Session S34c (Tuesday, 2pm, Wartik 105)

P535: Learning basic electronics by building a homemade photometer

Rob McClain (University of Wisconsin – Madison, USA)

The impact of electronics based technologies on our society is incredible.  For example, a modern smart phone is a highly sophisticated electronic system that anyone can use with little or no understanding of how it works.  In addition to their smart phones, chemists often use chemical analysis instruments that are equally complex.  We want students to realize that these instruments are fundamentally based on chemistry, light, optics, and electronics, regardless of how complex they appear.  In this talk, I will describe a laboratory activity where students build their own photometer with a light emitting diode (LED) source and photodiode (PD) detector.  They interface the photometer to a computer using an analog to digital converter (ADC) and write their own acquisition software with LabView.  I will also comment on why we feel this laboratory activity is a valuable learning experience for students.


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