You must begin to think about a possible experimental project to carry out next semester (Physics 4052). The reason for this is two-fold: first, it will introduce you to the process of proposal writing, which is an unavoidable and very important part of modern experimentation, and second, it will enable us to make any necessary plans for procuring equipment. To start you thinking about this process, the following few pages present a catalog of some past and some possible projects.
You are not squired to choose one of these projects, although there are some very good ideas buried in there which are worthwhile to pursue as projects. Some motivated student groups also have found projects of their own and these have often been the best and most interesting. Ideas for projects often grow out of the material covered in other courses, out of work in some laboratory, or from ideas described in print somewhere. It may be especially profitable to spend some time in the library perusing the American Journal of Physics. There are many interesting ideas to be found there. Browse this course’s WEB page (URL: http://mix. Hicks. Mum. Du/sere) to see a list of previous projects, including their abstracts, to get an idea of the scope of the projects. Do not be over-ambitious; we do not expect you to push back the frontiers of science (yet)! The main purpose is to present yourselves with an interesting challenge, one that you can become enthusiastic about, and one that you will be able to complete in 10 weeks. Professional physicists are known to underestimate the time required to complete a project; you are no different and beginners are likely to be off y a factor 4 – 5 in their estimates for the time required. You should take this into account.
Of course, the instructors will be able to give you some guidance/advice. You must take into account that mechanical and/or electronic equipment often must be built, made operational, and then understood, even before you start taking any data. It is unlikely that your experimental equipment will work on the first try. It usually does not! Most research equipment is not built for a mass market. Equipment must be made to work, and this is part of the art of experimental physics. We have a fair mount of equipment already available in the lab, and we also have a modest budget for acquiring any additional equipment that you might need.
Do not hesitate to ask, but let us know as early as possible what you might need! Your instructors are always willing to discuss projects, I. E. What to do, how best to do it, where to do it, etc. Let us know your thoughts even before you write a proposal. There are many experts in various fields in this department. If the instructors are unfamiliar with a particular topic that you have chosen to study, they will suggest some other faculty member who would be able to act as an adviser. Letter to Intent On January 23 you will be required to submit a Letter of Intent, consisting of a one- page description of what you plan to do.
This is the first step towards an experimental project. It should state clearly what your project is, why it is interesting, and how you plan to do it; but you need not have worked out all the details yet. The program or Planning Committee (the course instructors) will consider each of these Letters and give a rapid response; either positive or negative, or requesting more information. The reason for such an approach is clear: laboratories generally have an verbal program into which any new research must fit; they must plan well ahead, and they also have to ensure that the needed facilities are available.
It also helps to weed out “off-telltale” proposals before too much time is wasted them. (Some really good ideas have probably vanished at this point, too. ) Proposal On February 18 you will be required to submit a 7 to 10 page (maximum) proposal for your proposed project. This must contain more definitive information, such as requests for specific existing apparatus, estimated costs for any new equipment or supplies, and a 10-week timetable showing major milestones for the project, and hen they will be completed.
This process of proposal submission is how it is done in the real world; proposals must be submitted to a funding agency, the management of a company, or to a national laboratory, and then a panel (usually of peers who are supposedly experts) makes a final decision as to the practicality of the project, and as to whether it should be funded. It is very common for this panel to request further work toward a final proposal, in order to clarify any uncertainties in the proposed approach. This will be the case here! Do not be dismayed if you feel that you have no ideas, or if your proposal is turned down.
