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PHSI381 Experimental Physics II

Paper Description

This paper follows on from PHSI 282. Students will engage in research-style experimental projects that explore principles in physics relating to both the natural phenomena and modern technology. A key ingredient in the paper is developing communication skills by reporting laboratory results through a range of communication platforms (seminars, posters etc.).

The paper consists of 12 lectures (which will include student seminar contributions), and 12 four-hour practicals. Students follow an individual sequence of experiments through the semester, which are assigned by lottery.

Internally assessed.

Important information about assessment for PHSI381

Course Coordinator:
Dr Harald Schwefel

Pat Langhorne and Harald Schwefel

Measurements and Their Uncertainties, Hase & Hughes, Oxford (available as electronic resource from the Science Library).

After completing this paper students will be able to:
  1. Retrieve literature to support the understanding of a research question
  2. Plan and carry out an experiment to illuminate a research question
  3. Capture data from a physical system by means of contemporary data acquisition tools, such as a digital storage oscilloscope, and apply appropriate modelling to the sampled data using curve-fitting tools
  4. Report on research findings verbally, visually and in writing
  5. Be familiar with good practice for experimental procedures and reporting of results
  6. Collaborate as part of a team to prioritise tasks and efficiently carry out an experiment
[Topics covered is correct as of 2019.]
Topics Covered
Michelson interferometer
Fourier optics
Vibronic absorption spectrum of molecular iodine
Hall Effect
Acousto-optic modulator
Charge to mass ratio for an electron
The charge on an electron
External cavity diode laser & rubidium hyperfine structure
HeNe laser & Fabry Perot interferometer
Gravitational constant
Measuring photon shot noise
Near-field electrostatic communication
Optical data-link
Differential amplifiers
Control and manipulation using Arduino


Formal University Information

The following information is from the University’s corporate web site.

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Following on from PHSI 282, research-style experimental projects that explore key physical principles in physics relating to both natural phenomena and modern technology.

A key ingredient in the paper is developing communication skills by reporting laboratory results through a range of communication platforms (seminars, posters, etc.).

Paper title Experimental Physics II
Paper code PHSI381
Subject Physics
EFTS 0.1500
Points 18 points
Teaching period First Semester
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,059.15
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $4,627.65

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PHSI 282
Schedule C
Teaching staff

Course co-ordinator: Dr Harald Schwefel
Professor Pat Langhorne
Associate Professor Colin Fox
Dr Amita Deb


Required: Griffiths, David J. (2nd or 3rd Edition). Introduction to Quantum Mechanics. Cambridge UP: Cambridge

Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Global perspective, Interdisciplinary perspective, Lifelong learning, Scholarship, Communication, Critical thinking, Ethics, Information literacy, Research, Self-motivation, Teamwork.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete the paper will:

  1. Understand the central concepts of quantum mechanical scattering theory.
  2. Use the methods of second-quantised field theory for non-relativistic many-body problems.
  3. Understand differences between Bose and Fermi particles and their field theories.
  4. Be familiar with quantisation of the Electromagnetic field and description atom-light interactions.
  5. Understand Bose-Einstein condensates, quasiparticles and superfluidity.

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First Semester

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
L1 Monday 11:00-11:50 9-16, 18-22


Stream Days Times Weeks
P1 Wednesday 14:00-17:50 9-16, 18-22