School of Engineering

Staff Profile

Richie Burnett

Research Associate



Richie Burnett received an M.Eng degree in electrical and electronic engineering with First Class Honours from Newcastle University in 1996.  After working in industry, he re-joined Newcastle University in 2006 to lead the development of Digital Signal Processing electronics to support a multi-disciplinary MEMS bio-sensor project for the clinical diagnostic market, and to manage electronics support in the former school of Mechanical and Systems Engineering.

He is currently employed as a Research Associate working on a variety of sensor and acoustic signal processing projects as part of the SEA Lab team.

Industrial Experience 

Prior to joining the university he gathered 11 years industrial experience employed as Electronics Design Engineer in various UK manufacturing companies.  During this time he designed products as diverse as: 

  • Laser-based smoke detection systems for the fire protection industry,
  • Infra-red paint curing equipment for the automotive manufacturing and refinish industries,
  • Ultrasonic distance measurement equipment for harsh environments,
  • DSP sound synthesis technology for the pro-audio market,
  • RF induction heating equipment,
  • Instrumentation for EMC compliance testing,
  • High-power RF amplifier design and characterisation,
  • Various high-power / high-voltage switched-mode power supplies,

Several of these products have gone on to sell worldwide in volumes of tens of thousands.



Richie Burnett has provided electronics design consultancy to north-east manufacturing companies in the areas of analogue and digital circuit design, microprocessor systems, DSP & embedded programming, RF design, EMC compliance, and design practices for volume manufacture.


Skills set

His key skills areas are listed below: 

  • Analogue and digital hardware design,
  • Embedded control software programming, (PIC / dsPIC Assembly, SHARC)
  • Digital Signal Processing (DSP),
  • Radio Frequency (RF) design and construction best practices,
  • Instrumentation and measurement systems,
  • PCB design, (Eagle CAD, multi-layer, surface-mount, mixed signal, etc.)
  • Circuit simulation, (LTspice, NI Multisim.)
  • Power electronics design and testing,
  • Electronic characterisation of MEMS and piezo-electric resonant devices.


His main interest areas are in the application of modern electronics techniques to current technical challenges or system requirements.  In particular the application of modern DSP and control techniques to instrumentation and measurement applications, maximising system performance whilst simultaneously minimising hardware requirements, size, weight and overall cost.

Modern micro-controllers are becoming increasingly powerful and capable of taking on more tasks in new electronic designs.  The division between classic embedded control and DSP is becoming more blurred, with digital signal processing techniques becoming invasive in several traditional embedded control applications.  This trend ultimately reduces the hardware requirements, whilst at the same time maximising performance, flexibility and repeatability.  The reduced hardware also has the added benefit of keeping cost and shipping weight to a minimum, and improving overall product reliability.

Richie is also a keen supporter of Newcastle United Football Club and has an interest in electronic music production and pro-audio technology.


Research interests

Low-power analogue and digital signal processing techniques for passive acoustic monitoring.

Electronic drive and sensing schemes for high-frequency resonant mechanical devices.  In particular the use of good RF design and screening practices to minimise feed-though common in high-frequency MEMS devices.  Also the use of innovative analogue and digital signal processing, drive and sensing schemes to maximise signal-to-noise ratio and yield the best overall performance possible.

Electronic characterisation of multi-MHz and GHz level resonant sensors and filters.

Techniques for wireless power and data transmission to/from rotating machinery or through an isolation barrier.

Techniques for multi-channel high-resolution high-bandwidth strain gauge instrumentation on rotating machinery.

Electronic controller for multi-spectral imaging light source.

The general application of embedded control and modern DSP techniques to measurement and control challenges.