Master Laboratory Applied Physics




General information

The Master Lab Applied Physics is integral part of the M.Sc. program "Applied Physics" and is designed to provide insight into the various research topics in Applied Physics conducted at the University of Freiburg and the affiliated research institutes. It represents the ideal orientation for the choice of the final master research topic.

The Master Laboratory Applied Physics consists of the successful accomplishment of different laboratory experiments. For each experiment, students prepare a written report, which is part of the final assessment.

For each of the experiments a grade is given based on an initial written and oral questioning (test of the preparatory knowledge), the experimental performance and the written report (incl. lab report and analysis). All marks contribute to the final module grade (weighted mean).


In case you participate in the lab please subscribe to the following ILIAS-course to stay informed via email about organizational details of the Master Lab, e.g. dates of Introduction Meeting or Laser Safety Instruction:




Students have to select 6 labs from a list of offered lab experiments. Each lab is typically performed in teams of two students. They arrange date and time for the individual experiment with the responsible contact persons. Students should download and use the following marked score card to document progress and performance (mark for all labs):

After successful accomplishment of all 6 experiments the score card has to be handed in at the examination office.


Laser Safety Instruction

Some of the experiments require a laser safety instruction which expires after one year. If you have not yet attended an instruction or the last attendance dates back more than one year you should participate in the online laser safety training in the ILIAS course.


List of lab courses / experiments


  • Lab 1 - MR Imaging: Contrasts and Methods
    Responsible/contact person: Prof. Dr. M. Bock, Universitäts Klinikum
    Location: Universitäts Klinikum

    In this practical course the students will be introduced to the usage of a clinical high field MRI system. A phantom will be constructed, and the relaxation time T1 of different solutions will be measured. In a volunteer experiment, MR image contrasts and imaging methods will be demonstrated and assessed systematically.

    - Lab script to the experiment (pdf)

    Duration: 2 days
    Next availibility:  semester break after winter semester (WS 19/20) and during summer semester (SS 20)
    Recommended: Lecture Physics of Medical Imaging Methods (WS 19/20)

  • Lab 2 - Infrared Spectroscopy for Analytical Applications
    Responsible/contact person: Dr. F. Kühnemann, Fraunhofer Institute for Physical Measurement Techniques (IPM)
    Location: Fraunhofer IPM, Heidenhofstraße 8, 79110 Freiburg

    In this experiment, the students will be introduced to the use of infrared spectroscopic techniques for analytical applications. Examples are absorption measurements of atmospheric gases and the characterization of liquids and solids.

    Duration: 2 days
    Next availability: t.b.a.

    Important: The certificate of a laser safety instruction is mandatory for all participants of this experiment.


  • Lab 4 - Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM)
    Responsible/contact person: Prof. Dr. G. Reiter, Dr. Thomas Pfohl, Physikalisches Institut
    Location: Physics highrise building, 3rd floor
    Details: Link

    The aim of this practical course experiment is to give the students an insight into the technique of scanning probe microscopy (SPM) with an atomic force microscope (AFM) taken as example. AFM is widely‐used to image surface structures (on a nm or even sub‐nm scale scale) and to measure surface forces. AFM is an up‐to‐date (sophisticated) method for studying various properties of surfaces. In this lab course, the focus is on measuring topography and viscoelastic contrast of surfaces of various materials.

    Duration: 2 days
    Next availability: see here


  • Lab 5 - Measuring the rotation of the Sun
    Responsible/contact person: apl Prof. Dr. Markus Roth, Dr. Rolf Schlichenmaier, Kiepenheuer-Institut für Sonnenphysik
    Location: Solar Observatory, Schauinsland

    In this course the students will learn how to operate a solar telescope and a spectrograph with high spectral resolution. The differential rotation of the Sun will be measured using the Doppler effect. In a second part, solar rotation will be determined from the apparent motion of sunspots across the solar disk.

    Duration: 2 days
    Next availability: summer 2021


  • Lab 6 - Solid State Laser
    Responsible/contact person: Prof. Dr. Frank Stienkemeier, Dr. Lukas Bruder, Physikalisches Institut
    Location: Physics high rise building, 5th floor

    More info on ILIAS

    In this lab course, the students will learn how to set-up a diode-pumped Pr:YLF laser from scratch. Compared to other solid-state lasers, a Pr:YLF laser emits laser radiation at different wavelengths in the visible range of the electromagnetic spectrum. You will not only find out how to align the laser cavity and how to adjust the laser modes, but also explore i) different means to select a specific emission line and ii) the possibility of second-harmonic generation.

    Duration: 2 days
    Next availability and more information: Please see ILIAS

    Important: The certificate of a laser safety instruction is mandatory for all participants of this experiment.

  • Lab 7 - 3D light distributions and spatial coherence
    Responsible/contact persons: Prof. Dr. Alexander Rohrbach, Dominik Huber, Yatish Yatish, IMTEK
    Location: IMTEK; Building 102, basement lab rooms

    In this practical course, the students will acquire deeper knowledge of the wave optical principles that govern modern 3D microscopy and imaging. They will learn and experience that light emitted from a 2D and 3D object sent through an optical system generates always a 3D image, i.e. a 3D distribution of low and high intensities (photon densities), The latter is mainly determined by constructive and destructive interferences of electro-magnetic waves, which are defined by the degree of spatial and temporal coherence (coupling of photons). The students will get a sense about optical resolution (how strongly can light be confined) and contrast as well as about the concepts of point-spread functions and transfer functions in image generation. The students will investigate the influence and importance of the object illumination and the role of coherence of both the illumination light and the detection light. Experimental results will be compared with diffraction calculations.