Research is often like that! Your instructors will always have a lot of ideas that they would like someone to develop. Go and ask them! They can probably point you in the direction of appropriate references, too. On February 27 you will present your final proposal to the public in a poster-session. This will be attended by your classmates and, in addition, members of the physics department will also be invited to come and discuss your project. (Examples of last year’s posters are still hanging on the wall outside the lab. 2 List of Possible Experiments Cosmic Ray Experiments 1) Angular distribution of cosmic rays using a scintillation counter telescope: Effects of lead absorbers to separate penetration and non-penetrating components, velocity spectrum using Ceremony counters. 2) Stopping cosmic ray moons: capture rates in different elements, energy spectrum of decay electrons, liquid scintillation counters. Particle Experiments 1) Compton scattering of photons: measurement of Klein-Noshing cross section, measurement of electron mass from fit to data. ) Electron pair production: Measurement to e E production by gamma rays in deterrent materials, identification f positron decay by angular correlation of decay gammas. 3) Gamma ray spectroscopy: Radioactivity of rocks, soil, etc, identification of relative amounts of 40 naturally occurring uranium, thorium and K in materials. 4) Rutherford scattering: a scattering from a gold foil, solid state detector. 5) Systematic study of the penetration of as, Up’s and YK’s in different materials; a selection of detectors and absorbers. 6) Measurement of radon in air: various detectors (solid state for as, scintillation for Vs.. ) Radioactivity of rainwater (immediately following a rainfall): solid state detectors to identify as, Anal scintillation for Vs.. + – Condensed Matter 1) First and second sound in superfluity He : investigations near the lambda point. 2) Properties of semiconductors: electrical conductivity, magnetic susceptibility as a function of temperature, etc. 3) High ETC superconductors. 4) Josephs effect. 5) Curie temperature of gadolinium or nickel: susceptibility measurements as a function of temperature. 6) Work function of materials: photoelectric effect. 7) Heat capacity measurements; phase transitions. 8) Photoluminescence. ) Chaotic phenomena. 10) LED (Low Energy Electron Diffraction) 4 Atomic Physics 1) Electron spin resonance: An X-band USER spectrometer exists in the lab, measure electron cofactor and line width, analysis of various substances. 3 2) Nuclear magnetic resonance; Using the same equipment as USER, proton g-factor, resonance in various materials. 3) Eczema effect in mercury: splitting measured with Fairy-Pert etalon. 4) X-ray diffraction: the techniques of powder and Bragg spectroscopy, accurate measurement of lattice spacing, identification of crystal structures. 5) Optical pumping of rubidium and Eczema effect. ) Saturated absorption spectroscopy. Optics ) Brownian motion by laser scattering: laser beam through suspension of small particles, analysis of time scales and correlation with characteristic distance scales. 2) Holography experiments. 3) Faraday effect: rotation of plane of popularization is rotated as light passes through matter parallel to a magnetic field. 4) Kerr effect: birefringence as a function of high electric field in matter, basis of Pocket’s cell used in high frequency optical data transmission. 5) “Frame grabber” linked to a 32 bit microprocessor: wide range of optics experiments without the use of photography.
Existing Equipment and Previous Projects 1) Torsion pendulum with servo: measurement of G, radiation pressure 2) Microwave experiments: Freeness lenses 3) High vacuum equipment: LED, RAGA, unionization process in rarefied gases 4) Stabilized Diode Laser and Photoluminescence Excitation Spectroscopy, Monochrome 5) Surface barrier detectors tort as Up’s detection 6 Laser spectroscopy, Gag Laser and Spectrometer 7) Superconductivity: high temperature SQUID 8) Faraday rotation and magneto-absorption using an accustom- optic modulator 9) Spectroscopy of a semiconductor quantum well 10) Photon tactics, single photon detection 1 1) Anderson localization (Kerr¶nigh Penny Model) 12) Pulsed NOR 13) Laser Doppler velocity measurements 4 What Constitutes an Acceptable Project? An acceptable project must consist of the following three components: prediction, measurement and analysis. First, you should have a reasonable idea what you will measure or observe; second, you should be able to observe and measure the predicted or calculated event; third, you should compare your results with the initial predications and draw conclusions. Projects that lack any of the three elements will be discouraged! As far as the first element is concerned, the predictions, you should have some idea about what you will be observing before you start assembling any of the equipment.
Either you derive the theory, or more likely, you will find an already existing theory that is applicable to your situation; or, you may be trying to confirm an observation of another scientist. Be sure you explain or cite relevant theory. In your predictions, you should be as specific as possible. State clearly the physical variable that you intend to measure, I. E. , is it a voltage or current; avoid vague descriptions such as “a signal” or “an output. ” If you are not able to predict from theory the magnitude of the observable signal, then you must state the sensitivity of the equipment used. Once you have decided what effect you want to measure, you should describe what method and instruments you will be using to measure it.
This is probably the most difficult part of the project because you can never be entirely sure what will work the best. In addition, various “tricks” may have to be used to coax the signal out of background noise. We don’t expect you to know all of them so please ask for advice if you are not sure. Getting the “apparatus” ready for the measurements and acquiring data are generally the most time consuming parts of the actual project. We expect you to set up and test the equipment and you, together with your lab partner, may have to build or modify part of the apparatus. If the building of the apparatus appears too complicated, we expect you to design the apparatus so that a qualified person can build it. Clearly, we will help you in all of these steps.
From this description, you should see that writing a computer program alone does not constitute an acceptable project! When you describe the analysis of our data, explain the methodology (software tools or algorithms you plan to use, like simple counting, looking at histograms, FT and fitting of observation with function expected for it) that you will be using. Also explain how you will relate your results to the predictions. In your letter of intent, you should address the prediction, measurement and analysis part of your project only briefly. (Enough to convince us that you have thought about them and that they are do-able! ) In your proposal you will be asked to address each point in detail.