PHYS3040, 3070, 3110 and 3120 EXPERIMENTAL PHYSICS A1, A2, B1 and B2

Experiments and open ended projects in a selection of the following topics:


Driven chaotic pendulum: phase space and Poincaré sections. Software simulation of pendulum.

Electromagnetic Waves

Frequency spectrum analysis of periodic waves. Transmission of e.m. waves in Lecher wires, artificial lines and waveguides. Reflections and standing waves. Waveguides, microwave components and Doppler radar at 10 GHz.


Measurement of magnetic fields and susceptibility. Magnetostriction in iron and nickel. Measurement of AC magnetic susceptibility, determination of Curie and Neel temperatures of some rare-earth elements. The Zeeman effect.

Magnetic Resonance Techniques

Electron Paramagnetic Resonance: measurement of g factors and hyperfine coupling, g factor anisotropy, super-hyperfine splitting. Pulsed Nuclear Magnetic Resonance and Magnetic Resonance Imaging: measurement of spin-spin and spin-lattice relaxation times, principles of magnetic resonance imaging.

Nuclear Radiations and Counting

Interaction and absorption of alpha, beta, gamma rays and neutrons in matter. Gamma ray spectrometry using a sodium iodide detector and multi-channel analysis. Radioactivity induced by thermal neutron irradiation, measurement of half life. Time coincidence counting techniques and instrumentation for gamma rays. Gamma-gamma angular correlations and the determination of nuclear angular momenta. The Mössbauer effect and hyperfine interactions. Measurement of lifetime of cosmic-ray muons.

Optics and Lasers (See syllabus for PHYS3770 and PHYS3780, Laser and Spectroscopy, and Photonics Laboratory.)

Semiconductors and Condensed Matter Physics

Band gap measurement in silicon and germanium. Measurement of band gap in a quantum well gallium aluminium arsenide sample. Conductivity of germanium as a function of temperature. Electron tunnelling through a potential barrier.


Critical temperature, critical currents, magnetisation and AC susceptibility of high temperature superconductors. The DC and AC Josephson effects and magnetic flux quantisation in a high temperature SQUID.

Vacuum Techniques and Materials Characterisation

Vacuum techniques. Deposition of thin metal films in a vacuum evaporator and in a sputter coating unit. Diffraction of X-rays by cubic materials. Scanning tunnelling microscopy. Scanning electron microscopy. The transmission electron microscope and electron diffraction. Electron probe micro-analysis of materials.


Further Information

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last updated 1st February 2011