Template PHYS2372

Electronics for Scientists Lab, PHYS 2371/2, Northeastern University, Fall 2015
Title of Lab Experiment
Robin Smith
Lab partner - James Monroe
September 16, 2015
The abstract contains a brief summary of one short paragraph with only 4 to 8 sentences. Basically it
gives an overview of: (1) specifically what you did; (2) what you found (including final and expected
values). This is your first selling point. If you don’t catch the reader’s attention here, they may not be
motivated to read the rest of your writing. Keep it simple.
Writing lab reports for your physics classes provides valuable experience, as you will eventually write
reports for your employers, submit grants to funding agencies, and submit papers for scientific journals.
Here are some very important, but simple ingredients to keep in mind when writing a report.
Try to separate in your mind the most important items from the less-important details. Readers don’t
want to spend the time figuring out what is important. For example, if you are measuring a resistance,
the voltage and current may not be the most important items to report, instead, report the resistance in
Keep an eye on the organization. Keep parts together that need to be together. For example, if you give
a long list of procedures, then a long list of results, the reader will have to go back and forth between
the sections. Use section and subsection headings where necessary.
The Introduction should contain 1 paragraph only. Briefly state the physics underlying the experiment
(what is being tested and why).
List equipment components (model numbers and brief specifications).
Example: The apparatus consisted of the following.
 Variable DC power supply (12 or 15 V, 0.5 A)
 2 DMMs
 Resistors (various, 10 Ω/1 W)
 Capacitors (10-100 μF)
 Diodes (standard, Zener)
 Flashlight bulb in holder
Include diagrams or sketches of important apparatus and number them
(label items and describe in the text). Sometimes it helps to put the figure
and the caption in a “text box.”
Figure-1. Circuits for measuring
the I-V characteristics of a diode
with a smoothing capacitor.
(Use 10 pt font.)
Simple circuit diagrams should be small, no wider than a few inches.
Electronics for Scientists Lab, PHYS 2371/2, Northeastern University, Fall 2015
Since there are several parts of each experiment, it is better to discuss the procedures, results and
conclusions for each part before going on to the next part. For each part of the experiment include the
Briefly describe the experimental procedures (in your own words, but don’t overdo it)
Include necessary equations and put them on their own line (number them, e.g. “Eq. (3)”)
Describe what you found (describe what the plot illustrates)
A. Figures
Figures are usually no larger than 3-4” wide
Wrap the text around the figures
When you have a plot, put the associated data table
into an Appendix at the end
Axis titles and numbers must be easily readable
(points taken off for tiny Excel numbers)
Plot only the “region of interest” (ROI) – think about
what you are trying to show
Connect data points by a line, as a guide for the eye
Include curve fits to the data; plot the theory whenever
possible (theory as a curve and data as points)
I (A)
VD (V)
Figure-2. Current as a function voltage
for an LED.
B. Computations
List all necessary equations (number them, “Eq. (4)”), define all variables and constants
List measured values that are input into equations, such as distance, current, voltage, etc.
Example: The amplitude (Gain) for the capacitor is computed from the equation
where VC is the voltage measured across the capacitor and Vin is the input voltage.
Eq. (1)
Here is where you wrap up the experiment. This is usually a somewhat expanded version of the abstract.
It has several additional things, but keep it simple. Include the following.
Make a table of the important results (values) and expected accepted values
Briefly discuss the highlights
Example: Table I lists the results of our measurements of
the input impedances of the DVM and power supply.
R (Ω)
GWR Power Supply
Fisher Power Supply
11.3 MΩ
0.32 Ω
27.3 Ω