The students in our classroom need
to know that the physics of quantum mechanic plays a role in
their everyday life. By focusing on device-based examples of
real-world phenomena, they can build a bridge between the abstract
and the everyday. The examples listed below show how students
build on their understanding of ideas in tutorial and lecture.
We are presently developing more extended homeworks.
(Note that greyed out text
indicates links that will be included on the final version but
are not included in the demonstration version of the CD.)
The photomultiplier tube is based on
relatively simple physics. Students build on their understanding
of the photoelectric effect and electric fields and force.
Guidance systems can be built using an
atomic interferometer as a gyroscope system. In this homework,
students build on the idea of wave-particle duality.
To test for harmful materials in wildlife,
environmental tests in which the intensity of spectral lines
are compared are carried out. Students build on their understanding
of spectroscopy to discuss how chemicals are found in nature.
Understanding of surface physics has
been greatly helped by the technique of scanning tunneling microscopy.
Building from a tutorial on tunneling, students develop a simple
model of how STM's function.
New measurement techniques with superconducting
quantum interference devices provide students with an opportunity
to discuss tunneling issues in a relevant context.
Discussing the physics of bias and one-way
current in diodes provides students with a context in which to
understand pn-junctions and the electronics in many of their
Students model the creation of a conduction
channel in a simple transistor using physics concepts from the
Though the detailed physics of lasers
is difficult for students and comes late in the semester, an
applied homework comparing different types of lasers provides
students with the opportunity to discuss transitions between
energy levels in different gases.