Module – Physics Laboratory 3

FHEQ Level: Level 6 (Third Year)
Credits: 20
Module Code: tbc
Course Reference Number (CRN): 60692
Delivery: September Start, Trimester 1 (Short Fat)

Syllabus Outline

• To become familiar with the use of industrial important high technology equipment / To become familiar with advanced methodologies for computer simulation in physics
• Understanding of the physics that underlies this equipment. / Understand the physical basis of models used in simulation and their limitations
• Methods of accurate scientific measurement and associated errors
• Data analysis and errors
• A series of experiments covering: thin film deposition, optical analysis, mass spectrometry, X-ray analysis, extrinsic semiconductor properties, Fourier transform infra-red spectroscopy (FTIR), scanning electron microscopy (SEM) etc. / A series of computer experiments simulating complex systems in the fields of condensed matter and nonlinear systems


Coursework: Laboratory Journal, 70%
Coursework: Report in Style of Scientific Paper, 1000 words, 30%
More detailed information may be found in the Assessments section.



Further updates and supplementary texts may be found in the University Reading Lists system.


You will choose either an experimental physics pathway or a computational physics pathway. On the experimental pathway, you will advance equipment and instrumentation to make and characterise materials at the nanoscale. On the computational physics pathway, you will learn skills in computer simulation and apply these to a range of complex systems. Teaching is done in a laboratory setting facilitated by academic and technical staff.


1. To gain knowledge in the use of advanced experimental or computational techniques in physics.
2. To develop skills in the taking and critical analysis of data.
3. To develop advanced error analysis skills.
3. To become expert in keeping a journal that records all important information

Knowledge & Understanding

On successful completion of this module, you will be able to:

1. Demonstrate the understanding of advanced laboratory skills.
2. Demonstrate competence in the recording and analysis of empirical data and associated errors.
3. Demonstrate practical/computational problem-solving skills.
4. Demonstrate communication through the completion of a laboratory journal.
5. Demonstrate communication through the production of a report.

Learning, Teaching and Assessment

The module comprises of two weekly 3-hour laboratory classes.

You will follow either an experimental physics OR computational physics pathway.

Experimental Pathway: training is given relating to the advanced apparatus used and the physics underpinning the technology. You then embark on supervised experiments which involve learning to effectively operate the equipment, how to systematically gather data, and the critical analysis of data including error analysis.

Computational Pathway: training is given in advanced simulation techniques used in physics including the use of programming and packages. A series of computer simulation activities are then undertaken with investigations including a critical analysis of errors associated with underlying models and their numerical implementation.

The laboratory assessment is based on the reporting of activities in a journal at the end of trimester.