Universiteit Leiden

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The lead zeppelin: a force sensor without a handle

Promotor: T. H. Oosterkamp

Bob van Waarde
02 november 2016
Thesis in Leiden Repository

The Lead Zeppelin is a small piece of Lead that is made to float in a magnetic field. At low temperatures - 4.2 K in this thesis, the boiling point of Helium - Lead is a superconductor, and acts as a ‘mass on a spring’, where the spring is formed by the magnetic field. As such, it is incredibly sensitive to externally applied forces. Other techniques are already capable of measuring forces in the range of zeptoNewtons; the Lead Zeppelin has the potential to be even more sensitive. The development of such increasingly sensitive force sensors paves the way to all sorts of interesting experiments, such as probing the quantum mechanics of heavy objects. At this moment, the Lead Zeppelin is already so sensitive that the motion of the laboratory, which is only a few nanometers at 10 Hz, is picked up so easily that it dominates the Lead Zeppelin.

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