Compass Needle Oscillations

Picture reveals oscillations of the compass needle within the discipline of a fridge magnet. Credit score: Barsukov lab, UC Riverside

College of California, Riverside, physics college students design a table-top experiment for the classroom.

Physicists at College of California, Riverside, have designed an experiment to elucidate the idea of magnetic resonance. The undertaking was carried out by undergraduate college students in collaboration with native highschool lecturers.

A flexible approach employed in chemistry, physics, and supplies analysis, magnetic resonance describes a resonant excitation of electron or atomic nuclei spins residing in a magnetic discipline by technique of electromagnetic waves. Magnetic resonance additionally supplies the premise for magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI — the central noninvasive instrument in diagnostic drugs and medical analysis.

Magnetic Resonance Experimental Setup

Picture reveals the experimental setup. Credit score: Barsukov lab, UC Riverside

“Two of my undergraduate students developed the demonstration experiment based on a compass, an object everybody can relate to,” mentioned Igor Barsukov, an assistant professor within the UC Riverside Division of Physics and Astronomy, who supervised the undertaking. 

Barsukov defined the compass is positioned in the course of a wire coil that’s fed with a small alternating voltage. A fridge magnet within the neighborhood of the compass aligns its needle. When the fridge magnet is introduced nearer to the compass, the needle begins to oscillate at a “sweet spot.” When the magnet is moved away from the candy spot, the oscillation stops. This oscillation corresponds to magnetic resonance of the compass needle within the magnetic discipline of the fridge magnet.

“During outreach events for the broader public, people often share with us their concerns about MRI procedures they need to undergo in a hospital,” Barsukov mentioned. “They associate it with radiation. We wanted to design a hands-on, table-top experiment to alleviate their concerns and to provide a visual explanation for the underlying physics.”

Barsukov’s group initiated a collaboration with the Physics Instructor Academy, a UCR-based program offering coaching for native highschool lecturers, to make sure it is usually appropriate for a high-school classroom. 

David Nelson and Igor Barsukov

Igor Barsukov (proper) is seen right here with coauthor David Nelson, an undergraduate pupil in Barsukov’s lab at UC Riverside. Credit score: Barsukov lab, UC Riverside

“Close interaction with the teachers changed our perspective on what a good demonstration experiment aimed at improving scientific literacy should be,” Barsukov mentioned. “We decided to employ 3D-printing techniques for the experimental setup and smartphone-based voltage generators. It reduces the time burden for instructors and makes the presentation more accessible and appealing to students.” 

The project was recently published in The Physics Instructor and offered in early November 2019 within the instructional part of Magnetism and Magnetic Supplies, a significant convention in magnetism analysis. 

“The project turned out to be truly synergistic,” Barsukov mentioned. “We learned a lot from the high school teachers we worked with and were able to design an exciting tool for outreach, which I can also use in my classes at UCR. Working on this project was a great lab experience for my students.”

Reference: “Exploring Magnetic Resonance with a Compass” by Esther Cookson, David Nelson, Michael Anderson, Daniel L. McKinney and Igor Barsukov, 26 November 2019, The Physics Instructor.
DOI: 10.1119/1.5135797

Barsukov and his college students have been joined within the undertaking by Daniel L. McKinney, a neighborhood highschool trainer; and Michael Anderson, an affiliate professor of physics schooling at UC Riverside.

The work was funded by the Nationwide Science Basis. The Physics Instructor Academy is supported by the California Science Venture.



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