University of Surrey - Guildford

Registry > Module Catalogue
View Module List by A.O.U. and Level  Alphabetical Module Code List  Alphabetical Module Title List  Alphabetical Old Short Name List  View Menu 
2010/1 Module Catalogue
Module Provider: Physics Short Name: PH2M-PST
Level: HE2 Module Co-ordinator: SELLIN PJ Prof (Physics)
Number of credits: 30 Number of ECTS credits: 15
Module Availability

Module Availability:

Autumn and Spring Semester (Y)

Assessment Pattern

Assessment Pattern


Unit(s) of Assessment



Weighting Towards Module Mark( %)


Electromagnetic Waves Examination






Radiation Detection and Measurement Examination






Exploring the Solar System Examination












Laboratory (Physics/PST)



Note:  Physics Students do Physics Laboratory, PST students do PST Laboratory






Qualifying Condition(s): 



Physics programme regulations refer.





Assessment Schedule



Examination Paper 4 (May):



Answer 1 from 2 questions on Electromagnetic Waves



Answer 1 from 2 questions on Radiation Det. And Measurement



Answer 2 from 3 questions on Exploring the Solar System






Exploring the Solar System computer simulation 1



Exploring the Solar System computer simulation 2



Note: the two Computer Simulation marks are equally weighted






Laboratory Diary aggregate (17%)



Laboratory Report (8%)



Laboratory Oral (8%)



Note: the weight of each Laboratory mark to the total module mark is indicated



Module Overview

Electromagnetic Waves:



This course that provides a full treatment of electromagnetism theory and its applications to a range of traditional applications and problems.





Radiation Detection and Measurement:



The component introduces the physical principles involved with the detection of ionising radiations with reference to basic detectors and detection systems and quantitative analysis.





Exploring the Solar System:



A discussion of the formation, character and development of the planets in our Solar System, including review of some of the main space missions to the planets.





Experimentation (PST):



A six half-day laboratory consisting of a series of two-week experiments designed to give a varied experience of general physics/satellite technology phenomena.




Electromagnetic Waves and Radiation Detection and Measurement:











Exploring the Solar System:



PH1 - Introduction to Astrodynamics and Space Science





Experimentation (PST):






Module Aims

Electromagnetic Waves:



To provide competence in basic electromagnetic theory and problem solving. Solution problems involving magnetic circuits.  To establish the four integral Maxwell's equations which are of fundamental importance in physics. Combine these to investigate electromagnetic wave propagation.





Radiation Detection and Measurement:



The component aims to support the practical use of radiation detectors and to give a grounding for the understanding of more complex detection systems.





Exploring the Solar System:



To familiarise students with the techniques and devices needed for the exploration of space, and in particular, for the investigation of solar system bodies from Earth and by spacecraft. This module is an introduction to the practical implementation and design of spacecraft instrumentation for exploring the solar system.





Experimentation (PST):



To build on the foundation of earlier practical classes and emphasize the motivations for performing experiments both to verify theory and to improve understanding.  The importance of keeping a laboratory notebook (diary) and the clear presentation of results will be stressed.



Learning Outcomes

Electromagnetic Waves:



Students should be able to tackle problems involving magnetic circuits, understand and apply Maxwell’s equations, derive electromagnetic wave equation and apply to TEM waves.





Radiation Detection and Measurement:



The student should be able to explain and show a knowledge of the underlying principles of radiation detection and measurement including the fundamental physics of radiation interactions.  The student will gain an understanding of the associated detector equipment described in this and related courses.





Exploring the Solar System:



By the end of this component, the student should have an appreciation of the basic structure and contents of the solar system, together with knowledge of the primary spacecraft missions that have explored the planets - including their instrumentation and principal results, and how these, together with observations of other young stars, supports the Solar Nebular Theory of the formation of the solar system. The student should be able to use this knowledge to calculate physical properties of a planet based on fundamental physical principles. The assignments enable the student to demonstrate the ability to quantitatively analyse and interpret astronomical data using realistic computer simulations.





Experimentation (PST):



On successful completion you will be able to perform an experiment of intermediate difficulty, either involving practical or computational skills, by following written instruction. You will be able to keep a comprehensive diary of the activity, recording results in a form useful to others, and to complete a full but selective report, based on the diary, in the style of a scientific paper. The specific practical skills gained will vary according to the choice of the experiments. 



Module Content

Electromagnetic Waves:



This course investigates further the topics of magnetism and electromagnetic waves.





Diamagnets, Paramagnets, Ferromagnetics, Magnetisation M, Magnetisation current, Magnetic intensity H, Magnetic permeability, Magnetic susceptibility, Magnetic circuits, Reluctance, Hysteresis, Permanent magnets, Boundary conditions for B and H.





Displacement current, fourth Maxwell equation, review of vector analysis, Electromagnetic Waves, Speed, Refractive index, Attenuation, Skin depth, Uniform Plane waves, Linear Polarisation, Energy density and Power of Waves, Waves at Boundaries - reflection & refraction.





Fresnel's equations, Brewster angle, Total Internal reflection.





Radiation Detection and Measurement:



·         Types of Radiation: general characteristics of alphas, betas, gamma- and X-rays, and neutrons.  Typical radioactive sources and methods of production.  Energy units (keV, MeV) and Q-values.



