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Exploring Quantum Physics through Hands-on Projects

Book Description

Build an intuitive understanding of the principles behind quantum mechanics through practical construction and replication of original experiments

With easy-to-acquire, low-cost materials and basic knowledge of algebra and trigonometry, Exploring Quantum Physics through Hands-on Projects takes readers step by step through the process of re-creating scientific experiments that played an essential role in the creation and development of quantum mechanics.

Presented in near chronological order—from discoveries of the early twentieth century to new material on entanglement—this book includes question- and experiment-filled chapters on:

  • Light as a Wave

  • Light as Particles

  • Atoms and Radioactivity

  • The Principle of Quantum Physics

  • Wave/Particle Duality

  • The Uncertainty Principle

  • Schrödinger (and his Zombie Cat)

  • Entanglement

From simple measurements of Planck's constant to testing violations of Bell's inequalities using entangled photons, Exploring Quantum Physics through Hands-on Projects not only immerses readers in the process of quantum mechanics, it provides insight into the history of the field—how the theories and discoveries apply to our world not only today, but also tomorrow.

By immersing readers in groundbreaking experiments that can be performed at home, school, or in the lab, this first-ever, hands-on book successfully demystifies the world of quantum physics for all who seek to explore it—from science enthusiasts and undergrad physics students to practicing physicists and engineers.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. Half Title page
  3. Title page
  4. Copyright page
  5. Dedication
  6. Introduction
  7. Prologue
    1. Your Quantum Physics Lab
  8. Important Disclaimer and Warnings
    1. Legal Disclaimer
    2. Safety and General Precautions
  9. Acknowledgments
  10. About the Authors
  11. Chapter 1: Light as a Wave
    1. Newton’s View: Light Consists of Particles
    2. Young’s Interference of Light
    3. Automatic Scanning of Interference Patterns
    4. The Final Nail in the Coffin For Newton’s Theory of Light
    5. Light as an Electromagnetic Wave
    6. Polarization
    7. Optics with 3-cm Wavelength “Light”
    8. Real-World Behaviors
    9. Double-Slit Interference with Microwaves
    10. The Doppler Effect
    11. Experiments and Questions
  12. Chapter 2: Light as Particles
    1. The Seed of Quantum Physics: Planck’s Formula
    2. The Photoelectric Effect
    3. Can We Detect Individual Photons?
    4. Low-Cost PMT Power Supplies
    5. Listening to Individual Photons
    6. Where Does this Leave Us?
    7. Experiments and Questions
  13. Chapter 3: Atoms and Radioactivity
    1. The Need for Vacuum
    2. The Mechanical Vacuum Pump
    3. The Vacuum Gauge
    4. A Very-High-Voltage Power Supply
    5. A Vacuum Tube Lego® Set
    6. Phosphor Screens
    7. The Electron Gun
    8. The Discovery of the Electron
    9. Cathode-Ray Tubes
    10. Thomson’s First 1897 Experiment—Negative Charge and Rays are Joined Together
    11. Thomson’s Second Experiment—Electrostatic Deflection of Cathode Rays
    12. Thomson and the Modern CRT
    13. Thomson’s Third Experiment—Mass-to-Charge Ratio of the Electron
    14. Measuring e/m with our CRT
    15. A Magical Measurement of e/m
    16. Thomson’s “Plum Pudding” Model of the Atom
    17. Geiger–Müller Counter
    18. α, β, and γ
    19. The Nature of Beta Radiation
    20. The Ionizing Power of Alpha
    21. What are Alpha Particles?
    22. Rutherford’s Alpha-Scattering Experiment
    23. Rutherford’s Planetary model of the Atom
    24. Experiments and Questions
  14. Chapter 4: The Principle of Quantum Physics
    1. Emission Spectroscopy
    2. Bohr’s Spark of Genius
    3. Orbitals and Not Orbits
    4. Quantization-The Core of Quantum Physics
    5. Experiments and Questions
  15. Chapter 5: Wave–Particle Duality
    1. Gamma-Ray Spectrum Analysis
    2. What is the Nature of Light?
    3. Two-Slit Interference with Single Photons
    4. Imaging Single Photons
    5. The Answer: Complementarity
    6. Matter Waves
    7. Matter Waves and the Bohr Atom
    8. Experimental Confirmation of De Brogile’s Matter Waves
    9. Two-Slit Interference with Single Electrons
    10. A Simple TEM
    11. Blurring the Line Between Quantum and Classical
    12. Particle-Wave Duality in the Macroscopic World
    13. Experiments and Questions
  16. Chapter 6: The Uncertainty Principle
    1. Wavefunctions
    2. The Uncertainty Principle
    3. Experimental Demonstration of the Uncertainty Principle
    4. Time–Energy Uncertainty
    5. Fourier Analysis
    6. Bye, Bye Clockwork Universe
    7. Experiments and Questions
  17. Chapter 7: Schrödinger (and His Zombie Cat)
    1. Real-World Particle in a Box
    2. Quantum Tunneling
    3. Quantum Tunneling Time
    4. Superposition and Schrödinger’s Cat
    5. Many-Worlds Interpretation
    6. Schrödinger’s Cat in the Lab
    7. Beam Splitters
    8. Who Rolls the Dice?
    9. The Mach-Zehnder Interferometer
    10. “Which-Way” Experiments
    11. The Quantum Eraser
    12. Experiments and Questions
  18. Chapter 8: Entanglement
    1. Bell’s Inequalities
    2. An Entangled-Photon Source
    3. Detecting Entangled Photons
    4. High-Purity Single-Photon Source
    5. Testing Bell’s Inequality
    6. Closing the Loopholes
    7. The Age of Quantum Information
    8. A Quantum Random-Number Generator
    9. Quantum Information
    10. Quantum Teleportation
    11. Faster-than-Light Communication?
    12. Quantum Cryptography
    13. Quantum Computing and Technologies for the Future
    14. Experiments and Questions
  19. References
  20. Sources for Materials and Components
  21. Abbreviations
  22. Index