Go to:
Esta página em português Ajuda Autenticar-se
You are in:: Start > FIS3011

Site map
FC6 - Departamento de Ciência de Computadores FC5 - Edifício Central FC4 - Departamento de Biologia FC3 - Departamento de Física e Astronomia e Departamento GAOT FC2 - Departamento de Química e Bioquímica FC1 - Departamento de Matemática

Physics Laboratory III

Code: FIS3011     Acronym: FIS3011

Classification Keyword

Instance: 2021/2022 - 1S Ícone do Moodle Ícone  do Teams

Active? Yes
Responsible unit: Department of Physics and Astronomy
Course/CS Responsible: First Degree in Physics

Cycles of Study/Courses

Acronym No. of Students Study Plan Curricular Years Credits UCN Credits ECTS Contact hours Total Time
L:EF 52 study plan from 2021/22 3 - 6 48 162
L:F 23 study plan from 2017/18 3 - 6 48 162

Teaching Staff - Responsibilities

Teacher Responsibility
Carla Susana Santana Carmelo Rosa

Teaching language

Suitable for English-speaking students


To develop the mastering of experimental techniques and tools of modern physics and engineering, by laboratory practice, and involving the accomplishment of experiments, the data analysis, and the critical interpretation of the results. In particular, it is intended to:

  • expand the skills in precision laboratory measurement equipment (lock-in, LCR meter, Hall Sensors, Geiger...)

  • introduce techniques for measurement and analysis of radioactive processes;

  • introduce precision optical measurement techniques, in particular: interferometry, spectroscopy.

  • introduce advanced methods of measuring the physical properties of condensed matter at different cryogenic temperatures and high temperatures.

  • use efficiently automatic data acquisition systems.

Learning outcomes and competences

  • competence in the identification, formulation and resolution of physics and engineering problems

  • mastering of advanced measurement techniques and use of physics and engineering tools

  • application of math, science and engineering knowledge in a laboratory environment

  • deepen communication skills in science (oral report and discussion)

  • development of skills and willingness in teamwork

Working method



Laboratory 3 proposes the accomplishment of a set of experiments framed in Atomic and Nucleic Physics, Solid State Physics and Condensed Matter, and Optics. The experiments introduce the application of precision measurement techniques and techniques for characterizing optical and electrical properties of materials.

The use of specific instruments and laboratory techniques, such as optical interferometers, optical spectrometer, CSF meter, Hall effect, goniometers, heterodyne detection) is introduced, and students are made aware of the correct use of automatic data acquisition and storage. More advanced data processing and analysis techniques are explored,

  • evaluation / calibration of the baseline of measurements (radioactivity, magnetic field ...)

  • determination of experimental data statistics

  • boxcar averages

  • determination of characteristic parameters of experimental curves

Some of the experiments aim at the experimental measurement of universal physical constants.

Exemplary list of experiences:

  1. Atomic and Nuclear Physics

    1. Radioactivity [Geigger Mueller, statistical analysis of data]

    2. Radioactive decay statistics.

    3. Radioactive half-life study

    4. Measure of the Bohr magneton by Zeeman effect [Fabry Perot cavity]

  2. Physics of Condensed Matter

    1. Hall sensor; Characterization of semiconductor

    2. Variation of copper electrical resistivity with temperature. [LCRmeter, thermocouple]

    3. Determination of the prohibited band of a semiconductor [Stabilized sources, small currents, thermocouple]

    4. Characterization of a superconductor [4-contact technique, measurement automation, cryogenics]

  3. Mechanical Engineering

    1. Characterization of materials by ultrasound [pulse flight time, piezzo transducer, acoustic impedance, pulse characteristics]

  4. Optics

    1. Collimated Beams, Lens Imaging, Telescope, 4f Systems [Laboratory Optics Skills]

    2. Law of Malus; Polarizer / Analyzer Configuration [Laboratory Optical Skills]

    3. Determination of the refractive index of a glass by the method of the minimum deviation of a prism. [Goniometer]

    4. Measurement of the n_ar index vs atmospheric pressure [Michelson interferometer]

    5. Microscopic measurements with macroscopic rulers (wavelength of a laser, thickness of hair, opaque and transparent structures) [Frauhnhofer diffraction]

