Physics307L:People/Gonzalez/Formal Report

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SJK 18:18, 6 December 2009 (EST)
18:18, 6 December 2009 (EST)
Much of the writing you have, particularly in the begginning is very good -- written in a nice style for formal reports. There are a couple things that need a lot of work. First, is the results section: you're going to need several graphs (and perhaps a table or two), and then you'll need to write about them as I describe below. Second, you don't have any citations to original peer reviewed research (and correspondingly, you do not have a "references" section). Both of those are substantial, and your report will be a lot better having done them. I make a suggestion for "extra data" below. Doing more experiments this week may help you in thinking about how to present your results.

Charge-To-Mass Ratio Lab Summary

SJK 13:54, 6 December 2009 (EST)
13:54, 6 December 2009 (EST)
Good author and contact info. You'll need a different title, something more in-line with formal style. Something like, "Measurements of the Charge-To-Mass Ratio of the electron."

Author:Johnny Joe Gonzalez
Experimenters: Johnny Joe Gonzalez, Jared A. Booth
Laboratory: Junior Labs, Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque NM, 87106


SJK 15:11, 6 December 2009 (EST)
15:11, 6 December 2009 (EST)
This is a very good rough draft abstract. The style of the writing is good (using past tense) and you include most of the important information (units are missing on your values!!!). You start right off with your methods...that is OK, but typically an abstract will have an impact or motivation statement somewhere, and usually at the beginning (not always). I don't think you have the impact anywhere, so the easiest place to add it would be at the beginning, e.g. "The charge-to-mass ratio is an important fundamental property of the electron."

I also think you need to revise the "conclusions" parts of your abstract. It's not the fact that you differ by 20% that indicates systematic error. Rather it's the fact that your 68% range comes nowhere close to the accepted value. Similarly, the uncertainty (+/- 0.04) supposedly IS a result of your random error: that is what you are claiming when you report the uncertainty! So, I would use those two facts to talk about systematic and random error, and then you can speculate as to what the sources of these are.

We measured the charge-to-mass ratio by firing a beam of electrons within a airtight bulb containing only a small amount of helium(~10e-2 mm Hg), the electrons interacted with the helium thereby allowing us to view the path of the electrons. The electrons were manipulated into a circle within the bulb by applying a magnetic field, the accelerating potential for the electrons as well as the applied current for the magnetic field were recorded, the radius of the resulting circles were also measured; from these values the charge-to-mass ratio was determined to be 2.12(4)*10e11. This differs from the accepted value of 1.78e11 by about 20.6%, however, since parallax was a problem as well as the collisions of helium atoms with electrons causing a reduction in speed for the electrons, and since the equations do not take this into account, I believe the majority of this error was systematic, however, since the measurements are taken by the naked eye there is definitely still a significant amount of random error as well.


SJK 16:02, 6 December 2009 (EST)
16:02, 6 December 2009 (EST)
This paragraph sort of starts out from out of the blue, even using the phrase, "this experiment." Most likely you're referring to the experiment from the abstract, but you can't expect the reader to have read the abstract. Typically what I recommend students do is to style the introduction like so: motivation for measurement; different ways it has been measured; currently best values come from where; what you're doing in this report. So, I think your first paragraph maybe needs to be reorganized and / or split up, and definitely expanded. The writing is good, I like it. Just need to expand it and probably reorganize. Also, distinctly missing are citations of peer-reviewed prior research! This is an important part of this formal report exercise. Most of your citations will probably go in this introduction. For example, you can cite a paper by Thompson where he carried out the experiments you're talking about.

In 1897 J.J. Thompson first developed this experiment in order to further understand the nature of cathode rays. He created a cathode ray in a vacuum tube and then measured the deflection of the cathode ray after applying a magnetic field, from his measurements he was able to determine that the cathodes carried negatively charged particles one-thousand times less massive than a hydrogen atom; these measurements were only possible since Thompson used a vacuum tube, therefore eliminating the interferences from gas molecules, this lead to the conclusion that atoms were not fundamental particles. He named the negatively charged particles electrons.

SJK 16:03, 6 December 2009 (EST)
16:03, 6 December 2009 (EST)
I think this is a good concluding paragraph for your introduction. I would change the last sentence to something like, "From these values, we estimated the charge to mass ratio for the electron. We compare this to the accepted value and discuss sources of error.
In our experiment we duplicated this phenomenon and were able to create a cathode ray inside a near perfect vacuum, the cathode ray was deflected into a circle by applying a magnetic field, we measured the accelerating potential used to create the cathode ray, the applied current used to create the magnetic field, and the circumference of the cathode ray circle in order to measure the deflection of the electrons. From these values the goal is to determine the charge-to-mass ratio of the electrons carried by the cathode ray.