    Duration: 1 day (experiment only), of course longer with data analysis and reporting
    Next availability: any day
    (Please contact Dominik Huber or Yatish Yatish)


  • Lab 8 - Diamonds for sensing applications
    Responsible/contact persons: Jan-Philipp Schröder, Dr. Ulrich Warring, Prof. Dr. Tobias Schätz
    Location: Gustav-Mie Building; 4th floor

    Diamonds sparkle in a variety of colours and attract our attention for many different reasons. Besides their appeal as gemstones, they are known for their outstanding mechanical hardness, heat conductivity, electrical resistivity, chemical stability, and optical transparency. The natural occurrence in more than one distinct colour originates from so-called colour centres in diamonds. Today, we know more than several hundred distinct colour centres. The physical properties of such defects in synthetic diamonds are intensively studied, as they rise the promise for several different novel application within the fields of physics, nanotechnology, and life sciences. A particular defect in diamonds has caught the attention of scientists during the last decades: It is comprised by a nitrogen atom and a neighbouring, vacant lattice site; the so-called nitrogen vacancy (NV) centre. In this course NV centres in micro-diamonds are studied using optical and microwave control fields.

    Keywords: NV centre, diode laser, microwaves, fluorescent light, optically detected magnetic resonance, Zeeman effect

    Literature: Schirhagl, R., et al. Nitrogen-Vacancy Centers in Diamond: Nanoscale Sensors for Physics and Biology. Annu. Rev. Phys. Chem. 65, 83–105 (2014).

    Duration: up to 4 days
    Next availability and more information: Please see ILIAS (Link)

    Important: The certificate of a laser safety instruction is mandatory for all participants of this experiment.


  • Lab 9 - How particles order: Structure in colloidal dispersions
    Responsible/contact persons: Prof. Dr. Tanja Schilling, Dr. Andreas Härtel
    Location: Physics high rise building; 4th floor

    Understanding the structure of simple fluids is important for many technological applications - as e.g. liquid crystal displays - as well as in our daily life, when ice forms or blood clogs veins. In this computer lab students will study many-body fluids, where particles interact via specific pair potentials. These common model systems will be simulated by means of Monte Carlo simulations, on the one hand, and classical density functional theory, on the other hand. The respective pair correlations between the particles will be compared and approximative theories will be tested against the simulation data. The students will employ three important concepts: to run particle-resolved simulations, to find numerical solutions of equations, and to derive analytical expressions. In this lab students will use prepared codes and scripts to acquire knowledge on programming in C/C++, Mathematica, scripting, and illustrating their results.

    Duration: 2 days (programming and experiment only), of course data analysis and report need more time
    Next availability: anytime (in consultation)

    More information: link to our homepage

  • Lab 10 - Nano Tug-of-War: Computational Exploration of Polymer Elasticity
    Responsible/contact person: Prof. Dr. Joachim Dzubiella, Sebastian Milster
    Location: Physics west building, 2nd floor

    The elastic response of nano-biopolymers, such as DNA and proteins, to flow and forces are of key importance to biological function and bio-inspired material design. In this computer lab, the students will learn about the physical origins of nano-elasticity, which are qualitatively different from its macroscopic counterpart. The students will learn to perform Steered Molecular Dynamics simulations of coarse-grained polymer models with the LAMMPS simulation package, which they test against analytical results from polymer physics and interpret in the context of modern, high-resoution single-molecule experiments. All codes required to generate the data will be provided, however, writing small codes for simple analyses of the data are highly desirable and encouraged.

    Duration: 2 days (computer experiment and data analyses only).
    Additional time for learning the theory and preparation of report.
    Availability: from 13.01.2020

    More information: link to our homepage

  • Lab 11 - Fiber Optics
    Responsible/contact person: Prof. Dr. Giuseppe Sansone, Iannina Kosse
    Location: Verfügungsgebäude (VF), Stefan-Meier-Str. 19, 1st floor

    Fiber optics, or optical fiber, refers to the medium and the technology associated with the transmission of information as light pulses along a glass or plastic strand or fiber. Fiber optics is commonly used in communication (internet, TV) due to its high bandwidth and transmission speed. The main objectives of this practicum is to gain such skills like alignment of the laser, beam parameters characterization and in general an understanding of the working principles of fiber optics. Two types of fibers are used within the lab course: SM and HCF. SM flexible fiber will be used to familiarize the student with the standard total internal reflection principle in solid core optics. Total internal reflection is the main principal phenomena behind the propagation of light in this kind of fiber. HCF will be introduced and their connection with the compression of femtosecond pulses and the generation of isolated attosecond pulses will be discussed.

    Duration: 2 days
    Availability: from 15.06.2021

    More information: link to our homepage

    Important: The certificate of a laser safety instruction is mandatory for all participants of this experiment.

  • Lab 12 - Simulating the non-equilibrium physics of biomolecular complexes
    Responsible/contact person: PD Dr. Steffen Wolf
    Location: Physics high rise building; 10th floor

    Biomolecular complexes such as signaling proteins and bound drugs are usually embedded in out-of-equilibrium environments (e.g., the human body). Here, besides stationary free energies, time-correlation functions and friction have to be taken into account to understand the function of such complexes. In this computer lab, students will investigate the process of binding and unbinding of biomolecular model complexes. After carrying out all-atom molecular dynamics (MD) simulations, they will learn how to reduce the dimensionality of the resulting “big data”. Furthermore, the students will coarse-grain the dynamics in a Langevin equation framework into free energies and friction factors. On the technical side, the students will learn how to use the Gromacs simulation software for fully-atomistic MD simulations, and how to analyze and display their results using self-written Python scripts.

    Duration: 2 days (computer experiment and data analysis only) Additional time for learning the theory and preparation of report.
    Availability: anytime (please contact S. Wolf via email)

    More information: link to our homepage

  • further experiments and lab courses will be available in the upcoming semesters


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