Sensors and Signals (MECH5720)


Syllabus Summary: This course starts by providing a background to the signals and transforms required to understand modern sensors. It goes on to provide an overview of the workings of typical active sensors (Radar, Lidar and Sonar). It provides insight into basic sensing methods as well as aspects of interfacing and signal processing. It includes both background material and a number of case studies.
The course covers the following topics: a) SIGNALS: Convolution, The Fourier Transform, Modulation (FM, AM, FSK, PSK etc), Frequency shifting (mixing); b) PASSIVE SENSORS: Infrared Radiometers, Imaging Infrared, Passive Microwave Imaging, Visible Imaging & Image Intensifiers; c) ACTIVE SENSORS THE BASICS: Operational Principles, Time of flight (TOF) Measurement and Imaging of Radar, Lidar and Sonar, Radio Tags and Transponders, Range Tacking, Doppler Measurement, Phase Measurement; d) SENSORS AND THE ENVIRONMENT: Atmospheric Effects, Target Characteristics, Clutter Characteristics, Multipath; e) ACTIVE SENSORS: ADVANCED TECHNIQUES: Probability of Detection, Angle Measurement and Tracking, Combined Range/Doppler and Angle Tracking, Frequency Modulation and the Fast Fourier Transform, High Range Resolution, Wide Aperture Methods, Synthetic Aperture Methods (SAR)
Objectives: The course aims to provide students with a good practical knowledge of a broad range of sensor technologies, operational principles and relevant signal processing techniques.
Expected Outcomes: A good understanding of active sensors, their outputs and applicable signal processing techniques. An appreciation of the basic sensors that are available to engineers and when they should be used.

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Further unit of study information


Lectures, Project Work - own time, Presentation, Laboratories, Tutorials


Through semester assessment (65%) and Final Exam (35%)

Faculty/department permission required?


Unit of study rules

Assumed knowledge

Strong MATLAB skills



Study this unit outside a degree

Non-award/non-degree study

If you wish to undertake one or more units of study (subjects) for your own interest but not towards a degree, you may enrol in single units as a non-award student.

Cross-institutional study

If you are from another Australian tertiary institution you may be permitted to underake cross-institutional study in one or more units of study at the University of Sydney.