129 research outputs found

    Facilitating Quantum Leaps: Reflections on How to Promote Active Student Learning in a Physics Classroom

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    Understanding Current Signals Induced by Drifting Electrons

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    Consider an electron drifting in a gas toward a collection electrode. A common misconception is that the electron produces a detectable signal only upon arrival at the electrode. In fact, the situation is quite the opposite. The electron induces a detectable current in the electrode as soon as it starts moving through the gas. This induced current vanishes when the electron arrives at the plate. To illustrate this phenomenon experimentally, we use a gas-filled parallel plate ionization chamber and a collimated 241^{241}Am alpha source, which produces a track of a fixed number of ionization electrons at a constant distance from the collection electrode. We find that the detected signal from the ionization chamber grows with the electron drift distance, as predicted by the model of charge induction, and in conflict with the idea that electrons are detectable upon arrival at the collection plate.Comment: 21 pages, 12 figure

    The First Lunar Ranging Constraints on Gravity Sector SME Parameters

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    We present the first constraints on pure-gravity sector Standard-Model Extension (SME) parameters using Lunar Laser Ranging (LLR). LLR measures the round trip travel time of light between the Earth and the Moon. With 34+ years of LLR data, we have constrained six independent linear combinations of SME parameters at the level of 10βˆ’610^{-6} to 10βˆ’1110^{-11}. There is no evidence for Lorentz violation in the LLR dataset.Comment: 7 pages, presented at the Fourth Meeting on CPT and Lorentz Symmetry, Bloomington, Indiana, August 200

    Updates from the Dark Matter Time Projection Chamber Group (DMTPC)

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    The Dark Matter Time Projection Chamber (DMTPC) collaboration has developed a series of gas-based detectors with the goal of detecting the directional anisotropy of dark-matter-induced nuclear recoils. Here, we report on recent progress from the DMPTC group, focusing on the surface operation of the 4shooter detector

    Gain Stabilization of a Submillimeter SIS Heterodyne Receiver

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    We have designed a system to stabilize the gain of a submillimeter heterodyne receiver against thermal fluctuations of the mixing element. In the most sensitive heterodyne receivers, the mixer is usually cooled to 4 K using a closed-cycle cryocooler, which can introduce ~1% fluctuations in the physical temperature of the receiver components. We compensate for the resulting mixer conversion gain fluctuations by monitoring the physical temperature of the mixer and adjusting the gain of the intermediate frequency (IF) amplifier that immediately follows the mixer. This IF power stabilization scheme, developed for use at the Submillimeter Array (SMA), a submillimeter interferometer telescope on Mauna Kea in Hawaii, routinely achieves a receiver gain stability of 1 part in 6,000 (rms to mean). This is an order of magnitude improvement over the typical uncorrected stability of 1 part in a few hundred. Our gain stabilization scheme is a useful addition to SIS heterodyne receivers that are cooled using closed-cycle cryocoolers in which the 4 K temperature fluctuations tend to be the leading cause of IF power fluctuations.Comment: 7 pages, 6 figures accepted to IEEE Transactions on Microwave Theory and Technique

    Dark Matter Time Projection Chamber: Recent R&D Results

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    The Dark Matter Time Projection Chamber collaboration recently reported a dark matter limit obtained with a 10 liter time projection chamber filled with CF4 gas. The 10 liter detector was capable of 2D tracking (perpendicular to the drift direction) and 2D fiducialization, and only used information from two CCD cameras when identifying tracks and rejecting backgrounds. Since that time, the collaboration has explored the potential benefits of photomultiplier tube and electronic charge readout to achieve 3D tracking, and particle identification for background rejection. The latest results of this effort is described here

    Testing for Lorentz Violation: Constraints on Standard-Model-Extension Parameters via Lunar Laser Ranging

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    We present constraints on violations of Lorentz invariance based on archival lunar laser-ranging (LLR) data. LLR measures the Earth-Moon separation by timing the round-trip travel of light between the two bodies and is currently accurate to the equivalent of a few centimeters (parts in 1011 of the total distance). By analyzing this LLR data under the standard-model extension (SME) framework, we derived six observational constraints on dimensionless SME parameters that describe potential Lorentz violation. We found no evidence for Lorentz violation at the 10-6 to 10-11 level in these parameters. This work constitutes the first LLR constraints on SME parameters

    Testing for Lorentz Violation: Constraints on Standard-Model-Extension Parameters via Lunar Laser Ranging

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    We present constraints on violations of Lorentz invariance based on archival lunar laser-ranging (LLR) data. LLR measures the Earth-Moon separation by timing the round-trip travel of light between the two bodies and is currently accurate to the equivalent of a few centimeters (parts in 1011 of the total distance). By analyzing this LLR data under the standard-model extension (SME) framework, we derived six observational constraints on dimensionless SME parameters that describe potential Lorentz violation. We found no evidence for Lorentz violation at the 10-6 to 10-11 level in these parameters. This work constitutes the first LLR constraints on SME parameters

    APOLLO clock performance and normal point corrections

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    The Apache Point Observatory Lunar Laser-ranging Operation (APOLLO) has produced a large volume of high-quality lunar laser ranging (LLR) data since it began operating in 2006. For most of this period, APOLLO has relied on a GPS-disciplined, high-stability quartz oscillator as its frequency and time standard. The recent addition of a cesium clock as part of a timing calibration system initiated a comparison campaign between the two clocks. This has allowed correction of APOLLO range measurements--called normal points--during the overlap period, but also revealed a mechanism to correct for systematic range offsets due to clock errors in historical APOLLO data. Drift of the GPS clock on ~1000 s timescales contributed typically 2.5 mm of range error to APOLLO measurements, and we find that this may be reduced to ~1.6 mm on average. We present here a characterization of APOLLO clock errors, the method by which we correct historical data, and the resulting statistics
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