A picture of the total apparatus, with all three power supplies and both multimeters. This photograph was taken by Alexandra Andrego and Anastasia Ierides (Steve Koch 16:18, 6 December 2009 (EST): Good job giving photo credit! To note again, all of your figures should be numbered and referred to by number in the text.)
SJK 16:16, 6 December 2009 (EST)
16:16, 6 December 2009 (EST)
This paragraph is excellent. The only things I noticed were: (a) You should number the figures that show the setup, and then refer to them here (e.g., "...helmholtz coils (see Figure ___).") and (b) If you left the heater on one value the whole time, you can state that in this paragraph. e.g. "Heater voltage was set to 6.3V for all experiments here." If you did adjust it, then you can say something like "Heater voltage set to 6.3V unless otherwise specified."
The primary piece of equipment is the Uchida e/m Experimental Apparatus (Model TG-13), which is a combination of an electron gun combined with a pair of Helmholtz coils, we connected the SOAR Corporation DC Power Supply (Model 7403) to the heater for the electron gun, in order to heat the electron gun filament. The Helmholtz coils were connected to HP DC Power Supply Model 6384A and the BK Precision Digital Multimeter (Model 2831B) was connected in series and set to measure current. With this connection we were able to control the magnetic field and monitor its current. The Gelman Instrument Company Deluxe Regulated Power Supply (500 V, 100 mA) was connected to the e/m connections on the Experimental apparatus, while also being connected to the other Precision Digital Multimeter (Model 2831B) and the multimeter was set to measure voltage. This power supply was used to control the accelerating potential of the electrons in the cathode ray.
This is a picture of the E/M device, the large circles surrounding the bulb are the Helmholtz coils, the bulb inside contains some helium(~10e-2 mm Hg.)
SJK 16:22, 6 December 2009 (EST)
16:22, 6 December 2009 (EST)
For these next three paragraphs, I think you're hampered a bit by saying, "we then did this; we then did this; etc." You could make this less awkward by just have sub-headings, such as "Beam radius measurement. We measured the beam radius by lining up the beam with it's reflection on the ruler, in order to reduce parallax ..." And "Constant Current Measurements, "Constant Voltage Measurements," "We kept the accelerating voltage fixed at ___ V, while varying the current from a minimum of __ to a maximum of __ and taking __# independent measurements of the beam diameter at each current." etc.

We then turned the equipment on and set the heater power supply to 6.3V and started with no current in the Helmholtz coils, the accelerating potential was set to 300V. From there we adjusted the focus knob until a cathode ray could be seen. The current on the Helmholtz coils was turned on until the cathode ray was turned into a circle. Since the cathode ray is very difficult to see the data recording part of the experiment was done in the dark.

The circumference is then recorded by measuring the left and right radius of the circle and then taking the mean. The process is repeated but the accelerating potential was changed until measurements with accelerating potentials as low as 188V were recorded. Any potential lower than this caused the circle to break, voltages higher than this caused the circle to interfere with the inside of the bulb of the electron gun.

The measurements were repeated once again, but this time the current on the Helmholtz coils was varied, this changed the magnetic field used to deflect the cathode ray. Several measurements with current varying between -1.31A and -1.05A were taken during this part of the experiment.

SJK 16:30, 6 December 2009 (EST)
16:30, 6 December 2009 (EST)
One very important thing missing from your methods are your data analysis methods! I haven't looked below yet to see how much of the important info you have in your "analysis and results section," but definitely you should have a section in your methods that is for the data analysis. Things like, "The best fit slope of the data was obtained using the LINEST function in Excel (Microsoft Corp., Redmond WA)." It's important to let people know what software you're using and what algorithms (if any) are used.


SJK 17:50, 6 December 2009 (EST)
17:50, 6 December 2009 (EST)
These next two sections, "Data" and "Analysis and Results" are going to need an overhaul. First, as mentioned above, the analysis methods should be described in the methods section. Other than that, what you're going to need to do is to make figures and tables that present the important results. It is great that you provide your raw data (the Google sheet). You definitely should do that, but it should not be the prominent piece of information in your report. Rather, it should be an appendix or a link. What you should show your readers are really nice representations of the results: mostly graphs, and maybe a table or two. Ideas for graphs: radius versus voltage (for constant current) along with best fit line; radius versus inverse-squared current (for constant voltage) along with best fit line; and maybe e/m ratio versus measurement number for random values. You could show a table that lists the e/m ratios obtained from the different methods, along with the accepted value. Each of those figures and tables should be numbered, and you should refer to them by number in the text. You could even make sub-headings, such as "constant current", "constant voltage," have a graph for each section, and some text describing the graph and discussing the results. Then after doing each of those sections, you could conclude the results section by showing a table comparing the values from all methods and the accepted value as well, and then discussing systematic error as you do now with your last paragraph of that section.

