Advanced Physics Laboratory (PHYS*4500)

Code and section: PHYS*4500*01

Term: Fall 2010

Instructor: De-Tong Jiang


Course Information

Vital statistics

  • Meets Mondays and Wednesdays from 2:30 to 5:20 pm in MacN 417.
  • Formal lab reports will be written for 3 of the 5 labs selected. For all labs, detailed notes describing the experiments performed, the data obtained, and the analysis of the data, are to be kept in a hard-bound lab book.
  • Weighting for final marks: 60% on formal labs, 40% on lab books. The first formal lab will be due mid-semester, Friday, October 15, by 4:30 P.M., to be deposited in the course’s assignment box in the fourth floor hallway). The remaining two must be submitted by this time on Friday, December 3, by 4:30 P.M. There will be a penalty for handing in lab reports and/or lab books late: 10% mark deduction per day. You are expected to budget your time in order to finish all the necessary work.
  • For lab books, two labs must be handed in Friday, October 15, by 4:30 P.M., the next two labs must be handed in by Friday, November 19, the remaining one lab will be due on Friday, December 3, by 4:30 P.M. Please note though, that labs can be marked at earlier times. Please ask the TA if you would like to do this. The lab books do not fit in the assignment box, and so they can be handed in to the main Physics Office, or to the TA.


Course Supervisor Office Extension Email
Detong Jiang MacN 223 53982

Office Hours: Friday 2:00pm – 4:00pm

Teaching Assistant Office Extension Email
Evan Rand MacN 406 53840

TA Office Hours: Tuesday 9:00am – 4:00pm


Each student will be required to do 5 labs selected from the list of labs, keeping a careful record of the procedures and results in a hard-bound lab book (no loose leaf). This is common laboratory practice, the purpose being to enable the researcher to refer at any later time to his or her lab books for any detail that he or she may have forgotten about how and when the measurements were performed. A good lab book contains enough detail that the researcher can reconstruct everything that was done. A description of the set up is required as well as a description of procedures used. All the raw data obtained needs to be included in the lab book. Preliminary analysis of the results should also be entered there.

For three of the labs the student is required to write a more detailed, formal lab report in the style used for scientific research publications. Thus each report will include:

  • I. An introduction describing the experiment performed and any relevant background material.
  • II. A materials and methods section describing the experimental details.
  • III. A results and discussion section presenting the data and its interpretation.
  • IV. A brief conclusion presenting a summary of what was done and any suggestions for follow-up work which might be usefully performed.
  • V. A bibliography giving references to background material, analytical methods used, etc.

Plagiarism is a serious matter in science. Proper acknowledgements of others work is imperative. This includes published work as well as the work performed by your classmates. The material described in your lab books and your formal reports must be your own.

The following is a list of available labs. A sign-up sheet will be posted in the lab. Please update this sheet regularly indicating which experiment you wish to do next.

Modern Physics:

  • Electron Spin Resonance
  • X-ray Fluorescence: Moseley’s Law (contact TA/Instructor for availability)

Nuclear Physics:

  • Gamma Ray Spectroscopy Using a NaI(T) Detector
  • High Resolution Gamma-Ray Spectroscopy
  • The Speed of Photons: Galileo’s Technique Modernized

Solid State Physics:

  • Thermoelectric Power (The Seebeck Effect)
  • Semiconductor Band-Gap Measurements
  • X-ray Diffraction
  • Superconductivity of Sn (Done in groups of six)
  • X-Ray Absorption Spectroscopy using the Canadian Light Source (scheduled by the instructor depending on demands)

Thermodynamics and Statistical Physics:

  • The Ratio of the Specific Heat of Gases plus Measurement of the Specific Heat Capacity of Air
  • Thermal Conductivity and Thermal Expansion

Waves and Optics:

  • The Velocity of Sound: The Debye-Sears Experiment
  • The Transmission Line

Laboratory Procedures

  • Absolutely NO food or drink is permitted in the laboratory!
  • To comply with the University Laboratory Safety Regulations, experiments are to be performed during the scheduled laboratory hours. The laboratory will be available for approved students from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday to Friday, and until 5:30 p.m. on scheduled lab days. The “approved” list will be posted on the lab doors.
  • Fire regulations require that door linking MacN 417 to MacN 422 remains closed.
  • Work on a given experiment often extends over several laboratory sessions. You must have a card marked Experiment in Progress or the experiment will be reset for the next user. A supply of cards will be available in the lab – take one for your use throughout the semester.
  • Under no circumstance should a student begin an experiment requiring radioactive sources without first consulting with the TA or course instructor. Radioactive sources are locked in a lead-lined box in MacN 417. The instructor or TA will unlock this box upon request during laboratory hours. The box must be locked at all other times. Should you require a source for an overnight run, your experiment must be posted with a radioactive warning sign provided in the box.