For enquiries about our research and potential openings please contact
Dr Radu Coldea.

Undergraduate Summer Project 2013

Development of control software to perform specific heat measurements in high magnetic fields and at low temperatures

Our research group focuses on exploring properties of correlated electron materials at low temperatures and in high magnetic fields when quantum effects become important. We are developing experimental capabilities to measure the specific heat and magnetocaloric effect of single crystal to investigate phase transitions induced by high magnetic fields (up to 16 T) in the extreme quantum regime of miliKelvin temperatures. The specific heat is measured by monitoring the sample temperature oscillations when the sample platform is heated by a
low-frequency alternating electrical current, with a second heater controlling the average sample temperature. This project is to develop new software and integrate existing (Python and Matlab) software in the group to interface a control PC with the measurement equipment including the various heaters, thermometer sensors, lock-in amplifiers, magnet power supply etc. The required software will include the capability to collect data upon scanning separately the magnetic field or temperature, and implementing real-time analysis/fitting of the collected data with feedback to control the amount of heat current in order to optimise the signal amplitude over electrical noise. The project requires a good knowledge of condensed matter physics, practical problem solving skills, good computing skills and an interest to write software for instrument control/interfacing in Python/Matlab.

Useful reference:

High-resolution alternating-field technique to determine the magnetocaloric effect of metals down to very low temperatures, Rev. Sci. Instrum. 82, 013905 (2011);

Interested students should contact Dr Radu Coldea.