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PYU33P07 Experimental Techniques  

Hilary Term – 30 lectures 5 credits (J McCauley, M Hegner)

Part I: Electronics
Part II: Instrumentation

Learning Outcomes
On successful completion of this module, students should be able to:

  • Design basic circuits’ power supply, communications and computer-interfacing
  • Apply bandwidth-narrowing techniques to improve the signal-to-noise ratio in measurements
  • Select imaging detectors for a given application, with regard to resolution, sensitivity and wavelength
  • Distinguish between the different forms of scanning probe microscope (SPM) and discriminate between real SPM image features and image artefacts
  • Describe the principles of optical tweezers (OT) and choose the appropriate light source for OT applications in life-science experiments
  • Extend the diagnostic application of cantilever array technology into the wider fields of physics, chemistry and life science


Part I: Electronics
Electronic components. Power supplies. Computers and interfacing. Sensors and transducers. Control systems. Noise in electronic systems.

Part II: Instrumentation
Scanning Probe Microscopes (Scanning Tunneling Microscopy, Scanning Force Microscope, Scanning Nearfield Optical Microscope); Sensors (tunnelling current, force, optical, capacitance, piezoresistance); Motion (piezo electrics, stepper motors, etc.); Environments (UHV, Ambient, liquid, high temperature); Detectors for visible light: position sensitive detectors, photomultipliers, avalanche photodiodes, solid state junction detectors; Software interface (e.g. LabVIEW); Feedback electronics; Multiplexing; Optical tweezers; Cantilever Array devices; Functionalization strategies, description of current research.