Advanced Syllabus

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111-Lab Faculty Instructors

Faculty Instructor Course Office Phone Email
Hartmut Haeffner Experimentation Lab 301H Old LeConte Hall (510) 664-4299
Dan Stamper-Kurn Experimentation Lab 301D Old LeConte Hall (510) 642-2305 or 486-6805
William Holzapfel Instrumentation BSC 433 Old LeConte Hall (510) 642-5036

111-Advanced Lab GSI Student Instructors

Graduate Student Instructors GSI office: 221 Old LeConte; Lab phone: 642-1937
Sachinthya Wagaarachchi (20) ADV
Arielle Little (20) ADV
Celeste Carruth (20) ADV
Victoria Xu (20) ADV

Return to main page for the Advanced Laboratory

111 Lab Staff Sr. Research Development Engineer and 111-Lab Manager

Donald Orlando 282E LeConte Hall Phone: 642-5328 (with Voice Mail) Email:

Please contact Don Orlando about any equipment, electronic, or computer problems in the 111-Lab. We want you to enjoy your time in the Physics 111-Lab.

Unit credit

  • Three (3.0) units of Advanced Lab are required for the Physics major.
  • You can also enroll for additional semesters at 1.5 to 3.0 units each (see a faculty or Don Orlando).

Course Lab Information

  • Lab location: 282 and 286 LeConte Hall
  • Lab hours: Mondays 12-4pm and Tuesday-Friday 1-5pm
  • Lab phone: 624-1937 (No answering machine)
  • The Physics Department Colloquium is on Mondays from 4:15- 5:15pm in 1 LeConte Hall; all students are strongly encouraged to attend. Also, tea and cookies are served (for a small fee) at 4pm every day in 375 LeConte Hall.
  1. All course materials are available from the Advanced Lab Site or the Instrumentation Lab.
  2. Optical Pumping is a required experiment for all students.
  3. What to do 1st: Fill Out the Signature Card on-line on bCourses. This is located on bCourses on the Home Page. Make sure your picture is available on the Berkeley bCourses Web site. If NOT bring to class a Passport photo and give it to Don Orlando. Download your copy of the Error Analysis Lab (EAX), sign up for your first experiment in the lab, get reprints from Library Site and watch the 111-Lab videos about your experiment online.
  4. Please purchase before coming to class your own personal USB 8GB THUMB Drive for file storage.
  5. For Lost & Found, see Donald Orlando
  6. Read Physics Campus Computer Policy

Texts: Required

These texts are good references and available on reserve in the Physics 111 Library Site on campus. Please note that you can access the texts only via the campus-network. To set up access from outside the campus see


Experimentation Lab Experiments and Due Dates

Course Material Fee

To off set the cost of expendable items of the Physics 111-Lab course, students of the Physics 111-Lab must pay a Course Materials Fee (CMF) of $115.00. CMF is a kind of fees approved under the authorities contained in the policies of the Office of the President (October 2009) and the Berkeley Campus (October 2009). The fees are assessed after the fifth week of classes in Fall and Spring, and will be included in the students' CARS (Campus Accounts Receivables System) statements.


The goal of the advanced lab is to become familiar with experimental physics research. It is a test run as an experimental physicist with all responsibilities. This includes learning how to conduct meaningful experiments, mastering important experimental instrumentation and methods, analyzing data, drawing meaningful conclusions from them and presenting your results in a succinct manner. For this, you will conduct four experiments and one error-analysis exercise. Every student must complete the Optical Pumping experiment, then you can choose from 19 other experiment in the lab.

Note that there is NO eating or drinking in the 111-Lab anywhere, except in rooms 282 & 286 LeConte on the benches with the BLUE Stripe around it. Thank You from the Staff.


  • Learn what real experimental physics is about
  • Learn the synergy between experimental and theoretical work
  • Learn to use pieces of equipment that are commonly used in research
  • Learn how measurements are performed, analyzed, and interpreted.
  • Learn how to present your work and results
  • Learn problem solving strategies
  • Learn how to manage and organize your time


There will be a lot of hard work and frustration, but it is a very rewarding experience, and worth the effort. Often there is no satisfactory solution to a particular problem. Thus you will not be penalized for not getting the correct answer, rather your grade will depend on how systematically you approach the tasks and solve the inevitable problems. The lab is equally challenging to the teaching staff who may not be familiar with all the experiments. Note that the goal of this course is not to teach you the right answer but to instruct you how you can figure out the answers. We are here to help and to guide you in this process. We will teach you problem-solving strategies, for instance, by asking questions rather than giving you the answer you might actually seek.

