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Teaching experimental physics

In this project we try to bridge the gap between experimental research conducted at a university with the physics taught in high schools. Our main goal is to develop modern experiments and physics experiments that are used either at visits to our laboratory or as remotely controlled laboratory exercises.
As an example, we have developed an optical levitation experiment. A dispenser is used to release charged microscopic liquid droplets that fall into a vertically focused laser beam where they become trapped. The picture shows a trapped 30 m glycerol droplet and the movie shows how a droplets repeatedly falls down and are trapped in the optical levitator.

A vertically aligned electrical field (AC and/or DC) can be applied over the trapped droplet, and it can be exposed to UV-light or a radioactive source. The students can use this set-up to observe various phenomena with their own eyes as the only detector. They can measure the size of the droplet by observing diffracted light. The charge of the droplet can be measured by detecting its motion in an applied electric field, and the photoelectric effect can be studied by observing how electrons are released when the droplet is exposed to UV radiation. The final goal with this project is to construct a single drop Millikan like experiment. This set-up is used to demonstrate very fundamental processes using an experiment which have great similarities with the traps used for atom cooling, which are existing only in the most advanced atomic physics laboratories.
We do also develop remote labs that will allow schools to online connect and run an advanced physics experiment via webcams and detectors. As a first step, we have modified the optical trap described above such that it can be operate remotely. We will use this system to investigate how blended learning can be used to reach higher achievements in education. This project is conducted in collaboration with researchers at UNED (Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia) in Madrid.

Page Manager: Måns Henningson|Last update: 2/28/2019

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