Lambda Optics LEOK-3 Manual

Recommended Text

An Introduction to Error Analysis, Second Edition, by John R. Taylor

Although you can survive the semester without it, this is such an important topic, and the book is inexpensive enough, that I strongly urge you to order it directly from the publisher (they give a 15% discount). This book will be a good reference throughout your scientific career. Click HERE for a web link, and order your copy.


Assignment 01:  .tex   &   .pdf

Assignment 02:  .tex  &   .pdf

(data file for assignment 02: .txt )

ipython Notebook for Assignment 02: right click here and save as...

Brief Overview

 Physics 240 (and the second semester option phy242) is the Physics   Department's Intermediate Physics Laboratory. It is currently the only course where undergraduates get experience with more advanced experimental techniques, serious error analysis, and are able to perform experiments to measure fundamental physical properties. You will also get to make mistakes in lab, and have to the time to fix them, just like a real working laboratory. 

In addition to performing the experiments, students will maintain a laboratory notebook, learn how to use LaTEX to professionally typeset your reports, and how to give 10 minute oral presentations of their work. 

Working in groups of 2 (or perhaps 3) on each experiment over the course of the semester, students will perform 4-5 laboratory experiments. This course is excellent preparation for graduate school and presenting at research conferences. 


MIT Junior Lab  (look at the Reports and Presentations link for links to template papers in LaTEX; this assumes you have a working LaTEX distribution with RevTEX installed)

LaTEX Home Page           LaTEX Tutorial in 138 Minutes          LaTEX Math Symbols

Creating Beautiful Plots with LaTEX    The Beauty of LaTEX     The PracTEX Journal

Drawing with the 3D tikz-3DPlot Package     

Particle Identification and Tracking  (great reference for brownian motion tracking routines)


Files for various experiments

Photoelectric Effect: Handout.pdf       Long Pass Filters.pdf

Drawing Figures 

There are many ways to draw figures for inclusion in a LaTeX document; they can be drawn in a  dedicated drawing program like Illustrator (big $!) or InkScape:

Inkscape a free cross-platform vector graphics program which I highly recommend; has the ability to plot algebraic curves and include LaTeX expressions. I prefer it to Adobe Illustrator for these reasons (not to mention that it is free) 

Or, you can draw figures in a programmable environment for direct inclusion into LaTeX files; there are two options I’m exploring right now: 

Asymptote (A vector based drawing language) 



You can see examples of Pgf/TikZ figures at TeXample

Scientific Graphics

Igor Pro: An excellent data analysis package for which the Physics Department has a course use license (i.e. free for you to use in this class - Mac/PC only)  Wavemetrics Home Page

Other Options (open source):

Python: more and more I find myself using python/matplotlib to analyze data. Especially with the advent of the iPythonNotebook format.

QTiPlot (sort of open source; author would like a donation---but it's free on the Linux platform)

Veusz (pronounced "views") - totally open source

Gnuplot - command line tool for making plots.


There are two main tools people use for presentations: (1) Powerpoint (PC/MAC) or Keynote (MAC) or OpenOffice (PC/MAC/LINUX) and (2) LaTeX. One of the items you’ll need to do for both is include figures and equations. Figures are easy to include in each, and in LaTeX, equations are also simple. Not so for Powerpoint; in fact, for the first option (Powerpoint, Keynote, OpenOffice) equations are best added using a LaTeX aware program to typeset equations; see this page at MIT’s junior lab for more info: Link

LaTeX: There are several packages for presentations in LaTeX, Beamer being one of the more popular. Here are some links that you may find helpful: (the first link is a shamelessly modified version of the MIT junior Lab template.)

  1. BEAMER LaTeX Template ilab presentation
  2. Wikipedia Entry: link
  3. Quick Beamer Tutorial: link

If you’re using PowerPoint or Keynote or OpenOffice, the following applications will allow you to create pdf or png images of equations that are drag&drop ready:

LaTeXiT: equation editor for Mac OS X

Laeqed - LaTeX equation editor (OS X, Windows, Linux)