Choosing Experiments

There are about 20 experiments available for this semester, covering a wide range of fields in Physics, such as atomic physics, condensed-matter physics, optics, nuclear and particle physics. Each experiment has instructions accessible via the navigation bar on the left of this wiki, (videos and references) but please refrain from using them as a recipe. You will be much better off by understanding what you are doing rather than following instructions. You must do four experiments and the exercise on error analysis (the latter in the first week of class) to complete the course requirement. One of the four experiments must be Optical Pumping; The other experiments are divided into two groups based on their overall effort. Please note also that we will take the level of difficulty of the individual experiment into account when we grade; in particular, we expect you to go into much more detail for the "easy" experiments.

You can sign up the first experiment starting from the first day of class. For the following labs you will only be allowed to sign up once you turned in the previous lab report, i.e. usually at the due date. In case, you have an oral report you can sign up at the due date for the next experiment.

Experiment Sign up times

You will need to signup for consecutive days, on the new signup list posted in the 286 LeConte room, for all experiments because of the number students enrolled in this course.

Preparation for each experiment

  • Prepare to do the pre-lab at least one day prior to starting your experiment. Otherwise you might loose valuable experimenting time.
  • Download the write-up of the experiment from the Wiki page.
  • Read some of the references and the write-up.
  • Watch the appropriate videos for the experiment and any lecture series or safety videos that are available. Attention: some of the videos may be out of date and the apparatus and the procedure may have changed. However, the key is to learn the concepts and experimentation.
  • For some experiments, either a laser or radiation safety training is required. Take the required training course and the quiz.

The pre-lab questions are there to help you to identify the most critical concepts for successful experimentation. Use them as a guide of what to read about. Prepare to answer the pre-lab questions orally in the lab. Do not hesitate to contact the staff in the lab if you encounter difficulties with the subject. We might not answer your questions directly but we will help you to find the answers. The better you can describe your problems, the better we can help. Thus: think and discuss among yourselves first before you ask.

In the Laboratory

For successful experimentation, you must have a good understanding of the underlying physics. The pre-lab questions are there to guide you towards the important concepts and we require you to go over them with the teaching staff before starting to do the experiment. You do NOT need to turn in or show any written answers to the pre-lab questions, but you must demonstrate a sufficient understanding of the physics related to the questions; otherwise you will not be allowed to start the experiment.

Before experimenting:

  • get familiar with the apparatus.
  • ask yourself questions before taking any action.
  • be patient and careful. Safety is essential.
  • DO NOT ABUSE any piece of equipment.
  • if there is any issue, talk to the teaching staff or Don.
  • you must be proactive when working together.
  • Plan ahead: take some measurements and quickly analyze the data to get some idea whether you are heading in the right direction


You must complete one oral report per semester on an experiment see Oral Report Guidelines and view the How to do an Oral Report Video. All other reports are in written format (see Written Report Guidelines).

Oral report (20 minutes presentation + ~10 minutes questions)

  • You must give one oral report for either the first or the second experiment. In each lab partnership (2 people),

one person must do the oral report on the first lab, and the other on the second lab. In cases of 3 people working together, you can split it 1:2 as you wish.

  • You must sign up about a week before the due date. Don will post the sign-up sheet when the time comes.
  • Watch the video on how to prepare an oral report.
  • Hand in the signed pre-lab page and show the faculty instructor copies of your data and analysis.
  • You can either use the white board or any kind of software tool for presentation.
  • 10 points will be deduced for every 10 minutes late for giving your oral report.