{{#widget:Google Spreadsheet |key=tzw4EnlwZFQXg7Tx89IpHpA |width=700 |height=600 }}


This is a picture of the E/M device. The blue-green circle is a cathode ray being influenced by the magnetic field that is imposed on it by the Helmholtz coils.

Using the equation: Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "":): {\displaystyle B=\frac{\mu R^{2}NI}{(R^{2}+x^{2})^{\frac{3}{2}}}} we can find the magnetic field, with the following values: R=.15, x^2=R/2, Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "":): {\displaystyle \mu =4\pi *10^{-7}} (the permeability of free space), and N=130(the number of coils on the Helmholtz coils), as well as Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "":): {\displaystyle x=\frac{R}{2}} .

The resulting B value then is shown to be: Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "":): {\displaystyle B=7.8*10^{-4}\frac{weber}{Amp*m^{2}}*I}

By applying the Lorentz force we can relate Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "":): {\displaystyle F=e(\vec{v}X\vec{B})=m\frac{\vec{v^{2}}}{r}} ,
we can then solve for the ratio e/m: Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "":): {\displaystyle \frac{e}{m}=\frac{\vec{v}}{r\left|\vec{B} \right|}}
After which we can relate the velocity to eV: Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "":): {\displaystyle \frac{1}{2}mv^{2}=eV\Rightarrow v=\sqrt{\frac{2eV}{m}}} .

We can then go back to the original equation and substitute v, this gives us the following: Failed to parse (MathML with SVG or PNG fallback (recommended for modern browsers and accessibility tools): Invalid response ("Math extension cannot connect to Restbase.") from server "":): {\displaystyle \frac{e}{m}=\sqrt{\frac{2eV}{m}}\frac{1}{r\left|\vec{B} \right|}\Rightarrow \frac{e^{2}}{m^{2}}=\frac{2eV}{m}\frac{1}{r^{2}B^{2}}\Rightarrow \frac{e}{m}=\frac{2V}{\left(rB \right)^{2}}}

From the Data we are able to get the result: 2.12(13)e11 C/kg, though higher than the accepted value, this is expected due to systematic error SJK 17:40, 6 December 2009 (EST)
17:40, 6 December 2009 (EST)
I think you're using the word "standard" instead of "systematic."
and some random error. The systematic error is mostly due to the electrons colliding with the helium molecules, thus slowing there acceleration, since the equations doesn't take this into account, some sort of systematic error is expected; also, since the radius is measured with the naked eye through the bulb, some random error is expected as well.


SJK 18:05, 6 December 2009 (EST)
18:05, 6 December 2009 (EST)
I think you're on the right track with this section, but will want to revise a lot to make more formal. Also, after revising the previous sections, you may have a clearer idea on what to say. I think for your "extra data" this week, you should focus on your ideas for where the systematic error is coming from, and perhaps devise a few more experiments to investigate it (you won't be able to eliminate it). Perhaps in concert with this, you could try constant current and constant voltage experiments with different fixed values. This would be interesting to show how the apparent ratios change as you change these values.

My results were 2.12(13)e11 C/kg(Steve Koch 18:05, 6 December 2009 (EST):units!) though this was different, but not unexpected from the accepted value. Systematic error was mostly due to electrons interacting with helium atoms, while my random error is due to measuring the circle using only the naked eye through the bulb. However, I do believe that this is still a very good way on measuring the charge-to-mass ratio of an electron.


SJK 18:06, 6 December 2009 (EST)
18:06, 6 December 2009 (EST)
Good acknowledgements. It will be its own section, and the "links" will turn into the other section, "references."

I would like to acknowledge My lab partner Jared, my lab professor Dr. Koch, as well as my lab TA Pranav for helping me and suggesting using our accelerating potential.


My notebook on E/M

SJK 13:49, 6 December 2009 (EST)
13:49, 6 December 2009 (EST)
"References" section is missing, and that is a key part of a formal report. Take a look at some peer-reviewed research reports (for example on ) as well as some completed reports by last year's students to get an idea of what you need. You'll need to cite a few original peer-reviewed research reports. Most of these citations will occur in your introduction, as that is where you'll be mostly talking about prior results.


  1. Millikan RA [1913]On the elementary electrical charge and the Avogadro constant. Phys Rev 2:109–143
  2. Thomson, J. J. [1897]: ‘Cathode Rays’, Philosophical Magazine, 44, pp. 293–316.
  3. Thomson, J. J. [1898]: Philosophical Magazine, 46, p. 528
  4. M. Gold, Physics 307L[2006]: Junior Laboratoy, UNM Physics and Astronomy