Tools & Experimental Research (TER) Projects

Pilot Waves

Manager: Stefan Orosco – Sponsor: Prof. Seth Putterman

Learning Objectives: Reading Research Papers, Writing Research Proposals, Standard Laboratory Equipment Knowledge

Applications Closed

Pilot wave theory is an alternative interpretation of quantum mechanics, originally created by De Broglie and later refined into Bohmian mechanics. This research group will design, propose, and create an experiment that replicates the hydrodynamic pilot wave results shown in the John Bush paper, Pilot-Wave Hydrodynamics. This experiment will have specific requirements set by the contracting professor (Prof. Seth Putterman), such as the classical demonstration of quantum properties like entanglement. Team members will learn the basics of reading research papers, writing research proposals, and designing a professional experiment.


Froot Loop Dispenser

Manager: Krish Kabra – Sponsored by Prof. Mayank Mehta – Learning Objectives: Microcontrollers, Electronics, Apparatus Design & Construction

Applications Closed

Prof. Mayank Mehta’s research focuses on answering the question of how the mind emerges from activities of ensembles of neurons. In order to investigate this, they perform experiments on rats in unusual environments, which includes a symmetric room that has no visual landmarks that a rat can use as a reference point to orient oneself. The purpose of this experiment is to understand how a rat’s brain maps such an environment with no visual aid. As part of the experiment, Froot Loops are dropped into the room at random intervals in random locations to learn how the rat responds. However, there is currently no way of dispensing the loops without having an experimenter within the room, which makes the experiment much more dubious and time-consuming. The goal of our project is to create a dispensing mechanism, and use a microcontroller to operate it, which would eliminate the need to have an experimenter in the room while running the experiment.


Quantum Computer Noise Reduction

Manager: Grant Mitts – Sponsor: Prof. HongWen Jiang – Learning Objectives: Construction, Materials Engineering, Data Analysis

Applications Closed

The semiconductor qubit measurements in Prof. HongWen Jiang’s lab are extremely sensitive to their environment. Our apparatus will focus on reducing acoustic interference and include a measuring device to determine the efficacy of our dampening apparatus. In this project, team members will learn to design and construct an apparatus to reduce the noise from his lab’s helium compressor, and analyze data from Prof. Jiang’s experiment with and without their dampener, to improve their final product.


High Speed Camera for Plasma Lab with Raspberry Pi with Prof. Carter

Manager: Chrystalla Havadjia – Sponsor: Prof. Troy Carter – Learning Objectives: Experimental Design, Electronics, Engineering, C++

Applications Closed

The plasma in LAPD is operated in pulsed mode, for about 10 ms duration once per second.  Remarkable physics happens on the time scale of 10 ms, so we need a camera that has a shutter speed in this ballpark, e.g. 10-100 us.  There are several available for over $1000. Instead, we want to look at cheap cameras available for use on a Raspberry Pi.  Some of them claim to go down to 50µs exposure time, but anything sub-millisecond would be useful, just the shorter the better. This team’s goal is to identify a camera suitable for this type of operation and operate it using a Raspberry Pi with C++.


Elementary Particle Detection

Manager: Jonathan Ho – Sponsor: Prof. Nathan Whitehorn – Learning Objectives: Elementary Particle Physics, Hardware Engineering and Design, Data Analysis

Applications Closed

Cloud chambers were used in the discoveries of the positron (1932) and the muon (1936) by Carl Anderson, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for his positron discovery. In this project, team members will learn about elementary particles, design and build a cloud chamber, and use it to detect muons reaching the earth. Team members can then choose to use it to observe the fluctuations in muon flux at high altitudes, which entails a field trip to a nearby mountain with the built cloud chamber. Members can also measure certain quantities such as the muon’s charge to mass ratio with the chamber. The cloud chamber may also be put on display in the Physics and Astronomy Building.


PID Water Temperature Controller

Manager: Krish Kabra – In-House – Learning Objectives: Microcontrollers, Electronics, (Soldering)

Applications Closed

A Proportional-Integral-Differential (PID) controller is a device used to make educated guesses with a system’s history to predict its future and to control physical parameters using that knowledge. For example, most thermostats use PID controllers- they look at the current temperature, where it’s going (derivative) and where it’s been (integral). In this project, team members will learn how to program a microcontroller (MCU), specifically an Arduino development board which utilizes the ATmega328p, to control the water temperature of a large tank. This will include how to interpret analog signals from a thermocouple, how to store and manipulate data for PID control, and how to output a pseudo-analog signal to control a heating element.


2D Solitons

Manager: TBA – Sponsor: Prof. Seth Putterman – Learning Objectives: Python, Electronics, Literature Research

Solitons are self-reinforcing solitary wavepackets that maintain their shape and propagate without loss of energy. Team members will research the concept and mathematics behind solitons, drawing from experiments in fields ranging from AMO to fluid mechanics. From this knowledge, members will determine and create an experimental apparatus that produces 2D solitons. Team members will begin with a simulation of the experiment and then convert this to a physical experiment.


CNC Laser Etcher with Microcontrollers

Manager: TBA – In-House – Learning Objectives: Microcontrollers, Electronics, Engineering

A CNC Laser Etcher is a computer controlled system to engrave designs in different materials with a high-power laser. Team members will learn how to program a CNC interface which can translate a digital design to a physical motion of the laser. The CNC Etcher they build will have many uses as a tool for future projects in the Upsilon Lab, especially in experiment design.


Magnetic Levitator Simulation & Build

Manager: TBA – In-House – Learning Objectives: Programming, Writing Reports

Magnetic fields can be used to levitate objects with ease- this has been shown both in theory and in practice. Team members on this project will begin with a computer simulation of the magnetic fields in a traditional levitator system. Then, members will have the opportunity to propose a design for building a physical version of their simulation to test their predictions.