Automated Imaging for Optical Experiments
This was undertaken as part of my 'First Year Project', where we attempted to capture the intensity profile of diffraction patterns and then calculate the wavelength of light. We did succesfully manage to take the picture, rotated the picture so the diffraction pattern was level. Then the code (in Python) looked at the Value (or intensity) after converting RGB colour to HSV (Hue, Saturation, Value) so an intensity profile was found. My partner then wrote code to find the global peaks in the pattern (there were lots of smaller peaks that made this hard) to gather the separation of the peaks. I think we did very well on this project, but there was a systematic error with the magnifying lens that the marker got stuck up on. The alternative way to carry out this experiment is to scan a millimetre at a time and record intensity, so we reduced the time to gain the intensity pattern from hours to seconds. This should be included in the coding section but I can't seem to find it on my laptop.
Used a diffraction grating to analyse the wavelengths of the Balmer series of Hydrogen. By measuring the diffracted orders of light, the wavelength could be calculated, then with knowledge of electron transitions and the Bohr model, Rydberg's constant could be calculated.
AC to DC Converter
The one option I had in Year 1 was to pick Electronics, we created an AC to DC converter that most modern electronics rely on (that's what a phone charger is). This consisted of a Full Wave Bridge Rectifier (4 diodes in a square shape), which only allowed forward current, like a modulus function. This was then smoothed out with a capacitor to an approximation of direct current.
Satellite around Mars/Rutherford's Alpha Scattering
This was my first proper computing project, which simulated a satellite orbiting Mars. I got good results with this script so decided to go a bit overboard and also simulate Mars orbiting around the Sun, which produced some very interesting graphs. As an even further extension, I adapted the code to simulate Rutherford's gold scattering experiment, with alpha particle being repelled from gold nuclei using both the Plum Pudding model and the more accurate model of the nucleus. I was really pleased with this script that replicated Rutherford's results from 1909, which disproved the Plum pudding model.