Conference on Laboratory Instruction Beyond the First Year of College Proceedings
2018 BFY ProceedingsConference Information
Dates: July 2527, 2018 Proceedings Information
Editors: Melissa EblenZayas, Ernest Behringer, Marta Dark McNeese, and Elvis Geneston The theme of the 2018 BFY conference was "3D Physics: Integrating Experiment, Theory, and Computation." This conference highlighted effective lab curricula, teaching methods, and experiments. In addition to the papers addressing this year’s theme, the remainder of the papers represent the diversity of approaches within the Advanced Labortory community and help this volume fulfill its purpose of providing a snapshot of the field. Readership: Advanced laboratory instructors (faculty, postdoctoral students, and graduate students); researchers in fields utilizing detection equipment. Table of Contents
Front Matter  1.2 MB PEER REVIEWED MANUSCRIPTS (13)First Author IndexAllen · Carter · EblenZayas · Fadem · Forde · Fung · Hassel · Hennessey · Jarosik · Magnes · Mattone · Powers · Roach Peerreviewed Papers
Graphical Approach to Multislit Interference Analysis When Young's doubleslit experiment is conducted in undergraduate lab courses, wavelength or slit spacing is commonly calculated using Young’s relation. For multislit gratings of 500 lines/mm, or more, few orders of interference fringes are observed, generating inaccurate and imprecise results. Here the author suggests alternate data acquisition and analysis techniques. By graphing average distance xavg from the 0th order to 1st order fringe as a function of distance from grating to screen L a linear relationship can be obtained, with the slope related to wavelength/slit spacing. With some algebra, accurate (within 1%) and precise results can be obtained. The experimental setup used at Appalachian State University will be presented, along with sample student results, including error propagation calculations utilized during a sophomore/junior lab "intermediate" lab course (precursor to capstone lab experience). P. Allen, Graphical Approach to Multislit Interference Analysis, 2018 BFY Proceedings [Baltimore, MD, July 2527, 2018], edited by M. EblenZayas, E. Behringer, M. Dark McNeese, and E. Geneston, doi:10.1119/bfy.2018.pr.001.
Case Study on How to Develop 3D Labs with Theoretical, Experimental, and Computational Goals Overhauling a laboratory experiment, course, or curriculum is a daunting process. Here, I describe a fourstep process our department used to overhaul our laboratory curriculum and courses. This fourstep process includes: 1) identifying learning goals, 2) describing current practices, 3) making changes, and 4) planning for assessment. In addition, I describe how we updated experiments in the courses to be "3D". These "3D" experiments are designed to meet three different types of goals: theoretical goals, experimental goals, and computational goals. A. Carter, Case Study on How to Develop 3D Labs with Theoretical, Experimental, and Computational Goals, 2018 BFY Proceedings [Baltimore, MD, July 2527, 2018], edited by M. EblenZayas, E. Behringer, M. Dark McNeese, and E. Geneston, doi:10.1119/bfy.2018.pr.002.
Lessons Learned from Five Years of Student Selfdirected Experimental Projects in the Advanced Lab At Carleton College, a selfdirected group project is the capstone of the "Contemporary Experimental Physics" course. Instructors in this course do not prescribe topics or experimental implementation, and a wide array of projects results. We report here on trends and lessons learned after five classes with this project (44 experiments). We compile project outcomes as measured by evaluations and student and instructor reflections. We consider how these outcomes are affected by topic source (instructorsuggested or independent), subfield of physics, and the relative emphasis on hardware design or analytical complexity. Combined with individual case studies and topic examples, these data will serve as a valuable reference for future implementation of openended experimental projects in similar courses. M. EblenZayas and R. C. Terrien, Lessons Learned from Five Years of Student Selfdirected Experimental Projects in the Advanced Lab, 2018 BFY Proceedings [Baltimore, MD, July 2527, 2018], edited by M. EblenZayas, E. Behringer, M. Dark McNeese, and E. Geneston, doi:10.1119/bfy.2018.pr.003.
