Osion kuvaus

  • The Advanced Physics Laboratory (APL) course will be given in spring 2021 during periods III-V as an online course with no contact teaching. The exercises will be presented in the form of written instructions and video demonstrations. Each student selects three (3) exercises from the available six (6) choices and prepares one (1) full report and completes two (2) "lomake" assignments on the basis of model data delivered by request to those students who decide to participate in each of the exercises. The reservation system will be made active once the assistants have prepared the video material for their exercises. There will be a limit to the maximum number of students accepted for each exercise and the selections of exercises must be made before the deadline April 16th.

    You should enroll to the course in Oodi. The MyCourses news forum will be used to inform participants about updates.

  • The Advanced Physics Laboratory (APL) course includes a variety of exercises on selected physical phenomena. The goal is to deal with real measurement scenarios and to dig deeper into some interesting and timely phenomena. Many of the exercises use active research equipment at the department. Unfortunately the students may not make the measurements themselves due to the restrictions posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

    The aim is to practice writing of a concise, clear and coherent report on the basis the exercise descriptions and real measured model data. This is a skill that is needed in special assignments and theses, but also in all real life reporting.

    In spring 2021, the APL course offers 6 exercises, three of which have to be completed by each student by producing one (1) full report and two (2) "lomake" submissions:

    1. Boiling phenomena
    2. Photonic Bandgap Materials
    3. Quantization of conductance in nanowires
    4. Synthesis and measurement of carbon nanotubes
    5. Surface state dispersion of copper with STM
    6. Superconducting niobium cavity

    Questions regarding a specific exercise: ask the assistant.

    Questions regarding the course in general: ask the coordinator Juha Tuoriniemi  juha.tuoriniemi(ät)aalto.fi

  • Format
    Each student writes one full report during the course, on one of the exercises. Additionally, each student submits answers to two other exercises in a relaxed format ("lomake" = form, answer sheet, questionnaire), which involves data analysis without a structured document. To begin working for an exercise you must ask for the model data from the assistant. This must be done before April 16th after which no reservations will be accepted.

    Detailed instructions
    are published in MyCourses. The exercises and the equipment needed to carry out the experiments are also described in sets of video demonstrations. They shall be examined thoroughly before selecting the exercises.


    A report is written by everybody on one exercise, which can be selected at will (within the limits of maximum allowed students for each exercise). All assignments shall be completed and accepted during one semester, i.e., the course must be finished at one go.

    The first version of the report shall be submitted to the assistant within 3 weeks from receiving the model data. The assistant will review the report and give personal feedback, after which there is one more week to make a second, improved version of the report. The final grade for each report is the average grade of the first and second version.

    Lomake assignments

    The other two selected exercises for each student are reported as lomake assignments, which contain only the pertaining data analysis, where answers are typed in a ready-made form, with attached graphs or other supporting material. Each student is responsible for two lomake assignments. The lomake must be submitted to the assistant within three weeks after receiving the model data. In contrast to the report, there is no second chance to improve.


    The report is graded in the scale 0...10 points. The lomake assignments are graded in the scale 0...5 points.

    The course itself is graded in the normal 0-5 scale. Provided that all three outputs have been accepted, the following grading is used:

    18-20: grade 5
    16<18: grade 4
    14<16: grade 3
    12<14: grade 2
    10<12: grade 1
    0<10: grade 0

    If you have questions concerning a given exercise, please contact the assistant. If your question concerns the course as a whole, contact the course coordinator.

  • Requirements

    The requirements for the lab report are practically the same as in previous lab courses.

