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Physics Experiments 2


Admission requirements

Experimental Physics (Experimentele Natuurkunde deel I en deel II) need to have been finished successfully.

Furthermore, we expect you to have finished succesfully the courses Optics, Classical Mechanics a, AN1na, AN2na, AN3na and Physics Experiments 1.


This course builds on the knowledge about signal processing that you gained from Physics Experiments 1 and extends it towards more complex systems that involve positive and negative feedback and various sources of noise. The ultimate goal is to prepare you to independently set up a complex experiment. This will be tested during Physics Experiments 3.

During the course we will analyze various sources of noise and interference and show you how to handle them. Furthermore, we will discuss (positive and negative) feedback, Fourier and Laplace transforms and simple control theory.

To gain both the necessary theoretical background and direct practical experience this course consists of a combination of lectures, exercise classes, and practical work. Python is used in both the exercise classes and the practical work. Because of this structure, you will not only get to know a powerful theory that is applicable to many physical phenomena, but also be able to use that theory in practice.

This course treats the following subjects in a physically relevant context:

  • 2D Fourier transform and Fourier optics

  • Step and impulse response

  • Laplace transform

  • Feedback

  • Noise

  • OpAmp

Course Objectives

After successful completion of this course you will be able to apply the following concepts in experiments involving various physical phenomena and to set up your own complex experiment.
More precisely you will be able to:

  • Predict and measure transfer functions, complex impedances, Bode plots, and response functions for electronic and mechanical systems.

  • Perform simple image processing using 2D Fourier transforms.

  • Apply mathematical tools to signals. Those tools include convolution, modulation, the Wiener-Khinchin theorem.

  • Name the basic time-domain / frequency-domain Fourier pairs.

  • Describe the relation between operations in the time domain and in the frequency domain.

  • Analyze linear time-invariant systems using the Laplace transform and the various Fourier transforms.

  • Describe the cause, spectrum, and consequences of various sources of noise and propose solutions to reduce noise.

  • Analyze the transfer function and stability of negative and positive feedback systems.

  • Analyze simple electronic circuits containing an OpAmp.

Note: These course objectives will be updated.

Transferable skills

The following skills will be trained during this course:

  • Thinking in a different domain from the time domain.

  • Applying theoretical knowledge while performing experiments.

  • Attaining new Python skills that you can use again in all other courses.


For detailed information go to Timetable in Brightspace

You will find the timetables for all courses and degree programmes of Leiden University in the tool MyTimetable (login). Any teaching activities that you have sucessfully registered for in MyStudyMap will automatically be displayed in MyTimeTable. Any timetables that you add manually, will be saved and automatically displayed the next time you sign in.

MyTimetable allows you to integrate your timetable with your calendar apps such as Outlook, Google Calendar, Apple Calendar and other calendar apps on your smartphone. Any timetable changes will be automatically synced with your calendar. If you wish, you can also receive an email notification of the change. You can turn notifications on in ‘Settings’ (after login).

For more information, watch the video or go the the 'help-page' in MyTimetable. Please note: Joint Degree students Leiden/Delft have to merge their two different timetables into one. This video explains how to do this.

Mode of instruction

Lab work, lectures (in Dutch), exercises/exam are in English
See Brightspace

Assessment method

Lab work, assignments/exercises and exam (all in English)

Reading list

There will be a reader available (English).


From the academic year 2022-2023 on every student has to register for courses with the new enrollment tool MyStudyMap. There are two registration periods per year: registration for the fall semester opens in July and registration for the spring semester opens in December. Please see this page for more information.

Please note that it is compulsory to both preregister and confirm your participation for every exam and retake. Not being registered for a course means that you are not allowed to participate in the final exam of the course. Confirming your exam participation is possible until ten days before the exam.
Extensive FAQ's on MyStudymap can be found here.


Lecturer for the theoretical part: Dr. Jelmer Wagenaar
Lecturer for the practical part: Paul Logman