JR Dennison

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Precise experimental devices and measurements can be sensitive to changing physical conditions in the lab. The purpose of this research was to develop a standardized computer automated package to monitor and record changes in laboratory conditions, including ambient temperature, atmospheric pressure, relative humidity, light intensity, motion, and power outages. The computer-interfaced device was based around an inexpensive Raspberry Pi microcomputer and commercially available sensors. The Raspberry Pi uploads the sensor data to a file used by LabVIEW to further analyze, plot and display the calibrated sensor data in real time and trigger alarms. This capability allows the Material Physics Research Group (MPG) to track the effects of varying laboratory conditions on experiments conducted in their laboratories. Correlation found between changing laboratory conditions and experimental data can help identify physical conditions that should be better controlled to improve the precision and accuracy of experimental data. Specific examples from the MPG labs are presented. Additional laboratory conditions that will be monitored in the future include AC power fluctuations, vibration, and radiation.

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