Over the course of this experiment, several factors contributed to the
difficulty in taking data:
- Aligning the laser so that it effectively ionized the cesium was not as
precise as we owuld have liked. It is very difficult to know exactly where
the laser is firing, so our positioning was based upon the concept of
maximizing the peaks on the oscilliscope.
- We had to be very conscious of the pulse power of the laser.
Oversaturation of the cesium occured quite frequently, thus we were forced
to work with laser power levels and measurement scales that did not produce
- The temperature of the heat pipe proved to be very difficult to accurately
control. We were unable to keep a constant temperature (pressure) during
certain experiments. Usually, the thermocouple deviated within +/- 1
mV. Although this is a relatively minor change in temperature, we have
showed how pressure change can affect ionization current.
We feel that these problems may justify why our data does not correspond to
theoretical models. While alone, one of these factors is miniscule, the
combination of numerous variables is enough to distort our experimental results.
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