Here are some other interesting physics experiments.
Holography - 12/30/02
This was my first attempt to make a three dimensional reflection hologram using a laser diode. The vibration isolation table (left photo) was a 150 lb. granite block sitting on top of four Sorbothane Vibration Isolators (NT55-244, $16). My friend machined the stainless steel mounts (right photo) for the laser diode and Double-Concave (DCV) lens (NT32-988, $18.50).|
New Laser diode stand - 1/26/04
The left photo shows the holographic recording plate (PFG-03) with a Lego man behind it. The right photo shows the finished hologram but this photo doesn’t quite do it justice because it was hard to take a good picture with the camera I was using.|
Solar Furnace - 12/25/02
This 38" x 50" Fresnel lens can focus sunlight like a giant magnifying glass. I think these are used for TV magnifiers. The focal point is blindingly bright and it burns quickly. I imagine this is what it must be like on the surface of Mercury (temperature: 662° F.) Boy, I’m just glad I don’t live on Mercury!|
Single Slit Diffraction - 4/17/03
Here is a picture of some nice single slit diffraction from my 3 mW green laser pointer. This pattern was made by shining the laser through a tiny adjustable gap in a pair of calipers. One can easily calculate the light’s wavelength from this pattern: l = d x / L = 532 nm where d is the gap, x is the distance between each bright spot, and L is the distance from the wall.|
Single slit diffraction of light - Java applet
350 mW green laser pointer - world’s most powerful, pops balloons, lights matches, cuts tape, burns trash bags, range of 100 miles, hand-held and battery-powered!
blue laser pointer - very cool but very expensive, I’ll wait until the price goes down
Mobile Tactical High Energy Laser (MTHEL) - infrared laser that can intercept missiles and shells
Plasma Experiment - 1/14/04
Cryogenics - 3/9/04
Here is a picture of me working with liquid helium which has a boiling temperature of 4.2 K (-452.1° F.). This was a fun experiment to study the lambda point of liquid helium and the superconducting properties of tin. The lowest temperature we reached was about 1.2 K (-457.2° F.).|
Piezoelectric Motor Tester - 2003-2004
This was my undergraduate research project for my school’s experimental gravity program. Our goal was to test the equivalence principle, which states that the ratio of inertial to gravitational mass is the same for all types of matter. We sought to test this hypothesis by using an extremely sensitive cryogenic torsion pendulum composed of masses with differing neutron to proton ratios. This pendulum is located in an abandoned missile bunker in Washington.
My responsibility was to build a motor to rotate this pendulum. This was to be a very precise motor, composed of stacks of piezoelectric sheering plates. The above photos show a stack being tested at low temperature inside a vacuum can in a liquid nitrogen bath (-320° F.). The picture on the left shows some of my blueprints for this project.
Mentos - 8/12/07
Schlieren Images - heat visualizations by Gary Settles
Aerogel - world’s lightest solid, invented by NASA
Super-Kamiokande - Cherenkov detector
Sound Levitation - Sounds wave cause a piece of paper to levitate.