Course Syllabus

Winter 2018

Location: PAB B248
Modern Physics Laboratory: Condensed Matter Physics
Section A: MW  1:30-4:30 PM
Section B: TTh  1:30 – 4:30 PM     

Instructor: Kai-Mei Fu ( Office hours during lab sections or by appt.

Lab Manager: David Pengra ( 

Jennifer Lilieholm ( (T/Th)
Colin Lamont ( (M/W)
Nikola Whallon ( (M-Th, first hour)



A sign-up schedule can be found here. Changes must be made at least 24 hours in advance of the start of each lab and must be approved by all members involved in the change (e.g. swapping a lab). You must change groups every lab.


The current experiments in 431 are broken into two groups. The data collection for the experiments in List 1 can generally be done in one lab period, and/or the analysis is fairly straightforward. The experiments in List 2 may take more than one period and are typically richer in terms of analysis. Each student must complete at least 2 experiments from List 2.

More details can be found on the Physics 431 Experiment List.

List 1:

  • Fundamental constants from noise measurements
  • The Hall effect
  • Low temperature superconductivity in Hg
  • Electron diffraction

List 2:

  • Surface plasmon resonance
  • Mössbauer spectroscopy
  • Physical adsorption
  • Continuous wave (cw) NMR
  • Pulsed NMR 
    • Students generally find this easier if they have already completed the cw-NMR.
    • Cannot be done if you done previously in PHYS 432.

Lab eNotebooks and Lab Reports

For each experiment you perform, you will be graded on a e-labbook and a formal lab report. 

You elabbook should be composed on OneNote. All students have access to UW OneDrive for Business through their UW NetID and password. If you have not already done so, please activate your account as soon as possible following the directions here.

Tips on using OneNote as a lab notebook: 

For each lab, at the end of the final lab day, your lab lab notebook is due. We will copy it over for grading (there is no separate submission). Your lab notebook must include

  • In-class notes, i.e. a journal of your progress in the experiment
  • All raw data, including uncertainties
  • A preliminary analysis of the results, along with a brief outline of your plan for the full analysis of the data, including how you plan to handle uncertainties. 

More information on Lab eNotebooks can be found here.

Lab reports should be submitted online on Canvas as PDFs and are due by 12:00 a.m. on the first lab period of the next lab block (i.e. the night before the next lab starts). Each report must include

  • A formal description of the experiment and its relevance or importance.
  • A discussion of key observable, how they are measured (with reference to a well-annotated hand drawing of the apparatus), and what the uncertainty in the measured observables are.
  • A summary of the data taken.
  • Details of the analysis performed, including uncertainty propagation. Any spreadsheets or computer code or the like used in the analysis, including all inputs, should be attached as additional files to lab report submission in Canvas.
  • A listing of the experimental results, including a discussion of the dominant uncertainties, and comparison to values available in the literature, when available.
  • Answers to any exercises assigned in the lab manuals.

 More information on Lab Reports can be found here.

Extended Experiment and Presentation

In the final two weeks of class you are required to "extend" one of the experiments you performed by making additional measurements beyond the scope of the procedure outlined in the lab write-up.  Each group will give a presentation in the last week of class on their extension.  More details will be posted later in the quarter.

Class Policies

Click here for Class Policies: Rules, Requirements, and Grading

Course Materials

No text is required for this course. Links to the write-ups, reference materials, and discussion questions are above under each experiment. It is important that you read the write-up before coming to your first lab session. Many labs have additional questions that must be answered in your lab report. 

Additional material related to many of the experiments can be found in individual binders that are located in one of the wall cabinets in B248. You may sign one out for the duration of the experiment you are doing. 

You should read the Useful Information page before staring your first lab.

Course Summary:

Date Details Due