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Haverford College
Departments of Physics and Astronomy

Physics 301: Laboratory in Quantum Physics

Meeting times & location:

Thu 1:15-4:00 p.m. in KINSC Harris 206 every week, starting the first week of the semester


Physics 211 or the equivalent. Physics 214 should be taken concurrently if you have not already taken it.

Who should take Physics 301 lab?

Physics majors should all take this laboratory as part of the regular and interdisciplinary physics major. Typically you take this lab concurrently with Physics 214, our lecture-based course on Introductory Quantum Mechanics, but you can also take it later if that's a better match to your schedule. Because its subject material is so useful for astronomy, we urge our astronomy majors and minors to consider taking this lab as well, though it's not required.


This course covers important topics in quantum physics while allowing you to deepen your hands-on experimental skills and your understanding of data analysis.

Topics include:

atomic and molecular energy states and emission spectroscopy, spin, the photoelectric effect, particle-wave duality (electron diffraction), Compton scattering, interaction of gamma rays, electrons and alpha particles with matter, radioactive decay, laser physics, superconductivity, and quantum which-way experiments (tests of phenomena similar to the Schrodinger?s cat paradox).


The semester starts with two one-week labs that everyone performs (atomic spectroscopy and radioactivity), followed by a series of 5 two-week labs. All labs are performed in pairs of lab partners.


Lab reports take on a variety of formats: oral reports, short reports and formal reports.

We will work with the Physics 214 lecturer to coordinate topics as much as we can, and to relate our lab material to that course.

See the course Moodle site for all readings and scheduling information.