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Home>Physics>Physics tours>Physics lab tour

This tour of one or our modern, dedicated laboratories shows a typical range of lab equipment and facilities that you'll use on your Physics course.

You can also access an interactive version of the tour. Please note that the interactive tour is not suitable for use with assistive technologies.

Introduction

Our lab technicians have set out some typical first and second year experiments.

Experiment 1: Rotational motion

This core first-year experiment allows you to investigate core physics concepts such as rotational kinetic energy, angular momentum and moments of inertia. In Year 2 your understanding is extending to more advanced physics such as the torsion pendulum. This practical utilises computer-based data logging.

 Experiment 1: Rotational motion

Experiment 2: Plasma generation

A second-year practical which utilises kV potentials to break down a variety of gases, creating plasma; the fourth state of matter. You will investigate the effect of pressure of the breakdown potential of the gas, as well as undertaking finite element modelling of the electrodes.

Experiment 2: plasma generation

Experiment 3: Ultrasound measurement using pulse-echo techniques

This second-year practical underpins the basic science of sound propagation by exploring the use of ultrasound for spatially mapping structure in solids. This technique has applications ranging from medical imaging to determination of structural integrity in engineering.

Experiment 3: Ultrasound measurement using pulse-echo techniques

Experiment 4: Microwave physics

This second-year practical explores the transmission of microwave frequency signals along and between strip lines and antennae. This experiment is designed to support the second-year electromagnetism course by exploring real world applications such as mobile phone antenna design and operation.

Experiment 4: microwave physics

Experiment 5: Speed of light

A core first-year practical which allows you to measure one of nature's most fundamental constants, the speed of light, as well as exploring related concepts such as refractive index. This practical also explores practical skills involving advanced use of oscilloscopes which can be applied throughout the practical course.

Experiment 5: Speed of light

 

Experiment 6: Magnetic field uniformity in a solenoid

This second-year practical allows you to measure and spatially map the magnetic field strength of a solenoid utilising a Hall effect sensor. You will learn to calibrate the sensor, and compare your measurements to simulations of an ideal solenoid using finite element magnetic simulations.

Experiment 6: Magnetic field uniformity in a solenoid

Experiment 7: Biot savart

In this first-year practical you will use a computer interfaced Hall probe to measure magnetic field intensity generated by a long straight current carrying wire. You will be able to verify theoretical results from your electromagnetism module and determine a value for the permeability of free space.

Experiment 7: Biot savart

 

Experiment 8: The band gap of semiconductors

This Year 2 practical explores the physics of semiconductors; the underpinning science of the 20th-century technological revolution. You will use computer controlled a monochromator to perform infrared spectroscopy on numerous materials in order to measure the 'band gap', a characteristic electronic property of semiconducting materials.

Experiment 8: The band gap of semiconductors

 

Experiment 9: Torque on magnetic dipoles

A second-year practical which investigates magnetic dipoles and their interaction with a uniform magnetic field. This macroscopic demonstration of electromagnetism offers insight into the microscopic mechanisms which occur regularly within atoms, affecting their electronic structure and spectroscopic signatures.

Experiment 9: Torque on magnetic dipoles

 

Experiment 10: Hall effect in p-type Ge

This first-year practical investigates the Hall effect. Materials carrying current whilst in a region of magnetic field will generate a 'Hall voltage' related to both the electrical carrier density and magnetic field strength. This effect can be used to investigate material properties, or, as is done elsewhere in the undergraduate laboratories, to measure magnetic fields.

Experiment 10: Hall effect in p-type Ge

 

Experiment 11: Temperature variation of electrical resistance

A core second year practical which uses liquid nitrogen cooling to investigate the effects of cryogenic temperatures on electrical resistance. You will calibrate an 'industry standard' platinum resistance thermometer before investigating the onset of superconductivity and demonstrate magnetic levitation.

Experiment 11: Temperature variation of electrical resistance

Experiment 12: Charge decay from a capacitor

This first-year experiment uses a modern storage oscilloscope of monitor the voltage across a discharging capacitor. In doing so it will help demonstrate and solidify your understanding of your electromagnetism module, as well as training you in the use of modern oscilloscopes.

Experiment 12 - Charge decay from a capacitor

 

Experiment 13: Properties of liquid nitrogen

This first-year practical offers basic training in the use of cryogenic materials by asking you to determine the latent heat of vaporisation of liquid nitrogen. As with all of our practicals you will use scientific plotting software to analyse your data in real time, and learn to evaluate and mitigate against experimental errors.

Experiment 13: Properties of liquid nitrogen

 

Experiment 14: Photoelectric effect

A first year practical which allows you to investigate the physics which gained Einstein his Nobel prize, and kickstarted the quantum revolution; the photoelectric effect. You will investigate the work function of a UV irradiated photocathode and apply Einstein's theoretical insights to measure Planck's constant.

Experiment 14: Photoelectric effect