Thursday, November 10, 2005

Some real science at last

For those of you who think I'm just pissing around here (does that include me? erm...), I just got an ac calorimetry setup working for the first time (if that means anything to you). I'll spare you the details of what we were measuring, but some of the technical thingummies of getting the damn thing going were rather amusing, for me at least to try figuring them out

We have to measure a tiny tiny signal at a specific frequency, and so any source of noise is very annoying. It turned out that the type of adhesive tape being used to protect the wires was picking up static and turning in to a huge antenna, also making a very good capacitor due to its high dielectric constant! Tracking that down was no end of fun.

Also there seemed to be some weird but very regular modulation of the signal with a period of about 10 minutes. Turns out it was the air conditioning kicking in as the temperature in the room was warmed up by all the pumps, lasers etc.

OK not very sublime stuff, but it's little things like that that make the job so much fun.

No comments:

/* Google Analytics */