    6. Characterization of different light sources; Measurements of Reflectance and Absorbance of samples [Spectroscopy]

    7. Decay of Rubi Fluorescence. [Spectroscopy]

    8. Measurement of the speed of light [Heterodynamic Detection, CW modulation]

Mandatory literature

vários [DFA]; guiões de experiências de LF3

Complementary Bibliography

Colin J. Smithells; Metals reference book. ISBN: 0-408-70627-9
Berendsen Herman J. C.; A student.s guide to data and error analysis. ISBN: 9780521134927
Taylor John R; An introduction to error analysis. ISBN: 0-935702-75-X
Semyon G. Rabinovich; Measurement errors and uncertainties. ISBN: 0-387-98835-1
Barry N. Taylor and Chris E. Kuyatt; Guidelines for Evaluating and Expressing the Uncertainty of NIST Measurement Result, National Institute of Standards and Tecnhology, 1994. ISBN: online!
John Wulff; The structure and properties of materials. ISBN: 0-471-61265-0 Vol. 1

Comments from the literature

All experimental work is accompanied by a laboratory guide, which will be made available on time through the UC Moodle page.

Teaching methods and learning activities

Work Model
Students work in groups of 2, and carry out laboratory activities under the supervision of teachers.

  • The semester includes a total of 12 sessions, including:

    • laboratory practice;

    • data processing and analysis

  • Each practical laboratory session has duration of 4 hours , with an an intermediate break.

  • teachers will have support hours distributed throughout the week for discussion.




Physical sciences > Physics > Applied physics > Experimental physics

Evaluation Type

Distributed evaluation without final exam

Assessment Components

designation Weight (%)
Trabalho escrito 50,00
Trabalho laboratorial 50,00
Total: 100,00

Amount of time allocated to each course unit

designation Time (hours)
Estudo autónomo 40,00
Trabalho escrito 40,00
Trabalho laboratorial 48,00
Trabalho de investigação 34,00
Total: 162,00

Eligibility for exams

To obtain "frequencia" (attendance) at the Course, the student must fulfill the following requirements:

  • prepare in advance (to class) and carry out at least 2/3 of the planned laboratory activities

  • attain a minimum mean of 50% on the evaluation of the  two submitted scientific reports 

  • attain a positive evaluation of the lab logbook. 

Calculation formula of final grade

To calculate the final classification, four evaluation elements will be taken into account with the following weights:

  • Logbook =35%

  • Quality of the 2 scientific reports = 35%

  • Final test = 20%

  • Discussion in working groups=10%

In the Registration Book, the student must sequentially record all relevant information of all the work developed in this Course Unit, either during class, or during working hours outside of classroom classes, namely the preparation of the experimental activity, the recording of data obtained , all the observations made and analysis of the results and respective conclusions.

The evaluation of the student's logbook considers two aspects:

  1. preparation of the laboratory work to be carried out (what are you going to do? What is the foundation? What are the principles, assemblies and equipment?);

  2. treatment and critical analysis of the results of the previous laboratory session;

The scientific reports to be prepared will be chosen by the professors, and must be delivered in digital format (pdf) within two weeks after carrying out the work in the laboratory.

Discussion groups will be formed around each of the experimental works. By the end of the semester, these groups must present a document resulting from the reflection on the results obtained by them in this work, and each group must present a global conclusion validated for the objectives of the proposed work.

The test will take place at the end of the semester, on a date to be announced at the start of classes.

Special assessment (TE, DA, ...)

Since all assessment components require laboratory work, it is recommended that all students in this situation contact the teacher in order to make the practical component possible in a flexible schedule, using the time of attendance.

Classification improvement

Upon submission of the first report, students will receive information and suggestions for its improvement. With this information, they will have the opportunity to submit the first report for re-evaluation (within deadlines set at the start of the UC).

Given the experimental nature of the course, the final grade can only be improved in the following school year, pursuant to Article 12 (2) (b) of the FCUP “Student Assessment to the course unit. This registration is made at the beginning of the school year and is counted in the maximum credits to which the student can enroll.


The juri of the UC is composed by: 
Carla Susana Santana Carmelo Rosa
André Miguel Trindade Pereira
José Luís Campos de Oliveira Santos
Recommend this page Top
Copyright 1996-2021 © Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade do Porto  I Terms and Conditions  I Acessibility  I Index A-Z  I Guest Book
Page created on: 2021-10-24 at 07:28:40