    • Report must contain clear and coherent description of the objectives, methods, equipment and results, showing that the author has investigated and understood the subject.
    • Report starts with a title page showing the name of the exercise, measurement date as well as the work group number and its members. The author shall be indicated clearly.
    • Table of contents must be provided.
    • Results from measurements or simulations must be presented in tables and/or graphically.
    • Report must be submitted in an electronic format as pdf and in the original text format (word, tex, etc). An anti-plagiarism tool is used by the course assistants.
    • Report is written in Finnish, Swedish or English. Foreign course assistants only accept English.
    • The typical length of a report is 10-15 pages, with the maximum length 15 pages. The limitation is not strict, but if clearly above 15 pages, consider using appendixes.
    • Using references is obligatory. Using only the instructions and Wikipedia as references is not enough.
    • Plagiarism is strictly forbidden. Misconduct will be handled according to the Aalto University Code of Academic Integrity.
    • The first version of the report is submitted within three weeks of the measurement session. Specifically, the deadline is noon 12:00 o'clock. For example, if you have the session 1.1., the deadline is 22.1. noon 12:00 o'clock.
    • An optional second version of the report is submitted within one week of the feedback session.
    • In practice, writing one report takes 1 full-time working week. It is not possible to write an acceptable report, if you start the night before deadline. It is recommended to start writing the report right after the measurement session.
    • Point deductions are made if the deadline is overrun. 0-7 days is minus one point, 8-14 days is minus two points, and so forth.

    An example of a good lab report is shown at the bottom of this page.

    If you write your lab reports in LaTeX (recommended), you may utilize the template for Physics Special Assignment that is available from this link. Some minor modifications are needed in the template.

    Grading principles

    Each course participant writes a report on one of the exercises, which is graded in the scale 0-10. Each report version is graded and the final grade is the average of the first and second version.

    • The assistant reads and comments the first version of the report. He/she will contact the author and invite him/her to an oral feedback session.
    • The author is given the opportunity to make a second, improved version of the report after the feedback session. If the first version is approved, the author may decide not to make a second version.
    • In the feedback session, the assistant will tell the author the maximum grade for the second version, provided that the requested corrections are made. It should be noted that it is not always possible to obtain 10 points for the second version.
    • An acceptable report must be a complete technical report with background, methods and conclusions. Presenting the results only is not sufficient. All questions posed in the instructions must be handled in the report.
    • An average report without major errors or omissions is given 7 points. Full 10 points are given only for an exceptionally good report.
    • The course is graded in the normal 0-5 scale. It is guaranteed that the course is passed with 12 points out of 22 (one full report 10, two short reports 5+5, and review points 2), provided that the report and both the form assignments are accepted and all six exercises have been attended.
    Grading criteria
    For each of the criteria below, the assistants provide +/- comments indicating what was good/to be improved. The points for each criteria are given at 1/2 points accuracy. An excellent performance within some criteria can compensate for deficiences elsewhere by 1/2 points. The overall points for the report are summed up.

      1. Determining the result, max 5p

      a) Each question in the instruction sheet has been answered

      b) The results are reasonable and relatively close to correct, or, it is well justified why unusual results were obtained

      c) Discussion if the experiment was successful

      d) Error analysis provided, if relevant to the exercise

      e) Own contribution visible

      2. Text and formulas,  max 3p

      a) Language is good, but some miskates are forgiven

      b) The text is logical and easy to follow. Typically, theory and description of the experimental methods are separate from presentation of the results.

      c) Exercise instructions are not copied directly.

      d) Referencing is appropriate

      e) Own contribution visible

      3. Graphs, figures, tables, max 2p

      a) The basic format of graphs are appropriate:

         - physical quantities on the axes are given, complete with units

         - Error bars in a typical case included in the data points at least in the y-direction

      b) Figure describing the equipment can be copied from the instruction material, but reference should be given

    Lomake assignments

    The deadline and submission process are similar to those of the report.
    • The lomake must be submitted within three weeks of the measurement session.

    Grading criteria for lomake

    The grading of lomake's follows that of reports described above in relevant parts:

    1. Determining the result, max 3p

    a) Each question in the lomake has been answered

    b) The results are reasonable and relatively close to correct, or, it is well justified why unusual results were obtained

    c) Discussion if the experiment was successful

    d) Error analysis provided, if relevant to the exercise

    3. Graphs, figures, tables, max 2p

    a) The basic format of graphs are appropriate:

       - physical quantities on the axes are given, complete with units

       - Error bars in a typical case included in the data points at least in the y-direction

  • The BSc level laboratory course PHYS-C0310 (earlier Tfy-0.3201) on applied physics is a prerequisite for this course. Similar courses at other universities are eligible replacements.

