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Abstract Title: On Ramp: Improving graduate students' understanding of the lock-in amplifier
Abstract: A lock-in amplifier is a powerful and versatile instrument which is used frequently in condensed matter physics research. However, many students struggle with the basics of a lock-in amplifier and they have difficulty in interpreting the data obtained with this device in diverse applications. To improve students' understanding, we are developing an "On-Ramp" tutorial based on physics education research which makes use of a computer simulation of a lock-in amplifier. During the development of the tutorial we interviewed several faculty members and graduate students. The tutorial is based on a field-tested approach in which students realize their difficulties after predicting the outcome of experiments that use a lock-in amplifier; students can check their predictions using simulations. The tutorial then guides students toward a coherent understanding of the basics of a lock-in amplifier. In this talk the development and assessment process will be discussed. Supported by the National Science Foundation.
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster Presentation

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Seth DeVore
University of Pittsburgh Department of Physics and Astronomy
and Co-Presenter(s)
Alexandre Gauthier, Jeremy Levy, Chandralekha Singh