Overview - Advanced Physical Laboratory

Here are some hints on how the Advanced Physical Laboratory is working

1. Schedule

  • Meeting with the tutors at the first Tuesday of the winter term. Forming groups of two persons.
  • Seven experimental days have to be performed in the winter term and nine days in the summer term.

2. Organizational

The experiments are performed in two-persons groups and are supervised by a tutor. All tutors are Phd-students at the Department of Physics.

3. Assignment of the experiments

The experiments are assigned after the groups are formed. The descriptions and the manuals for each experiment are handed out by the tutor. Please contact your tutor one week in advance.

Each experiment is divided into four sections:

  • Theoretical preparation for the experiment
  • Performance (experimental part) at the day of the experiment
  • Elaboration of a written report and submission to the tutor within 14 days after the experiment
  • Revisions

You do not have passed the experiment until your tutor is happy with your last revision. In the following detailed notes are given for this.

Allocation of the experiments:

One week before the beginning of the next experiment the tutor had to be contacted. He will give you the literature and will discuss with you the important points of the preparation for the experiment.

Short manual:

On the allocation of the experiment you get a printed short manual which you may keep. It contains all essential information to the experiment (e.g., description of the experiment, reference to literature, a specified setting of tasks, hints to the experimental procedure and for the evaluation).

Other information material:

For some experiments you will get more extensive information. Please return this, not later than a week after the experiment to the tutor (for the next group)!

Entrance colloquium:

Before beginning the experiment the tutor convinces himself in a sort of colloquium whether you are prepared satisfactorly for the experiment. Besides, he supports with explanations and indications your efforts to tackle physical tasks and to solve them. If you are not well prepared, however, the tutot can judge the experiment as failed, and you have to do an other (additional) experiment at a later term.

Circuit control:

The first turning on of an apparatus should be carried out only after consultation and with approval of the tutor.

Measuring protocols:

The most important ingredients of an experimental physicist are the original measuring data. Writte down as many details as possible during the experiment, not only the specific measured data. You can hardly know before, what details you need afterwards for the anaysis of the data. The original raw dats must be added to the reports. We recommend you to sketch diagrams of the measured values already during the measurement.


Arising questions during the time of the experiment should be clarified immediately with the tutor. We are very grateful for suggestions how to improve and extend the experiments. Direct such suggestions to the APL-administration.


In case of 2-day experiments, you should show the analysis of the measurements of the first part at the beginning of the second day to your tutor and discuss it with him.

Any two-persons group should submit the report to the tutor not later than 14 days after the end of the experiment. The tutor will correct the report on a reasonable time-scale and explain in detail, what is good, whats is wrong, what is missing or what is incomplete. Please make the necessary correction also within max. 14 days. You have passed the experiment not before the tutor has excepted the last revision. He can also return the elaboration to you for revision. Both partners are fully responsible for the content and the submission of the report on time.

In particular the report should contain:
  • A title-page completely filled out.

  • A brief, but clear compilation of the theory to the experiment, as well as the supply and discussion of the experiment-specific formulae you need for the analysis and interpretation of your measurements. Copying from textbooks or the internet is not allowed. A report where lager parts are copied and pasted form the internet will be judged as failed. In this case an additional experiment had to be performed. The use of ChatGPT or other AI systems in the creation of the protocol must be referenced.

  • A description of the apparatus with a scheme as well as a short representation of the course of the experiment (mention specific difficulties).

  • A detailed analysis of the measurements and discussion of the measuring results with error considerations. The discussion should contain a comparison with literature values, a very clear classification within a larger physical frame, as well as necessary indications to the practical meaning of the result. The discussion of marginal observations can also belong to it. In case of the error considerations first of all systematic inaccuracies of the apparatus are to be discussed and to be considered computationally.

  • The original raw data should be attached at the end.

Your aim while formulating the report should be a very brief, but complete representation of the performed experiment, so that, e.g., one of your fellow students would be able to understand this experiment without special previous knowledge. Please, take special effort to arrange your report clear and to present clear figures.

References: using figures or texts without giving the correct references can be considered as scientific misconduct

The three branches of an APL experiment, i.e. preparation, execution and report/corrections are separately judged by the tutor by the simple rating: "0" (average), "-" (below average), "+" (above average). The tutor tells you your marks and additionally makes a note on the first page of your report.

This evaluation serves as a rough quantified feedback for you. The APL itself is not graded.

In case of insufficient performances (inadequate preparation to the experiment, report not satisfactory or delivered too late etc.) the experiment will not be accepted. Then an additional experiment must be performed.

Repeated insufficient performances may lead to the exclusion from the APL as a consequence.

Please announce damages of devices immediately to the tutor, so that they can be repaired immediately. Don't hesitate to do so even if such a damage may be due to your error. A quick repair is mandatory so that the experiments are available to the next groups.

You are briefed in a legally prescribed radiation protection or laser protection instruction of the corresponding safety regulations. In addition, we remind you at this point of dangers in contact with ultraviolet light, high voltage, evacuated glass vessels, liquid nitrogen and liquid helium. We ask you to pay attention to the safety regulations in your own interest. Please inform yourself about the dangers with the specific experiments and follow the instructions of your tutor.

If you are unable to attend the laboratory course at the day of the experiment, for instance due to sickness, please inform the administration of the APL, the tutor and your partner as soon as possible. As a rule, the experiment has to be postponed, possibly to the next term. Phone and email addresses of the tutors and the APL administration are on the APL website.

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