Experimental Modern and Quantum Physics for Do-It-Yourself Science Enthusiasts 

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In Memoriam – Dr. Akira Tonomura (1942-2012)

We recently learned the sad news that Dr. Akira Tonomura – a truly great experimentalist – passed away on May 2, 2012 during the course of treatment on pancreatic cancer. We have been great admirers of Dr. Tonomura.  Our blog’s banner is a cartoon representation of an experimental setup developed by Dr. Tonomura, through which in 1986 he

 
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Construction of a d.i.y. Thermoelectrically-Cooled Photomultiplier Tube (PMT) Housing

The photomultiplier tubes (PMT) is the workhorse detector in particle physics and many other fields that require detection of light at extremely low levels.  However, the long-wavelength response of PMTs is not only low because of low quantum efficiency, but also because thermionic emission at room temperature causes swamps low-level signals with noise. Reducing dark counts

 
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diy Scintillation Probe for Ludlum Ratemeters Using Surplus XP3312/SQ PMT

  Ludlum general-purpose ratemeters are professional-grade instruments that are available on the secondary market at affordable prices.  They are compatible with a wide variety of probes, making them a great choice for educators, surveyors, and advanced amateur users.  However, probes for Ludlum ratemeters are often as expensive as the meter instrument itself, making it worthwhile

 
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diy Wu-Shaknov Experiment: Cheapest Demonstration of Quantum Entanglement?

George Musser – an editor at Scientific American (and author of “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to String Theory”) – developed a diy version of the Wu-Shaknov Experiment.  If George’s setup truly manages to measure the relative linear polarization of gamma rays from positron-electron annihilation, then he would have accomplished the most inexpensive demonstration of quantum entanglement! The

 
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80 µCi Americium-241 Sources Inside Old Pyrotronics F3/5A Smoke Detectors

These are pictures of the Americium-241 sources inside some old Pyrotronics F3/5A smoke detectors that were being decommissioned.  The activity of the Am-241 sources at the time of manufacture (1970s) totaled  80 µCi, so they should still have some ~70 µCi left in them. The Pyrotronics F3/5A smoke detectors were manufactured in the early 1970s. The

 
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I Really Understand QM…

 
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A Low-Cost, Super-Sensitive Paint Can Scintillation Probe for the Prutchi CDV700-Pro

  We just finished constructing a low-cost, yet highly sensitive gamma-ray scintillation probe for our CDV700-Pro counter.  The probe is based on a Philips XP5312/SN photomultiplier tube (that is available from Sphere Research) and a piece of scintillation plastic.  The probe yields a background count of approximately 1,000 counts/minute (cpm) in our lab, and 7,400 cpm

 
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