Physics307L F08:People/Osinski/Oscilloscope

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SJK 02:05, 17 September 2008 (EDT)
02:05, 17 September 2008 (EDT)
Technically, I wanted your "final result" (i.e., the fall time stuff) in your lab summary on this page. However, this lab summary combined with your raw data notebook are really very good, so this is a fine way to do things in the future. You did a very good job with everything. In the future, you'll find that the "real" labs require more data analysis and number crunching, and you will spread this over multiple it will be more natural to summarize your final results on this "main summary" page.

This lab exercise aims to introduce us into two things:

  1. The operation of a function generator and a digital oscilloscope
  2. Familiarization with digital note taking

Boleszek Osinski et. al. have reason to believe that they have accomplished these goals. Over the course of this lab

  1. the differences between AC and DC coupling are addressed
  2. sine wave properties are measured and documented
  3. the nature of triggering is briefly explained and the specific triggering sources and functions of the oscilloscope are listed
  4. the fall time and time constant of the coupling capacitor in the oscilloscope are measured
  5. a short explanation of the FFT is provided along with a qualitative description of the results of using it during the lab exercise

All this can be found in the official lab report.

In Retrospect

Though I came to the lab with some general knowledge of scientific instruments I can now honestly say that my knowledge was anything but adequate. I didn't even known the basic meaning of triggering, other than the obvious tautology that triggering implies a start of something. The operation of the oscilloscope (i.e. setting the input gain, spacing and scale of partitions, trigger source, and using cursors) was foreign to me and now I feel like I can take on any old, or new, scope. I must say "this was a learning experience and now it's a knowing experience (since I intend to remember what I learned)". SJK 02:04, 17 September 2008 (EDT)
02:04, 17 September 2008 (EDT)
I'm really glad you learned a lot! I think your careful work and inquisitive nature are responsible for that.

I was asked to describe any changes that could be made to the lab to make it better. Really, I think the lab was well prepared and we were given ample time to prepare for it ourselves (by reading the procedure and about oscilloscopes, for example). I would say that a sturdier structure, or lab procedure, might have given some students more guidance for making correct measurements. But, we must realize that the world of practicing scientists is not one where every experiment is coherently laid out and checked for errors before one actually performs the experiment. Scientists more often than not make mistakes, and if this lab is to give us a taste of actual science then it can not do without individual blunders and stupid mistakes. So thank you for leaving us to try and figure stuff out ourselves, only to ask for help when we really can't figure it out. I would have liked to take on a more rigorous quantitative analysis of the RC circuit inside the scope, but, keeping in mind that this was only an introductory lab, I must say that I feel thoroughly introduced.