing adventure and all the very best for the future study and career.


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