filling in the unspecified details of elegant-sounding descriptions of experimental methods.

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20
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4answers
1k views

Double Slit Experiment: How do scientists ensure that there's only one photon?

Many documentaries regarding the double slit experiment state that they only send a single photon through the slit. How is that achieved and can it really be ensured that it is a single photon?
19
votes
4answers
8k views

How do astronomers measure the distance to a star or other celestial object?

How do scientists measure the distance between objects in space? For example, Alpha Centauri is 4.3 light years away.
17
votes
6answers
1k views

Which experiment gave scientists reason to believe nuclear fission/fusion produced energy?

Every piece of knowledge in science has a beginning lying in someone's experiment. I would like to know which experiment gave scientists the reason to believe nuclear fission/fusion existed and was ...
15
votes
0answers
405 views

Are the fast axes on Thorlabs quarter-waveplates mislabeled?

Some members of my lab are performing a polarization-sensitive experiment where they need to use a quarter-waveplate (QWP) with the fast axis in a specific direction. In the process of carefully ...
14
votes
3answers
1k views

How should I clean a part before installing it in a vacuum system?

What are proven procedures for preparing a part that comes fresh out of the workshop for ultra-high vacuum (UHV) and extremely-high vacuum (XUV)?
12
votes
2answers
30 views

Why are binary objects so critical to astronomy?

There are a lot of astronomical objects out there to study but binary objects seem to get more attention. Why is this? What makes binary objects (stars, Kuiper Belt Objects, black holes, galaxies, ...
12
votes
1answer
245 views

Cleaning Already Mounted Microspheres on an AFM

I am running an experiment that uses a microsphere (Diameter ~ 50um) mounted onto the end of an AFM cantilever. I run several experiments in a row, but somewhere during a sequence, the microsphere ...
11
votes
3answers
5k views

How to prolong life of liquid nitrogen in hosehold vacuum flask?

I need to do some work with liquid nitrogen at home. The main question is how to store it without buying huge vacuum flask specifically for liquid nitrogen. I've tried to use usual steel household ...
11
votes
2answers
409 views

Sun spectroscopy - Home experiment

We let the sun light run through a 5x3x3cm triangular glass prism and we examined the formed 'rainbow' in search of Fraunhofer lines. However, even though we looked close enough (even with a ...
10
votes
2answers
949 views

Methods to Stabilize and Maintain Extremely Low Humidity in a Lab Environment

My atomic physics lab is in a building that experiences huge swings in humidity levels during the year due to the monsoon season Our building provides temperature, but not humidity control. Using ...
9
votes
1answer
103 views

How is a standard unit divided into equally smaller or fractional units physically/experimentally?

Consider the standard unit of length: meter. How was it divided into decimeter, centimeter, millimeter, etc. when there were no shorter lengths than the standard? What is the physical/experimental ...
9
votes
2answers
725 views

Mechanical Equivalent of Heat

Recently I have been looking up James Joule's experiment regarding the mechanical equivalent of heat. After viewing some drawings of the apparatus, I assumed that the lines holding the weights would ...
8
votes
1answer
213 views

How to distinguish high-energetic muons and electrons in the CMS and ATLAS muon detectors?

At a typical energy of about 100 GeV, a muon has a Lorentz factor of about 1000, an electron about 200.000. The flight time to the detector should be around 30 ns (assuming d= 10m from the collision ...
7
votes
2answers
431 views

How do I find the right lens for my laser?

I purchased this line laser recently and I'm running into a bit of an issue. The laser shoots out at a 120 degree angle which is perfect. However, once the laser spreads to about 4.25 inches, I need ...
7
votes
1answer
220 views

How would a physicist measure temperature of molten metals in 1850-1920s?

How would a physicist measure temperature of molten metals in 1850-1920s? What equipment would be used?
7
votes
3answers
174 views

How to reproduce highway vibration?

I would like to test my hardware under vibration that can appear on a highway gantry. If someone has a model of such vibration. i.e period and amplitude. In my lab I have a motor that can be ...
6
votes
2answers
227 views

Are there solid materials with controllable porosity?