·         Interactions of Radiation with Matter: Definitions of suitable units: activity, exposure, absorbed dose, dose equivalent.  Interactions with matter of heavy charged particles, electrons, photons and neutrons.  Selection of suitable shielding materials.



·         Radiation Detector Properties and Measurements: covering the basic mechanisms of charge generation and transport in detectors, pulse processing using typical readout electronics, energy resolution and contributions to detector noise.



·         An overview of types of Radiation Detector:



i.         Gas Detectors: Ionisation processes, drift velocity and mobility.  Ionisation chambers, Avalanche.Proportional counters and Geiger-Muller Tubes.



ii.       Scintillation Detectors: principles of the Photo-Multiplier tube, Organic scintillators (liquid, plastic) and Inorganic scintillators (NaI(Tl), BGO).



  1. Semiconductor Detectors: Introduction to semiconductor properties: the band gap, reverse-biased junction and depletion regions.  X-ray spectroscopy with planar Si detectors with Si(Li) and Ge detectors, Alpha particle spectroscopy with planar Si detectors.  New high-Z semiconductors (GaAs, CdZnTe) for X-ray detection.




Exploring the Solar System:



Overview of the Solar System: Familiarity with the basic properties of the major planets orbiting the Sun and with the minor bodies of the Solar System. Properties of planetary orbits. Sidereal and Synodic Periods. Escape Velocity. Spin-orbit coupling (resonance). Properties of Planets: Planetary surfaces and interiors; cratering record – significance for dating planetary surfaces; evidence for geological activity; differentiation of material; magnetic fields. Atmospheres: composition, Maxwellian distribution of molecular, retention. Planetary temperatures. Moons and Rings. Differential gravitational forces (tides).



Formation of the Solar System: Solar Nebula Theory. Star formation; T-Tauri phase. Circumstellar discs. Distribution of angular momentum. Evaporation and condensation of dust. The “ice-line”. Formation of planetesimals and planets. The Oort cloud and Kuiper belt.



 Exploration of the Moon: Early Pioneer and Ranger missions; Lunar Orbiter – photographic system, discovery of “mascons” – suggested mechanism for their creation; the Surveyor programme – soil analysis. Lunik and Luna programmes: use of NaI γ-ray spectrometer. Apollo missions – age and composition of the surface – maria and highlands.



Exploration of the Terrestrial Planets (Mercury, Venus, Mars): Viewing geometry from Earth: - interior and superior planets, conjunctions, Mercury: Mariner results – temperatures, density, magnetic field, H/He atmosphere, orbital resonance. Cratered nature of the surface – implications for age; similarities and differences with respect to the Moon. Caloris basin. Venus: Venera results – atmospheric composition, temperature and pressure. Pioneer Venus and Magellan radar images; Interpretation of Venus’ surface (young) – suggested mechanism for re-surfacing; Nature of impact craters, evidence for volcanism. Mars: Mariner, Viking, and rover results; volcanoes, ice-caps, evidence for running water.



Exploration of the Jovian Planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune): Voyager and Galileo mission results. Jupiter: atmospheric composition, belts and zones, the Great Red Spot; Radiation belt; rings. Galilean moons: Io, Europa,Ganymede, Callisto. Saturn: atmosphere, ring structure, composition. Titan (atmosphere). Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. Current missions to the outer planets: New Horizons.





Experimentation (PST):



You will perform a selection of five general physics/satellite technology experiments of two sessions each.  You will produce 10 lab diary entries, a full report on one experiment, and make an oral presentation on one experiment.  You will receive detailed marking and feedback on how to improve the usefulness of these, to yourself and others.  Typical experiments include: Optical fibres, Vibration interferometry, Chaos, Chromatic resolving power of a spectrometer, Laser speckle, optical image processing, supernova burst decay, etc.



Methods of Teaching/Learning

Electromagnetic Waves:



15 hours of lectures and tutorial periods.





Radiation Detection and Measurement:



12 hours of lecture classes.





Exploring the Solar System:



24 hours of lectures and astronomical computer simulation classes.





Experimentation (PST):



12 four-hour laboratory sessions.



Selected Texts/Journals

Electromagnetic Waves:



i.                Grant & Philips, Electromagnetism, Wiley.



ii.              Halliday, Resnick and Walker , Fundamentals of Physics, [Extended Fifth Edition], Wiley.





Radiation Detection and Measurement:



i.                G F Knoll, Radiation Detection and Measurement, Wiley, 1989.





Exploring the Solar System:



Required Reading :



i.                Kaufmann & Freedman, Universe (8th ed.), 2007, W H Freeman & Co.



Recommended Reading :



i.                N McBride & I Gilmour (eds), An Introduction to the Solar System, 2004 0-521-54620-6 CUP/OU.



ii.              B W Jones, Discovering the Solar System, 1999, 0-471-98648-8      John Wiley & Sons





Experimentation (PST):



Required Reading :



i.                Laboratory instruction sheets provided.



ii.               Physics Laboratory Handbook: Level 1, Physics Department.



Recommended Reading :



Squires, Practical Physics, McGraw Hill.



Last Updated

21 July 2008.