The Teaching Lab is located on campus on the first floor of Mudd Hall. It includes experiments involving a broad range of physics, plasmas and non-plasmas.
List of Plasma Physics Teaching Experiments
With the vacuum setup, students are able to study key aspects of vacuum and gas pumping physics, such as the variables that impact pumping rate and outgassing rates. Students also learn how to operate roughing and backing/turbo pumps.
The double chamber vacuum experiment is similar to the single chamber variant, but with the additional capabilities of measuring outgassing rates between the two chambers at varying pressures.
Students learn the plasma physics of Langmuir probes in a magnetic cusp experiment. Students use the probes to collect or emit a current in the plasma, creating what is called an I-V characteristic -- a dataset that can tell one useful information such as the electron temperature of each species of electron and the ion density.
Students discharge a capacitor bank through a gas, ionizing it in an outwards cascade as the plasma repels itself from the central current column via the reverse pinch effect. They measure the time it takes for the plasma wave to travel outwards, a process accurately described by Magnetohydrodynamic theory.
Students measure a spectrogram of a glow discharge. Gas is ionized using a high voltage in a vacuum chamber with magnets, and students explore how the spectrogram changes with voltage and magnetic field and how their results compare with theory.