In analogy to piezoelectric materials, where the application of an electrical field creates mechanical deformation in the material, I have the following question. Are there solid materials whose ...
6
votes
3answers
433 views

Vector Boson Fusion

I have been reading about the production mechanisms for the Higgs at the LHC. It is always mentioned that for Vector Boson Fusion, the initial quarks cause jets that are back to back and with a higher ...
6
votes
2answers
217 views

How is the distance between Geneva detector and the Gran Sasso one measured?

Does anyone know how is the distance between detectors in the now famous neutrino experiment measured? Also, how was the time of flight measured?
5
votes
3answers
376 views

experimental technique for measuring temperature of an ant

I am taking a course on thermodynamics. I have a question from my text(halliday & resnick,physics-1). They asked me to measure temperature of an ant or an insect or a small body,like a small ...
5
votes
2answers
200 views

What has been measured at the Higgs experiment and what do we know now?

Explained at the level of a 5$^{\text {th}}$ semester physics student (i.e. pre QFT, but far beyond the level of a news article for non-physicists, which avoids all details and only deals in ...
5
votes
2answers
747 views

Optics alignment of a confocal scanning microscope

I am facing a challenge in my project regarding optical alignment. See the figure: The challenge is with the vertical optical system alignment. I considered placing a mirror and check back if the ...
5
votes
1answer
924 views

How the bond angle of a water molecule is measured?

How the angle of a water molecule is measured? The bond angle for water was first determined by vibrational and rotational analysis of its infrared absorption spectra. How is bond angle extracted?
5
votes
1answer
354 views

How does the Double Slit Experiment work in detail?

What is the best detailed description/visualisation of the experiment available? Describing what is actually measured, how the data is analysed, correlated and interpreted when for example large ...
5
votes
1answer
630 views

Atoms' excitation energies as derived from Frank-Hertz experiment data

I'm analyzing the experimental data obtained during Frank-Hertz experiment (conducted with Hg atoms): Accelerating voltage values were multiplied by 0.1 during measurement (i.e. the mean value of ...
5
votes
2answers
4k views

Multiple measurements of the same quantity - combining uncertainties

I have a number of measurements of the same quantity (in this case, the speed of sound in a material). Each of these measurements has their own uncertainty. $$ v_{1} \pm \Delta v_{1} $$ $$ v_{2} \pm ...
5
votes
2answers
450 views

statistics for photon counts in photomultiplier

It seems that a common statistical model for the count numbers of a photomultiplier is a Poisson distribution whose parameter $\lambda$ equals to the square-root of the number of counts.(e.g. ...
5
votes
1answer
211 views

Real World measurements related to phonon dispersion [closed]

I hope no one objects to the style of this question. Let me explain my motives in asking the question first. Condensed matter physics is one of the most beautiful subjects around. But those who are ...
5
votes
0answers
199 views

Parity and Helicity of the Higgs Boson

I have been studying how the spin and parity of the new boson discovered at the LHC will be studied and have run into some confusion. The Standard Model Higgs is expected to be a scalar (i.e. have ...
5
votes
1answer
113 views

How does one align a laser using two adjustable mirrors?

Suppose we would like to get a laser beam to pass through a particular point in space in a particular direction. At our disposal we have a laser, two adjustable mirrors (can rotate up/down and ...
4
votes
2answers
320 views

How does one get the value of acceleration of gravitation on earth accurately by experiment without electronic device?

How does one get the value of acceleration of gravitation on earth accurately to 5 significant digits by experiment without electronic device?
4
votes
1answer
189 views

How important is it, really, to clean vacuum parts?

In every lab I've seen, people are quite meticulous about cleaning parts that are to be used in ultrahigh vacuum, as well as the components of the chamber itself. The parts may be put in an ultrasonic ...
4
votes
2answers
65 views

How do you measure neutron energy?

I think you can detect a neutron event with a scintillator (neutron to photon), photomultiplier tube (photon to electric signal) system, but how would a fusion neutron's energy (2.45 MeV) be typically ...
4
votes
1answer
2k views

Ways to create controlled small bubbles in water within plastic tubing

What is a practical way in an engineering or physics laboratory to create bubbles of a specified size in water within plastic tubing? The tubing is a few mm inner diameter. We'd like to make bubbles ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

Strategies against 50 Hz mains hum on detector signals?

