Electrical Engineering 141 — Introduction to Digital Integrated Circuits (4 Units)

Course Overview


EE141 is an introduction on factors that need to be considered when designing digital circuits, much like the style of EE140 (Linear Integrated Circuits), but with digital content rather than analog. There is heavy emphasis on CMOS technology, as they are used extensively in digital IC design.

From the course catalog: This course covers the electrical characteristics of digital integrated circuits. Students will learn how to find the logic levels, noise margins, power consumption, and propagation delays of digital integrated circuits based on scaled CMOS technologies.


  • EE40
  • EE105 and EECS150 recommended

Topics Covered

  • Design metrics
  • Operation, modeling, and behavior of CMOS devices and logic gates
  • SPICE simulations and analyses
  • Advanced device parameters
  • MOS transistor capacitances
  • Driving, IC interconnects, and IC capacitance/resistance
  • Circuit extraction and checking
  • Propagation delay
  • Optimization metrics and methods
  • Ratioed, pass-transistor, dynamic, and sequential logic
  • Clocking and timing
  • Digital building blocks
  • Memory design


Course Work

  • Midterms and final exam
  • Labs
  • Weekly problem sets
  • Final project

Time Commitment

There are 3 hours of lecture, 3 hours of lab, and 1 hour of discussion per week. While the problem sets may take a few hours per week, the labs will dominate the time spent in this course. With the addition of the final project, expect to spend at least 2 hours daily dedicated to this course, outside of class.

HKN Tips

While the course overall is not a light load, the latter half of the class - when the final project is usually introduced - is especially time consuming and rigorous (much like EECS150, for reference). It is highly recommended that this be the only project-based or design class in anyone’s schedule for reasons pertaining to sanity and well-being.

Choosing the Course


Electrical Engineering - Microelectronics

When to take

As mentioned before, this is a very time-consuming, lab-based design course with heavy emphasis on the project. As such, this class would best be taken during junior or senior year, concurrently with relatively lighter classes.

What next?

  • EE241: Advanced Digital Integrated Circuits (graduate level version EE141)
  • EECS150: Components and Design Techniques for Digital Systems (very similar to EE141, but geared more towards hardware)

Usefulness for Research or Internships

This course teaches you how to use SPICE and do layout, which are very important in both analog and digital circuits research. Also, this is the only digital circuits course available at the undergraduate level, so it is essential in landing a research position in digital circuits.

Additional Comments

As there is limited information about this course, it is highly recommended (as with all courses that are tailored to a specific field) to talk to the professor who is scheduled to teach the course and directly discuss with him or her what the course will entail. Although we provide course guides, these only scratch the surface of what the course can really offer, and the professor can give you a better idea of what to expect.