A balance detector is a detector that takes two beams of light and measures the intensity differency between them.
During Summer 2007, after my junior year in college, I came to the University of Rochester in Rochester, New York to work in Dr. John Howell's lab as part of the NSF-funded REU program in Physics. This was my first research experience in quantum optics. My objective was to build balance detectors for use in the novel new experiment to test general relativity on the table-top. I deduced the circuit diagram of an existing photodiode-based balance detector, used that knowledge to build five more detectors, and tested them using laser optics equipment. I am now familiar with how to set up and align an experiment on an optics table. This research experience was great because it taught me what it is like to be a graduate student working in a quantum optics lab, which was my plan for graduate school. Unlike previous research projects I did, I had a lot of freedom to make decisions in this research project. I learned how to motivate myself to make progress and I learned how to plan and conduct my research independently.
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