Astro 250 Course Syllabus

Syllabus - Astro 250 Space Physics Laboratory 1 (non-credit – P/F)

Grading: Class participation (30%), Demo homework (30%), Project proposal (40%)
NOTE – The order and scheduling of some topics may change, depending on the ongoing work in the laboratory at the time.

Our class meets on Wednesdays and Fridays from 8:00 a.m. – to 9:45 a.m. at 171 Broadmead.

Please feel free to come by the lab and participate in ongoing activities any day of the week (typical lab hours are 8:00 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday). To learn what is happening on a given day, all are invited to attend the daily lab coordination meeting, which runs from 8:00 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. on weekdays outside of class. In addition, all are welcome to join us for our science + pizza lunches on Fridays at noon.

Grading: Class participation (30%), Demo homework (30%), Project proposal (40%) Homework will be assigned every other week on Fridays and are due the following Wednesday before class.

The following training is required to participate in lab activities:
•    Princeton University Fundamentals of Laboratory Safety 1-5 and test (online)
Employee Learning Center(link is external)
•    Laboratory Safety Training (Instructor-led)
            Employee Learning Center(link is external)

Class 1 (Week 1):
Introduction to Space Physics Laboratory
•    Welcome to Space Physics at Princeton
•    Research overview
•    Course introduction with Q&A
•    Introductory tour of the lab
•    Students will participate in Flight calibration of two instruments
•    Carbon foils

Class 2 (Week 1):
Introduction to Ultra-high Vacuum Systems 1
•    Basic physics of vacuum systems; general Physics
•    Flow regimes, materials allowed (and not allowed) in a vacuum, outgassing
o    Basic design principles, cleaning & bakeout process
•    RGA demo

Class 3 (Week 2): 
Space Physics Laboratory-specific Safety
•    A detailed discussion of lab-specific safety topics, best safety practices/risk mitigation, and actions to take when issues arise

Class 4 (Week 2):
Introduction to Ultra-high Vacuum Systems 2
•    Basic physics of vacuum systems, Overview of Vacuum system hardware (CF & KF flanges, cryopumps, turbopumps, GV’s angle valves, etc.)
•    Leak-rate demo (Data analysis homework from the demo)
Homework #1 Assigned

Class 5 (Week 3):
Introduction to Ultra-high Vacuum Systems 3
•    Calibration facility processes
•    Pump-down
•    Back-to-atmosphere
Homework #1 Due before class

Class 6 (Week 3):
Particles in Electromagnetic Fields
•    Solar Wind, and Heliosphere
•    Helmholtz Coil Demonstration

Class 7 (Week 4):
Working in the Semi - Clean Room
•    Basic overview of NASA cleanliness standards/principles
•    Controlled stage and Inspection station demo

Class 8 (Week 4):
Working in the Clean Room
•    Walk-through of gowning and de-gowning
•    Particle counter-demonstration (data analysis homework from the demo)
o    Homework #2 Assigned

Class 9 (week 5):
Ultra-thin Carbon Foils
•    Ultra-thin carbon foils and their use in plasma instruments
•    Foil-floating demo in the classroom
Homework #2 Due before class

Class 10 (Week 5):
Ion Source Design and operation
-    Basic Physics of how the Ion Source & Wien Filter operate
-    Demo of Ion Source operation & mass selection

Class 11 (Week 6):
Plasma Beam Diagnostics
•    Basic Physics of how the MCP & Faraday cup operates
•    Demo of MCP

Class 12 (Week 6):
Communications, Monitoring
-    Lab subsystems and systems overview
-    LabView & database demos

Class 13 (Week 7):
Basic Laboratory Electronics 1
•    Connectors, Signals, and Data Acquisition
•    In-class challenge: gauge Communication

Class 14 (Week 7):
Basic Laboratory Electronics 2
•    Waveforms, detectors, and signal processing
•    CEM burn-in system demo with oscilloscope
Homework #3 Assigned

Class 15 (Week 8):
Absolute Beam Monitor
•    Overview of Absolute Beam Monitors
•    Absolute Beam Monitor Assembly in the Lab

Class 16 (Week 8):
How to Build and Test a Space Instrument
•    Introduction to the Solar Wind and Pickup Ion (SWAPI) Instrument on NASA’s IMAP Mission
•    Hands-on calibration on SWAPI’s calibration

Class 17 (Week 9):
Procedures, Testing & Calibration
•    SWAPI Calibration results
•    Hands-on participation in SWAPI Calibration
Homework derived from SWAPI data
Homework #4 Assigned

Class 18 (week 9):
Brainstorm Project Ideas
•    Review information learned from the course and brainstorm what is most applicable to this project

Class 19 (week 10):
Project Development 1 (Students Lead)
•    Identify scope/definition, identify tools and resources

Class 20 (week 10):
Project Development 1 (Students Lead)
•    Requirements, milestones, and schedule

Class 21 (week 12):  
Project Development 2 (Students Lead)

Class 22 (week 12):
Project Development 3 (Student Lead)
-    Q&A with Researchers

Class 23 (week 13):  
Project Development 4 (Student Lead)
•    TBD