    Useful background information is given on various theoretical physics courses.

  • Detailed instructions and video demonstrations for the exercises are available on section "Materials"

    1. Boiling phenomena

    Assistant: Marco Marin Suarez

    This laboratory exercise demonstrates heat transfer and different boiling modes. Concepts like heat flux and heat transfer coefficient are utilized to determine a boiling curve and critical heat flux. Boiling heat transfer is an important process in energy technology, for example in boiling water reactors, heat exchangers and centralised solar collectors.

    2. Photonic Bandgap Materials

    Assistant: Mohammad Tasnimul Haque mohammad.haque(ät)aalto.fi
    Photonic bandgaps occur in materials where the structure of the material causes constructive and destructive interference of the scattered light. Scattering accompanied with interference behaviour is called diffraction. Some examples of photonic bandgap (PBG) materials found in nature are the vivid colours of the eye in a peacock feather, the green iridescent colour of certain beetles, the blue colour of certain butterflies and the colours of the mineral opal. In this exercise, optical properties of colloidal crystal samples are investigated with a spectrophotometer and an optical microscope.

    3. Quantization of conductance in nanowires

    Assistant: Marie-Melody Volard marie-melody.volard(ät)aalto.fi

    This laboratory work gives you a chance to experimentally observe quantization steps in conductance. Nanowires can be obtained by placing in contact two metals of any size and then separating them. At the last stages of the breakage of the macroscopic contact the contact has nanometric size and nanowires form between the two macroscopic metallic objects brought together. In the work you will test a conductance of a loose electrical contact formed between two thin gold wires and determine the value of the conductance quantum.

    4. Synthesis and measurement of carbon nanotubes

    Assistant: Qiang Zhang qiang.zhang(ät)aalto.fi

    Carbon nanotubes are long hollow cylindrical nanostructures comprised solely of carbon atoms. Most of the fascination with this material, and many of its unique properties, stems from its unusual structure and aspect ratio. They can be considered as quasi one-dimensional systems, and exhibit unusual electrical and mechanical properties. In this exercise carbon nanotubes are synthesized and their properties are determined using absorption spectra and Raman spectrometer.

    5. Surface state dispersion of copper with STM

    Assistant: Markus Aapro markus.aapro(ät)aalto.fi and Xin Huang xin.huang(ät)aalto.fi

    This assignment introduces low-temperature scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) and spectroscopy (STS) that are able to provide structural and electrical information of surfaces with atomic spatial resolution. These techniques will be illustrated by imaging Cu(111) surface and measuring the dispersion of the two-dimensional free electron gas (surface state) present on the surface. This can be achieved by measuring the oscillations in the local density of states arising from the scattering of the surface state off surface impurities.

    6. Superconducting niobium cavity

    Assistant: Mika Sillanpää mika.sillanpaa(ät)aalto.fi

    The most prominent consequence of superconductivity is the disappearance of electrical resistance at temperatures below the superconducting transition temperature, also known as the critical temperature Tc. However, at temperatures only somewhat below Tc, remaining normal-conducting electrons can cause observable resistive ("Ohmic") losses when time-dependent electromagnetic fields are present. In this assignment, we will measure energy losses in a superconducting microwave-frequency cavity resonator at temperatures down to 4 K by dunking it into liquid helium in a test cryostat. The measurement range crosses Tc ~ 8 K of niobium, hence allowing for inferring a temperature-dependent surface resistance of the superconductor. Meanwhile, we study concepts in radio/microwave technology, and in cryogenics.

  • Instructions on exercises can be found from the MyCourses page "Materials"
    Reservation links to the exercises will become available sometime soon.
    All reservations and requests for the model data have to be made by April 16th.
  • The exercise instructions, video demonstrations, and possible additional reading for each exercise are published here.

  • Saatavilla vasta, kun: You are a(n) Opettaja