Particle Physics with Low Cost SiPM Based Detectors Muon counting experiments provide students with an opportunity to learn about particle detection in high energy physics, detector design/construction, electronics, coincidence counting, counting statistics, and characteristics of the muons that traverse our bodies every minute of every day. The goal of this project is to construct a muon detector sensitive to the direction of muons, make a measurement of rate vs. angle, and compare the result both to the known angular distribution and to the results of a computer simulation. Several aspects of the design are left open: The first amplification stage of the signal and the digitization stage can be designed by the students. These activities use mailing tubes as the basis for the detectors, but students might choose to design their own mechanical structures and enclosures. If they so choose, students have the opportunity to work with CAD software, 3D printing, and laser cutting. Another selling point for the design described here is the use of silicon photomultipliers (SiPMs) instead of traditional high voltage photomultiplier tubes, providing students with exposure to modern light detection techniques in high energy physics. Finally, while not described in these proceedings, the associated activity of creating a computer simulation of muon rates vs. angle helps students to understand the physical considerations that affect the measurement they are making. B. Fadem, Particle Physics with Low Cost SiPM Based Detectors, 2018 BFY Proceedings [Baltimore, MD, July 2527, 2018], edited by M. EblenZayas, E. Behringer, M. Dark McNeese, and E. Geneston, doi:10.1119/bfy.2018.pr.004.
Fluorescence Correlation Spectroscopy (FCS) module for advanced undergraduate laboratories Fluorescence correlation spectroscopy (FCS) is a technique used to characterize diffusion in biological and softmatter systems. We have built and incorporated an FCS setup into our junior physics lab and senior biophysics lab courses. Here, we provide information about its construction and about experimental modules performed by students in the lab. N. R. Forde, D. Lee, and J. Bechhoefer, Fluorescence Correlation Spectroscopy (FCS) module for advanced undergraduate laboratories, 2018 BFY Proceedings [Baltimore, MD, July 2527, 2018], edited by M. EblenZayas, E. Behringer, M. Dark McNeese, and E. Geneston, doi:10.1119/bfy.2018.pr.005.
Introducing Students to Nonlinear Model Fitting with Jupyter Notebooks Through a Quantitative Diffraction Experiment The sophomorelevel laboratory at Wellesley College emphasizes the development of data analysis and visualization skills. We use the Jupyter notebook computational environment, which combines code, output, and commentary into a single document. Here, we describe the experiment that introduces our students to nonlinear model fitting. Students translate a photodiode across a diffraction pattern to measure the spatial dependence of the pattern intensity, fit values predicted by the Fraunhofer approximation to their measured data, and determine parameters like the width of a diffracting slit with ? 0.5 µm precision. We discuss how Jupyter notebooks encourage data transparency and foster student sensemaking. J. Fung and L. Wardell, Introducing Students to Nonlinear Model Fitting with Jupyter Notebooks Through a Quantitative Diffraction Experiment, 2018 BFY Proceedings [Baltimore, MD, July 2527, 2018], edited by M. EblenZayas, E. Behringer, M. Dark McNeese, and E. Geneston, doi:10.1119/bfy.2018.pr.006.
Uncertainty Propagation in Modern Physics Lab Uncertainty or error analysis is an important skill to be developed throughout the undergraduate physics laboratory curriculum. Numerical estimation and propagation of measurement uncertainties are a crucial part of interpreting and reporting laboratory results. The ability to clearly identify, explain and evaluate measurement uncertainty is also an important part of the broader goal of improving student writing and to modify poor writing habits. Modern Physics Lab provides a particularly opportune time to develop error propagation in detail. This paper examines uncertainty propagation in two example lab activities. G. E. Hassel, D. L. Broder, and J. P. Cummings, Uncertainty Propagation in Modern Physics Lab, 2018 BFY Proceedings [Baltimore, MD, July 2527, 2018], edited by M. EblenZayas, E. Behringer, M. Dark McNeese, and E. Geneston, doi:10.1119/bfy.2018.pr.007.
Polarization Studies of 3D Photonic Crystals Using Transmission and Reflection Experiments We present a polarization study of a 3D photonic crystal suitable for an undergraduate advanced physics laboratory or senior project. The crystal is made of 200nm diameter polystyrene microspheres which forms a facecentered cubic structure and has a pseudobandgap in the [111] direction. We probe this bandgap using polarized light in both transmission and reflection geometries as a function of incident angle. Using the BraggSnell law, we derive an effective refractive index of 1.40 for each case, which agrees with the effective medium theory. Application of a new analysis based on the condition of equal heights of primary and secondary reflection peaks in spolarization, and the collapse of ppolarized reflection for large incident angles, also gives the same effective refractive index. These experiments can be performed by students with a basic knowledge of optics such as use of polarizers, lenses, and spectrometers, and the depth of theory covered can be tailored to meet student needs. M. Hennessey, D. Lezcano, S. M. Mian, G. Carnicella, T. Arcidiacono, V. Robbiano, and F. Cacialli, Polarization Studies of 3D Photonic Crystals Using Transmission and Reflection Experiments, 2018 BFY Proceedings [Baltimore, MD, July 2527, 2018], edited by M. EblenZayas, E. Behringer, M. Dark McNeese, and E. Geneston, doi:10.1119/bfy.2018.pr.008.
