Physics and Astronomy
Department Chair:
Stephen FitzGerald

Administrative Assistant:
Diane Doman

Department Email:

Phone: (440) 775-8330
Fax: (440) 775-6379

Wright Laboratory of Physics
110 N. Professor St.
Oberlin, OH, 44074

Tour of Wright Basement

Tour of Wright Basement

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Student Shop

The Student Shop is adjacent to the Professional Shop. Students with proper training and faculty may use this shop for small metal and wood projects or repairs. The shop is stocked with all kinds of hand tools and a few basic power tools, including a grinder, drill press, band saw, electric sander and metal lathe.

Physics 314 includes a module in which students learn basic machining techniques. Shop training is also available as a Winter Term Project.

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Professional Machine Shop

The Machine Shop is staffed by machinist Bill Marton. The shop has the capability to build anything out of metal or wood. Machines include two lathes, band saw, end mill, various drill presses, sheet metal break, bending machine, grinder, sander, welding and soldering.

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Student Project Shop

The student projects shop is used by students in the Advanced Laboratory course as well as students conducting research. The lab contains a 2 in. x 2 in. solar simulator, a monochromator system set up to measure solar cell quantum efficiency, and a printed circuit board protyping machine.

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Electronics Shop

This is the office of Bill Mohler, the science division's electronics specialist.

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X-Ray Diffraction Laboratory

The X-Ray Lab holds a Rigaku powder x-ray diffractometer, purchased through a joint chemistry-physics grant from the National Science Foundation. The equipment and related crystallography software are used in inorganic chemistry, intermediate and advanced physics labs, and in mineralogy as well as in a variety of student-faculty research projects.

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Electronic Measurement Laboratory

The Electronic Measurement Laboratory the research lab of John Scofield. The lab contains the usual assortment of cabinets, counter space, and a laboratory sink. The main feature of the lab is the 10 ft. x 10 ft. x 10 ft. RF-shielded enclosure. This room-within-a-room provides for a low-noise measurement environment.

The lab is presently set up to perform electrical measurements for characterizing solar cells, specifically light and dark current-voltage (I-V) characteristics and admittance measurements. Measurement systems include a home-made solar simulator and probe station, an HP-3562A dynamic signal analyzer, an HP-3325B frequency synthesizer, Keithley 199 dmm/scanner, an HP-4140B picoammeter/voltage source, and a Tektronix storage scope. Instruments are controlled by one of several Intel-based personal computers using the GPIB.

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Vacuum Laboratory

The Vacuum Lab is the home of three diffusion-pumped vacuum stations: 1) A Cooke thermal evaporator with an 18 in. glass bell jar, 2) a Sloan dual-head, dc-magnetron sputter system with an 18-in stainless steel bell jar, and 3) an MRC co-evaporation system (2 e-guns and 2 thermal boats) built around a 24-in. stainless steel bell jar.  All three systems are located underneath hood canopies which are connected to an exhaust system. The Vacuum Lab houses an MBraun Unilab argon-filled glovebox for air sensitive sample handling. There is also a Schlenk line and a Fisher vacuum oven.

This lab is used by students in the Intermediate (Phys 314) and Advanced Laboratory (Phys 414) courses as well as to support faculty and student research.

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Wet Chemistry Laboratory

The Wet Chemistry Lab is sandwiched between the Intermediate/Advanced Lab and the Vacuum Lab. It contains a variety of hoods and lab benches which are mainly used for sample preparation. The room contains both organic solvent and acid storage cabinets, a standard laboratory hood/sink, two exhausted laminar flow hoods, one with a wet and the other with dry bench, and a laminar flow hood without exhaust.

The lab includes a muffle oven, a tube furnace, DI water, compressed air, nitrogen gas, and standard safety features such as a shower and eye wash. The room also contains yellow lights and window tint for use with photolithography.

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Computational Astrophysics Laboratory

The Computational Astrophysics Lab is the home of Rob Owen's research group. Students in this lab explore a wide range of topics including gravitation theory, black hole astrophysics, and gravitational-wave source modeling, often using computational methods

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Intermediate/Advanced Laboratory

The Intermediate/Advanced Teaching Lab is the main meeting room for the two upper-level laboratory courses. The room contains two "islands" in the middle of the room as well as laboratory benches and cabinets around its perimeter. The room is adjacent and has immediate access to the Wet Chem, Radiation, and Laser Labs.

Several experimental setups are located in this laboratory. These include an NMR experiment, a Hall effect setup, a closed-cycle helium refrigerator for performing experiments in the range 7-300K, and a setup for measuring the Johnson noise of a resistor.

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Laser Laboratory

The Laser Lab is a small room connected to the Intermediate/Advanced teaching lab. The lab is used both for teaching these courses and also for student research projects. It contains an optical table mounted on air shock absorbers for eliminating the effect of building vibrations.

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Radiation Laboratory

The Radiation Laboratory houses all of our radioactive materials. The lab is located off of the southeast corner of the Intermediate/Advanced Teaching Lab and is connected to it. The lab contains a lead-lined radioactive materials storage cabinet and a variety of lead bricks which may be rearranged for shielding a particular experiment.

The Radiation Lab contains laboratory benches and tables and electronics for several experiments. The two experiments regularly conducted here are the Mossbauer experiment and an experiment to measure the gamma-ray spectrum of Co-60.

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Infrared Spectroscopy Laboratory

This laboratory is the research home of Stephen Fitzgerald. His experimental research has specialized in understanding the infrared properties of materials. In particular he has looked at the IR properties of trapped H2 in carbon 60 and in metal-organic frameworks.

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Magnetic Characterization Laboratory

The Magnetic Characterization Laboratory is the research lab of Yumi Ijiri. The lab holds a Lakeshore 7307 vibrating sample magnetometer, purchased through a grant from the National Science Foundation. The magnetometer is capable of magnetic measurements in fields from 0 to 2 T and in temperatures from 4 to 300 K. Through a set of vector coils, measurements of magnetic anisotropy and inhomogeneities can also be made.

The room also houses a Centorr 5SA single arc furnace for the high temperature synthesis (2000-3000 0C) of intermetallic alloys under flowing Argon.