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Applied Physics (APh) Undergraduate Courses (2023-24)

APh/Ph 112 ab. Noise and Stochastic Resonance. 9 units (3-0-6): second term. Prerequisites: Ph 12 abc, ACM 95/100 ab and Ph 106 abc, equivalent background, or instructor's permission. The presence of noise in experimental systems is often regarded as a nuisance since it diminishes the signal to noise ratio thereby obfuscating weak signals or patterns. From a theoretical perspective, noise is also problematic since its influence cannot be elicited from deterministic equations but requires stochastic-based modeling which incorporates various types of noise and correlation functions. In general, extraction of embedded information requires that a threshold be overcome in order to outweigh concealment by noise. However, even below threshold, it has been demonstrated in numerous systems that external forcing coupled with noise can actually boost very weak signatures beyond threshold by a phenomenon known as stochastic resonance. Although it was originally demonstrated in nonlinear systems, more recent studies have revealed this phenomenon can occur in linear systems subject, for example, to color-based noise. Techniques for optimizing stochastic resonance are now revolutionizing modeling and measurement theory in many fields ranging from nonlinear optics and electrical systems to condensed matter physics, neurophysiology, hydrodynamics, climate research and even finance. This course will be conducted in survey and seminar style and is expected to appeal to theorists and experimentalists alike. Review of the current literature will be complimented by background readings and lectures on statistical physics and stochastic processes as needed. Part b not offered 2023-24. Instructor: Troian.
Ph/APh/EE 118 c. Physics of Measurement: Moonbounce and Beyond - Microwave Scattering for Communications and Metrology. 9 units (3-0-6): third term. Prerequisites: Ph 118a, and a course in microwave physics and engineering (e.g., Ph 118b, EE 153, or equivalent), or permission from the instructor. In 1944, the possibility of bouncing radio waves off the moon was first discovered inadvertently. Since then, radio wave echoes have been recorded from other planets, asteroids, tropospheric disturbances, and airplanes aloft. Microwave scattering provides a rich platform enabling exploration of long-range microwave communications, remote sensing, and interesting astrophysical measurements. This class will cover the physics of microwave propagation and scattering, low-earth orbit (LEO) satellite trajectories and communications, moonbounce, and the principles of ultrasensitive instrumentation - for both transmitting and receiving - enabling remote sensing with microwaves. One formal lecture per week will cover the fundamentals. The second weekly class meeting will be an extended hands-on workshop - starting mid-afternoon and going on into the evening - to assemble all aspects of a high-power microwave scattering system operating at 23cm. Students will set up tracking software for satellites and planetary objects, assemble an ultrasensitive software-defined radio (SDR) system, implement 1kW microwave power amplification at 23cm, and explore antenna and feed horn theory and practice. Also implemented will be powerful weak signal communications methods pioneered by Prof. Joe Taylor (Physics, Princeton) enabling ultraweak signal extraction through GPS synchronization of remote sources and receivers. We will employ Caltech's fantastic resource for this project - a 6-meter diameter microwave dish atop Moore Laboratory. Prospective students are encouraged to obtain an FCC Technician license (or higher) prior to spring term to permit their operation of the system. For information see: Instructor: Roukes.
Ph/APh/EE/BE 118 ab. Physics of Measurement. 9 units (3-0-6): second term. Prerequisites: Ph 127, APh 105, or equivalent, or permission from instructor. This course explores the fundamental underpinnings of experimental measurements from the perspectives of information, noise, coupling, responsivity, and backaction. Its overarching goal is to enable students to develop intuition about a diversity of real measurement systems and the means to critically evaluate them. This involves developing a standard framework for estimating the ultimate and practical limits to information that can be extracted from a real measurement system. Topics will include the fundamental nature of information and signals, physical signal transduction and responsivity, the physical origin of noise processes, modulation, frequency conversion, synchronous detection, signal-sampling techniques, digitization, signal transforms, spectral analyses, and correlation methods. The first term will cover the essential underpinnings, while second-term topics will vary year-by-year according to interest. Among possible Ph118 b topics are: high frequency, microwave, and fast time-domain measurements; biological interfaces and biosensing; the physics of functional brain imaging; and quantum measurement. Instructor: Roukes.
Ph/APh 137 abc. Atoms and Photons. 9 units (3-0-6): first, second terms. Prerequisites: Ph 125 ab or equivalent, or instructor's permission. This course will provide an introduction to the interaction of atomic systems with photons. Each term can be taken independent of each other. The main emphasis is on laying the foundation for understanding current research that utilizes cold atoms and quantized light fields. First term: resonance phenomena, atomic structure, and the semi-classical interaction of atoms with static and oscillating electromagnetic fields. Techniques such as laser cooling/trapping, coherent manipulation and control of atomic systems. Second term: quantization of light fields, quantized light matter interaction, open system dynamics, entanglement, master equations, quantum jump formalism. Applications to cavity QED, optical lattices, and Rydberg arrays. Instructors: Hutzler, Endres.
APh/Ph 138 ab. Quantum Hardware and Techniques. 9 units (3-0-6): third term, a and b offered in alternating years. Prerequisites: Ph 125 abc or Ph 127 ab or Ph 137 ab or instructor's permission. This class covers multiple quantum technology platforms and related theoretical techniques, and will provide students with broad knowledge in quantum science and engineering. It will be split into modules covering various topics including solid state quantum bits, topological quantum matter, trapped atoms and ions, applications of near-term quantum computers, superconducting qubits. Topics will alternate from year to year. Instructors: Faraon, Minnich.
APh/Ph/MS 152. Fundamentals of Fluid Flow in Small Scale Systems. 9 units (3-0-6): second term. Prerequisites: ACM 95/100 ab or equivalent. Research efforts in many areas of applied science and engineering are increasingly focused on microsystems involving active or passive fluid flow confined to 1D, 2D or 3D platforms. Intrinsically large ratios of surface to volume can incur unusual surface forces and boundary effects essential to operation of microdevices for applications such as optofluidics, bioengineering, green energy harvesting and nanofilm lithography. This course offers a concise treatment of the fundamentals of fluidic behavior in small scale systems. Examples will be drawn from pulsatile, oscillatory and capillary flows, active and passive spreading of liquid dots and films, thermocapillary and electrowetting systems, and instabilities leading to self-sustaining patterns. Students must have working knowledge of vector calculus, ODEs, basic PDEs, and complex variables. Not offered 2023-24. Instructor: Troian.
APh/Ph/Ae/MS 153. Fundamentals of Energy and Mass Transport in Small Scale Systems. 9 units (3-0-6): third term. Prerequisites: ACM 95/100 ab or equivalent. The design of instrumentation for cooling, sensing or measurement in microsystems requires special knowledge of the evolution and propagation of thermal and concentration gradients in confined geometries, which ultimately control the degree of maximum energy and mass exchange. A significant challenge facing the microelectronics industry, for example, is mitigation of hot spots in densely packed high power chips for artificial intelligence to prevent thermal runaway. This course offers a concise treatment of the fundamentals of mass and energy transport by examining steady and unsteady diffusive and convective processes in small confined systems. Contrasts with macroscale behavior caused by the effects of small scale confinement and reduced dimensionality will be examined. Sample problems will be drawn from systems in applied physics, material science, electrical and bioengineering. Students must have working knowledge of vector calculus, ODEs, basic PDEs, and complex variables. Instructor: Troian.