I'm having problems with a strong 50 Hz mains hum on signals created by photodetectors. I assume that they are due to ground loops and I realize that the best option would be to remove those. What are ...
4
votes
1answer
167 views

How do you measure a particle's postion or momentum?

This question is about the Uncertainty Principle $$\sigma_x \sigma_p ~\ge ~\frac{\hbar}{2}.$$ Looking at the maths, I understant why the uncertainty in the poistion increases as the uncertainty in ...
4
votes
2answers
81 views

How to realize long-range interaction of colds atom in an optical lattice?

In the Bose-Hubbard model of cold atoms in an optical lattice, we consider only the short-range interaction or on-site interaction. Is it possible to realize long-range interaction similar to Coulomb ...
3
votes
3answers
638 views

How to determine whether a large container is air-tight?

In constructing a kitchen-waste digester at home, I use a 50 Litre HDPE drum. The base of the drum is holed with a plug fitted to allow drainage when necessary. The top has two openings - one for ...
3
votes
2answers
310 views

What is the highest accuracy of measuring time differences achievable today?

I was wondering if it would be possible to shorten the distance between detectors when measuring the speed of neutrinos to, say, 7m rather than the current ~700km? In this way the distance traveled ...
3
votes
1answer
77 views

How do we perform transverse measurements in a two level system?

In quantum mechanics any two level system can be mapped onto effective spin variables. If the system is defined by two energy levels, $|E_1\rangle$ and $|E_2\rangle$, the Hamiltonian is $$ H = ...
3
votes
2answers
278 views

Do I need to have an airtight container to siphon boiling water?

I'm attempting to siphon boiling water into another container for a school project. I have researched the physics of a siphon but I can't seem to make my boiling water siphon out of its initial pot. ...
3
votes
1answer
283 views

Rutherford's Gold Foil Experiment

Can anybody explain how Rutherford bombarded a 0.0004 cm thick gold foil? How did he put it in a photographic sheet? Wasn't the foil too thin to be held? How did he know that the atoms were deflected ...
3
votes
1answer
86 views

Why apply voltage on an Si detector only on atmosphere or high vacuum

The general instruction when using a silicon detector is to either apply voltage only in atmospheric pressure or in high vacuum. Not in between! I can't find a physical answer to it. Why is it so ...
3
votes
1answer
995 views

Liquid nitrogen and liquid helium

In cryogenics, liquid nitrogen and liquid helium are often used as coolants. Other than their low boiling point of 77K and 4.2K respectively, what properties make them suitable as coolants? Are there ...
3
votes
1answer
264 views

What algorithms are used for track reconstruction in cloud chambers?

In particular I'm interested in any algorithms that can separate multiple tracks from one another reliably.
3
votes
1answer
52 views

How I can launch light into PM fiber

A polarization maintaining fiber preserves the linear polarization of the light at the output, the light at the input must be linear polarized to see signal at the photodetector... However I can't see ...
3
votes
1answer
102 views

Time of Measurement Vs Number of Measurements

Let's say that an experiment has to determine the number of cosmic muon at sea level. The appropriate equipment is ready to measure the counting rate. I can think of two ways Count for 10 minutes, ...
3
votes
1answer
129 views

Tunable Optical Band Pass Filter

Is there any cheap method by which to create tune-able optical band pass filter? I am working with a chemical process which will fluoresce when excited by a specific wavelength of light. As shown in ...
3
votes
1answer
415 views

Frank-Hertz experiment setup

The usual schematic representing the setup of Frank-Hertz experiment is the following: However, sometimes, you can see a bit different schematic: My question is: what function does $V_{G_1K}$ ...
3
votes
1answer
119 views

Galaxy Kinematic Fitting: How to deal with Point Spread Function (PSF)

The past few months I have been studying astronomy and Integral Field Spectroscopy (IFS). What I want to do is to fit a galaxy kinematic model to data (ie: estimate the model parameters that give the ...