Written report (less than 15 double-spaced pages):

  • The signed pre-lab page.
  • Abstract (~200 words) summarizing the experiment and your findings.
  • Introduction
  • A summary of the experiment, including a basic discussion of the relevant physics, the apparatus and procedures.
  • Data taken
  • Analysis
  • Results
  • Conclusion
  • Acknowledgement
  • References

Some advice on writing the report:

  • Latex is a free powerful word processor that is popular among the physicists and mathematicians. Thus, we encourage you to use it to write your report.
  • We encourage you to analyze your data with MATLAB which is available in the lab; otherwise consider Octave as an alternative to MATLAB.
  • You do not need to provide long derivations.
  • You should cite references in the text. For example, to cite a paper: J. Last, Phys. Rev. Lett. volume number, page number (2013); to cite a book: J. Last, title of the book, page, publisher (2012).
  • Your should only provide relevant information: think what a student in your position needs to know to understand what you did.

If you encounter difficulties with the analysis or physics, do not hesitate to contact the staff in the lab; we are there to help you.


Use common sense and think before acting.

  1. No food or drink is allowed in the lab except for the specified area marked with blue tapes.
  2. Some experiments that use radiation or lasers will require safety training.
  3. View the Radiation Safety Video on YouTube. Then get a pink Radiation Safety form from a 111-Lab staff person. Fill it out & sign the form for getting a Radiation Ring. Also, complete the Radiation Safety Training. After completion of the training, turn in all forms to Don Orlando or a teaching staff.
  4. View the Laser Safety video here.
  5. Complete the read and sign laser training Laser Safety Training


Your final semester grade will be determined from the total points you receive for the reports where we will take the difficulty of each experiment into account. Each of the four lab-reports is graded on a 0 to 100 point basis, while for the error analysis report you can receive up to 50 points. There are many factors that go into determining the grade that a report receives, but we offer the following rough grading guidelines, where >50% is considered a passing grade:

  • Excellent (80% - 100%): Student completed most parts of the experiment, and report demonstrates a clear understanding of each part and the overall picture. The report is easy to follow (would be clear to another student), and is complete without being padded. Report contains complete error analysis, and contains no or few mistakes.
  • Average (60% - 80%): Student completed most parts of the experiment, and report demonstrates a general understanding although student may appear confused over some points. Analysis is difficult to follow, and conclusions drawn from the data are not clearly stated.
  • Poor (40% - 60%): Student completed major parts of the experiment, but fails to draw conclusions from the data. Report is difficult to follow, and contains many errors.
  • Insufficient (0% - 40%): Student fails to demonstrate an understanding of what the experiment is about and/or major parts of the report are missing.

You must have given an oral report or your final grade for the course is reduced by 1/3 of a letter grade. Remember that students who are missing work will be assigned a grade of "F" for the semester, and that no reports will be accepted after the last due date.

Note also that you must have turned in all four reports and the error analysis report on the deadline of the last report.

Pick up your report in the lab. We try to return your graded report in a timely fashion, i.e. in two weeks. For feed-back on presentation style, we encourage you to go through the report together with the GSI/faculty who graded it.


All written reports are due by 4 pm on the due date, except the last report which is due by 1 pm on the due date. Ten (10) points will be deduced for each started week past the due date. No report will be accepted past 1 pm on the due date of the last lab report, no exceptions. Getting a late start on your report is no excuse for turning in the report late.


Both, the University and the 111 Lab staff, take the subject of plagiarism very seriously. Please make sure you understand completely the following and ask questions if ever in doubt: "All data that you present in your reports must be your own. All written work that you submit, except for acknowledged quotations, is to be in your own words. Work copied from a book, webpages (including the experimental instructions), from another student's report, or from any other source without proper citation will, under University rules, earn the student a grade of 'F' for the semester, and possible disciplinary action by the Student Conduct Committee." Note that a proper citation requires that you mark clearly which text/illustration has been copied from as well as the source of it. This is most easily done by adding a note of the form "Illustration taken from Ref. [<number>] below the illustration indicating which reference this excerpt belongs to. In case you quote a text, put the quoted text in quotation marks and add the reference number after the text.

Working Together

You will probably take your data with a partner, and may work together on analyzing these data. But each person must write his or her own report and submit it to 111-Lab Staff for grading. The text of your report, graphs, figures, and derivations of equations must be your own. (This includes graphs generated using standard software: you must each make your own). Please be sure to acknowledge any sources that you use in your reports, and be careful not to copy another's work.

End of the semester

All materials and reports are due by the last due day, no exceptions. Any graded Lab Reports not picked up by the first week of the subsequent semester will be thrown away. Please make sure you return your radiation ring if you use one. Please complete course evaluations and let us know how we can make improvements.

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