In this lab you are expected to design and build experiments covering three or four topics. The lab is as much as possible "non-cookbook". Your are given the general aim of the lab and you are supplied with the parts that are needed to build it but you are not told how to do it, or what to measure unless you ask. Knowing what to ask is itself a nontrivial part of this course. You are expected to ask us before the start of the lab and not when we start asking you!
In this lab there are no "black boxes". If you use an instrument (scope, power meter, voltmeter, a He-Ne laser, a detector, a dielectric mirror, power supplies, flashlamps, impedance matching circuits, amplifiers ….) you are expected to know how they work. This includes even the 50 ohm cable you use to connect things! You will also have to understand and modify LabView programs that interface different instruments, which were written by students in previous years.
In general students work in pairs. (More than 2 students per pair is strongly dicouraged.) There is a lot of self-reading assigned to you before you can start one of the experiments and before you actually start working in the lab you (the pair) will be given an oral exam (usually lasting about an hour) to make sure you understand what you are doing. If you are not prepared, you will not be allowed to start the experiment!
No more than 10 minutes late arrival allowed. (The lab starts at 8 AM and ends at 12. Some of the labs will take as long as 4-5 sessions to complete.)
You have to be in the lab to perform the experiments. Since we have to be in the lab with you for the duration of the lab, there are in general no makeup lab sessions. We cannot afford to "waste" a half a day because you "missesd" a lab.
You have to do at least three experiments. For most students this will fill up the entire semester.
A brief report on the reults and how you measured them is required.