Prof. Xiaodong Xu
Office: PAB B437
Office Hours: During the labs or by appointment.
Meeting Times and Locations
Lecture: Room A110, 11:30-12:20, Monday
Labs: Room B260
Section AD: 1:30-4:20, Monday
Section AA: 1:30-4:20, Tuesday
Section AB: 1:30-4:20, Wednesday
Section AC: 1:30-4:20, Friday
Syllabus: Explains course basics and grading. Gives reading assignments from the text.
Text: Optics, 4th ed., by Eugene Hecht (Addison Wesley, San Francisco, 2002). See the recommended readings.
Lab report grading standards. Gives point allocations for the different parts of the lab report.
You must perform a total of six (6) experiments (including the speed-of-light experiment) and submit reports on them.
There is a pre-lab-report for each lab, except speed of light. You must submit at least 5 pre-lab reports. The pre-lab report will be limited to one page. The three questions you need to address are:
- What is the general purpose of lab? (2 points)
- What are the quantities you will directly measure and how do you measure them? (5 points)
- What are the quantities you will derive from the measurement and what are the formulas you will use? (3 points)
An example pre-lab report is given for the Speed of Light experiment (PDF).
Be sure to print out the instructions for your experiment (and read it through) before you come to lab. Most of the documentation is in Adobe PDF format. An overview of the experiments is available here.
Descriptions of the standard experiments.
- Speed of Light
- Concave Diffraction Grating
- Fabry-Perot Interferometer
- Michelson Interferometer
- Fraunhofer and Fresnel Diffraction
- Reflection from an Air-Dielectric Interface
- Faraday Rotation
You must complete either the Michelson Interferometer experiment, the Fabry-Perot experiment or the 1-d diffraction experiment before you attempt the Holography experiment.
JPEGs from the experimental write-ups are available.
Experimental Uncertainty and Error Analysis
The following links point to articles that give information on experimental uncertainty and how to calculate and present uncertainty in lab reports.
- Quick Statistics Summary. A quick list of the most common formulas used in error calucations.
- Notes on data analysis and experimental uncertainty. An elementary treatment with many useful hints, by David Pengra and L. T. Dillman (Ohio Wesleyan University).
- Notes on making a least-squares fit to a line in Microsoft Excel. Covers the use of the LINEST function, which will give fit coefficients and their uncertainties based upon the scatter of the data about the fit line.
- Examples of error propagation. (University of Chicago).
- An Excel spreadsheet that will calculate a fit line using full weighting of uncertainties. Also calculates reduced χ2: LSQFit.xls. From the Methods of Experimental Physics course at the University of Minnesota (written by Kurt Wick).
David B. Pengra
Office: PAB B256
Program Operations Specialist (aka "The Other Guy")