Blackbody Radiation and the Ultraviolet Catastrophe - A Student Designed Undergraduate Physics Lab

Thumbnail Image
Powers-Luketic, Taylor
Moring, Mackenzie
Roper, Xander
Scholberg, Felix
Vanderwerff, Luke
The second-year physics curriculum at Queen’s University includes an introduction to quantum mechanics and highlights what classical mechanics fails to describe. This project aimed to design an appropriate second-year lab for Queen’s Physics, Engineering Physics and Astronomy Students accompanied by a complete lab manual, worksheet, python analysis code and a safety packet. Students will explore the classical theory of blackbody radiation and compare their results to their experimental data by measuring the intensity and wavelength of light emitted by an incandescent light bulb using a photodiode and Red Pitaya STEMLab. The project conducted the experiment and tested its feasibility and complexity. The results indicated that this project is a feasible and appropriate lab for second year students and highlights error analysis, instrument proficiency, as well as exploration of physical phenomena. The results yielded a clear relationship modelled by Planck’s law where intensity drops off with increasing wavelength, however, with an error of 150nm in wavelength, our peak wavelength of (340 ± 150) nm, predicts a temperature of (9000 ± 4000) K. A standard light bulb reaches approximately 2700K. Corrections will have to be made in order to account for the large error when being administered to second year students.
External DOI