A Lab to Detect Radio Pulsars Using a Remotely Accessed 18Meter Radiotelescope An undergraduate laboratory experiment where students use an 18m radio telescope to observe radio pulsars is described. The telescope, which is located near the New Jersey shore town of Belmar, is accessible via the internet allowing students to acquire data remotely. The relatively weak pulsar signals are extracted from the background noise using signal averaging. N. Jarosik and D. Marlow, A Lab to Detect Radio Pulsars Using a Remotely Accessed 18Meter Radiotelescope, 2018 BFY Proceedings [Baltimore, MD, July 2527, 2018], edited by M. EblenZayas, E. Behringer, M. Dark McNeese, and E. Geneston, doi:10.1119/bfy.2018.pr.009.
Fourier Transform Spectroscopy in the Visible Range We present an undergraduate laboratory that utilizes Fourier spectroscopy with two lasers in the visible range to demonstrate the measurement technique. In addition to teaching an important spectroscopic tool, this laboratory exercise deepens the understanding of Fourier transforms. A Michelson interferometer is used to determine the `unknown’ wavelength of a green Helium Neon laser beam by scanning the position of a mirror and comparing the number of observed fringes with that from a knownwavelength red Helium Neon laser beam – the reference beam. The data points are recorded electronically using a photodiode and then transformed into frequency space where the unknown wavelength is calibrated against the known wavelength. J. Magnes and T. Hatch, Fourier Transform Spectroscopy in the Visible Range, 2018 BFY Proceedings [Baltimore, MD, July 2527, 2018], edited by M. EblenZayas, E. Behringer, M. Dark McNeese, and E. Geneston, doi:10.1119/bfy.2018.pr.010.
CAEN Educational: Nuclear and Particle Physics Experiments CAEN S.p.A., an important industrial spinoff of the INFN (National Institute for Nuclear Physics), is pleased to present its new activities in the educational field. CAEN brings the experience acquired in almost 40 years of collaboration with the High Energy & Nuclear Physics community into the university educational laboratories by providing modern physics experiments based on the latest technologies and instrumentation. CAEN has realized different modular Educational Kits, all based on Silicon Photomultipliers (SiPM) state oftheart light sensors with single photon sensitivity and unprecedented photon number resolving capability. They have proven to be suitable for an increasing number of applications in science and industry. The main goal is to inspire students and guide them towards the analysis and comprehension of different physics phenomena with a series of experiments based on stateofthe art technologies, instruments and methods. C. Mattone, M. Antonello, M. Locatelli, V. Arosio, L. Malinverno, S. Lomazzi, and R. d. Asmundis, CAEN Educational: Nuclear and Particle Physics Experiments, 2018 BFY Proceedings [Baltimore, MD, July 2527, 2018], edited by M. EblenZayas, E. Behringer, M. Dark McNeese, and E. Geneston, doi:10.1119/bfy.2018.pr.011.
Think First, Act Later  A Course Structure for Improving Student Designed Experiments There is a natural tendency for students to act first (e.g.  build and conduct experiments) and think later (e.g.  outline goals, identify challenges, predict outcomes, etc.). This is often apparent in labs that include student design components. We have developed a lab course structure that teaches students how to develop their ideas and make plans before beginning an experiment by providing multiple opportunities for peer and instructor feedback. As a result, we have seen significant improvements in the success rate and quality of studentdesigned experiments and presentations. We provide a detailed explanation of the course structure and rubrics and evidence of the impacts of this course structure. N. D. Powers, D. S. Durfee, and D. D. Allred, Think First, Act Later  A Course Structure for Improving Student Designed Experiments, 2018 BFY Proceedings [Baltimore, MD, July 2527, 2018], edited by M. EblenZayas, E. Behringer, M. Dark McNeese, and E. Geneston, doi:10.1119/bfy.2018.pr.012.
Limits of Precision in the Balmer Lines Spectroscopy Lab Balmer lines spectroscopy can reach an impressive level of precision even with the common student spectrometer. Understanding the sources of error can help the instructor in guiding and assessing student work as well as in teaching about error analysis itself. We analyze the most significant contributions to error, both random and systematic, including approaches to minimize or measure them. This can be applied to teaching labs whether accuracy is ~ 1% (introductory level) or better than 0.05% (indepth advanced level). T. Roach, Limits of Precision in the Balmer Lines Spectroscopy Lab, 2018 BFY Proceedings [Baltimore, MD, July 2527, 2018], edited by M. EblenZayas, E. Behringer, M. Dark McNeese, and E. Geneston, doi:10.1119/bfy.2018.pr.013. 
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