Na’im Anis Peyman

Na’im Anis Peyman spent four weeks working with Dr John Morton in the Department of Materials at the University of Oxford.  The project was entitled ‘Building Devices’.

What were the aims of your project, and how did you go about achieving these?  What were you doing day to day?
The aim of this project was to build simple electronic devices: potential dividers and RC filters, and to understand their behaviour in response to a change in the electrical signal’s frequency. Potential dividers are circuits in which the output voltage is a specific fraction of the input voltage. RC filters are circuits which allow some frequencies to pass through and block out others.

I started off learning about how the behaviour of these devices changes with a change in frequency. After having built the devices, I calculated their gains at different frequencies by using a lock-in amplifier. By reading the output voltage of the device being tested, given the input voltage, I was able to calculate the gain (Vout/Vin). I recorded the data on Microsoft Excel spreadsheets and then compared them with the theoretical predictions that I had made. In the beginning these did not match, so in consultation with my mentor I tried to find out what mistakes I had made in collecting the data and how the theoretical model could be refined. This was not a one-off event, but rather a process of action and reflection.

What did you learn most from your bursary experience?  What did you enjoy the most?
My practical skills improved hugely during the placement and I have seen the effect of this in my work back at school. I was introduced to capacitors and how they behave in response to a change in frequency. I learnt about imaginary numbers and how to use them in calculations. All calculations greatly improved my data-processing skills in Excel.

What I most enjoyed during the placement was when I was able to overcome a challenge, and as I was presented with one every almost on a daily basis, I found the entire 4 weeks over which I conducted the project very exciting.

What are your longer term plans and how did your bursary experience affect these plans?
I have applied to study Materials Science at university - the bursary experience equipped me with knowledge and practical skills which have helped me a lot during my studies at A2 and it has also strengthened my university applications.