PHYS2090 OPTICAL PHYSICS Laboratory Microwaves

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1 PHYS2090 OPTICAL PHYSICS Laboratory Microwaves Reference Hecht, Optics, (Addison-Wesley) 1. Introduction Interference and diffraction are commonly observed in the optical regime. As wave-particle duality highlights, these phenomena can also occur in other systems, e.g. with neutrons, atoms, and electrons. However, observing fine detail in all of these systems is difficult, due to the small length scales. In this laboratory we explore interference and diffraction using microwaves, with the benefit of the wavelength of the source (and hence the apertures) being several centimeters instead of fractions of a micron. CAUTION: The output power of the Microwave Transmitter is well within standard safety levels. Nevertheless, one should never look directly into the microwave horn at close range when the Transmitter is on. 2. Microwave Propagation and Detection This section gives a systematic introduction to the microwave optics system. It is designed to be helpful in learning to use the equipment effectively and in understanding the significance of measurements made with this equipment. Note that reflections from nearby objects, including the table top, can affect the results of your microwave experiments. To reduce the effects of extraneous reflections, keep your experiment table clear of all objects, especially metal objects, other than those components that are required for the current experiment. Figure 1. Basic arrangement (a) Arrange the transmitter and receiver on the goniometer (the base which allows angle measurement), with the transmitter on the fixed arm as shown in figure 1. Be sure the transmitter and receiver are adjusted to the same polarity the horns should have the same orientation. Plug in the transmitter and set the 1

5 reflector is parallel to the axis of the transmitter and receiver horns. While watching the meter on the receiver, slowly slide the reflector away from the degree plate. Notice how the meter reading passes through a series of minima and maxima. Find the reflector position closest to the degree plate which produces a maximum meter reading. Measure and record h 1, the distance between the centre of the degree plate and the surface of the reflector. Slowly slide the reflector away from the degree plate until the meter reading passes through a minimum and returns to a new maximum. Measure and record h 2, the new distance between the centre of the degree plate and the surface of the reflector. Measure d 1 the distance between the centre of the degree scale and the transmitter diode. Use your collected data to calculate λ, the wavelength of the microwave radiation. Change the distance between the transmitter and receiver and repeat your measurements and analysis. Compare your results for the wavelength with the earlier measurements. 5

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