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

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d.i.y. 15 kV @ 30 mA Floating-Output AC or DC High-Voltage Power Supply

Transformers made for powering large neon signs are inexpensive and very reliable.  Most commonly, the secondary is center-tapped, which prevents the use of its full peak-to-peak output in applications where one of the terminals needs to be grounded. In the power supply described in this post, I took out the high-voltage transformer out of its metallic

 
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d.i.y. 10 MHz Atomic Clock Frequency Standard Using Surplus Rubidium Oscillator

Efratom Model M-100 Rubidium Frequency Standard (RFS) oscillators are widely available in the surplus market.  Units on eBay commonly sell in the $150 to $200 range.  Despite their low surplus price, they were originally very expensive components, with superb performance.  The M100 was designed to be used by the military as a master oscillator in high-performance

 
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Adding Your Own Primary to High-Voltage Flyback Transformer for Resonant Driving

Our two prior posts show how to build very high voltage power supplies using flybacks from old color TVs.  The advantage of the method we use is that any flyback can be driven, regardless of how its primary is wired.  This is because we wind our own primary using litz wire.

 
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Universal Resonant Transformer Driver (High-Voltage Flyback Driver)

We use the flyback-driver circuit shown in our d.i.y. 250 kV DC power supply in many other of our setups, so we built a stand-alone universal resonant transformer driver. 

 
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d.i.y. 250 kV High Voltage DC Power Supply with Neat Trick for Switching Polarity

High voltage DC power supplies are used by science enthusiasts for powering electron tubes and x-ray tubes, charging high-voltage capacitors, powering electrostatic “levitators”, etc.  Many of these power supplies use a flyback transformer to produce high voltage at high frequency (AC), followed by a “Cockroft-Walton Multiplier” to rectify and dramatically increase the voltage. The Cockroft-Walton multiplier

 
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d.i.y. CW CO2 Laser Power Meter Posted at www.prutchi.com

I just posted at www.prutchi.com the construction of a simple, but very useful laser power meter.  I used it to tune my 18 W CO2 laser, but the concept is applicable to any other high-power CW laser.  Click here for a direct link to the blog post.

 
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Home-Built Radiac (Radiation Detector and Meter) for a Surplus DT-590A/PDR-56F Scintillation Probe

Military DT-590A/PDR-56 “x-ray” probes are widely available in the surplus market.  They were meant to be used with the military Radiac Set AN/PDR-56, which is a portable scintillation-type instrument used for detection of plutonium-239 contamination. In addition to emitting 5.1 MeV alpha particles, Plutonium-239 also emits gamma rays in the energy range of 14 to 21

 
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Converting a DT-590A/PDR-56F “X-Ray” Probe into a General-Purpose NaI(Tl) Gamma Probe

The military Radiac Set, AN/PDR-56 is a portable scintillation type instrument used for detection of alpha contamination. The system includes a large and small interchangeable probe with a probe extension.  This system is being phased out by the US Air Force, so new probes are becoming widely available in the surplus market. The “x-ray” probe

 
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Open-Source Handheld Gamma Spectrometer on Yahoo Group GammaSpectrometry

An amateur-use open-source gamma spectrum analyzer is being developed by members of the GeigerCounterEnthusiast (GCE) Yahoo Group.  This multichannel analyzer (MCA) is based on the STM32F103VBT6 microcontroller.  It displays spectra on a color LCD. To access the design files (and hopefully to participate in the development) you will need to join the GammaSpectrometry Yahoo Group

 
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d.i.y. Handheld Multichannel Analyzer (MCA) based on 16F877 PIC Microcontroller and LCD

Some time ago I was developing a medical instrument which required histogramming, which got me in the mood to retake my own PIC MCA project(http://home.comcast.net/~prutchi/index_files/scint.htm ).   I used the variable RAM in the microcontroller (16F877), so I limited the number of channels to 95 and let the histogram run until some channel reaches 240 counts (the

 
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Prototyping PCB for d.i.y. Photomultiplier (PMT) Amplifier/Processor

We built the bulk of our PMT amplifier/processor/discriminator on a Universal PDIP Operational Amplifier Evaluation Module by Texas Instruments (model OPAMPEVM-PDIP).  Click on the picture above for a full-size version of the picture. The diagram in the following pdf file shows the connection layout for the circuit shown in the book’s Figure 34: PMT Processor PCB 

 
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d.i.y. Mod for Perkin Elmer SPCM-AQR Single-Photon Detector Module to Improve Photon Timing Performance

I. Rech, I. Labanca, M. Ghioni, and S. Cova of the Politecnico di Milano in Italy described an interesting modification to the Perkin Elmer SPCM-AQR Single-Photon Counting Module (SPCM) to improve its timing characteristics in: I. Rech, I. Labanca, M. Ghioni, and S. Cova, “Modified single photon counting modules for optimal timing performance“, Rev. Sci.

 
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Matlab Video Frame Integration Program Using VCAPG2 for Single-Photon Double-Slit Interference Experiment

In Chapter 5 of the book we list a short Matlab® program to integrate successive video frames from our diy intensified camera to image double-slit interference patterns obtained by shooting a single photon at a time. The program listed in the book uses Vision for Matlab (VFM).  However, this utility is not compatible with all versions

 
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DN1221 Thermoelectric Controller for d.i.y. Single-Photon Counter Module

Figure 144 in the book shows the schematic diagram for our d.i.y. thermoelectrically cooled single-photon avalanche photodiode (SPAD).  Our design calls for a ThermOptics DN1225 TEC controller.  However, this model is not available any more.  Fortunatelly, the ThermOptics’ DN1221 subminiature Bipolar Temperature Controller for Thermoelectric Coolers (TEC) is equally suitable by adapting the pinout and adjusting component values.

 
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We Received The First Copies of Our d.i.y. Quantum Physics Book!

Today we received the first two copies of the book!  Amazon’s website says that it will be shipping on January 29, 2012. From the back cover: “Build an intuitive understanding of the principles behind quantum mechanics through practical construction and replication of original experiments. With easy-to-acquire, low-cost materials and basic knowledge of algebra and trigonometry,

 
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