Abstract:
A small tabletop experiment for a direct measurement of the speed of light to an accuracy of few percent is described. The experiment is accessible to a wide spectrum of undergraduate students, in particular to students not majoring in science or engineering. The experiment may further include a measurement of the index of refraction of a sample. Details of the setup and equipment are given. Results and limitations of the experiment are analyzed, partly based on our experience in employing the experiment in our student laboratories. Safety considerations are also discussed.

Abstract:
We measure spectral properties of surface thermal fluctuations of liquids, solids, complex fluids and biological matter using light scattering methods. The random thermal fluctuations are delineated from random noise at sub-shot noise levels. The principle behind this extraction, which is quite general and is not limited to surface measurements, is explained. An optical lever is used to measure the spectrum of fluctuations in the inclinations of surfaces down to $\sim 10^{-17}\rm rad^2/Hz$ at $1\sim10 \mu$W optical intensity, corresponding to $\sim 10^{-29} \rm m^2/\rm Hz$ in the vertical displacement, in the frequency range $1{\rm}\rm kHz\sim10 MHz$. The dynamical evolution of the surface properties is also investigated. The measurement requires only a short amount of time and is essentially passive, so that it can be applied to a wide variety of surfaces.

Abstract:
We develop a system for measurements of power spectra of transmitted light intensity fluctuations, in which the extraneous noise, including shot noise, is reduced. In essence, we just apply light, measure the power of the transmitted light and derive its power spectrum. We use this to observe the spontaneous noise spectra of photon atom interactions. Applying light with frequency modulation, we can also observe the spontaneous noise reflecting the coherence between the hyperfine levels in the excited state. There are two in novel components in the measurement system, the noise reduction scheme and the stabilization of the laser system. The noise reduction mechanism can be used to reduce the shot noise contribution to arbitrarily low levels through averaging, in principle. This is combined with differential detection to keep unwanted noise at low levels. The laser system is stabilized to obtain spectral width below 1\,kHz without high frequency ($\gtrsim10\,$MHz) noise. These methods are described systematically and the performance of the asurement system is examined through experimental results.

Abstract:
A Michelson interferometer with noise reduction to sub-shot noise levels is proposed and realized. Multiple measurements of a single signal beam are taken and the quantum property of light plays an essential role in the principle underlying this interferometry. The method makes use of the coherent state of light and requires only a simple modification to the standard Michelson interferometer. The surface fluctuation spectra of liquids are measured using this method down to a few orders of magnitude below the shot noise level. The spectrum derived from hydrodynamical considerations agrees well with the observed results for water. However, for oil, slight deviations are seen at high frequencies ($\gtrsim1\,$MHz), perhaps indicating its more complex underlying physics. The measurement requires a relatively low light power and a short time, so that it has a wide range of applicability.

Abstract:
Fluctuations in light absorption by atoms are observed by applying laser light on rubidium atoms and measuring the transmitted light intensity fluctuations. These fluctuations are spontaneous noise, which are generic to photon atom interactions. By making use of the sub-shot noise random signal detection technology, we have measured the spectra at sub-shot noise levels to reveal their rich nature, which had previously been unobserved. The effects of atoms transiting the laser beam, Rabi flopping in the optical transitions and Larmor precession of the magnetic moment are observed in the spectra. The properties of the fluctuations reflect not only the quantum behavior of atoms, but also that of light.

Abstract:
We study the spectral properties of thermal fluctuations on simple liquid surfaces, sometimes called ripplons. Analytical properties of the spectral function are investigated and are shown to be composed of regions with simple analytic behavior with respect to the frequency or the wave number. The derived expressions are compared to spectral measurements performed orders of magnitude below shot noise levels, which is achieved using a novel noise reduction method. The agreement between the theory of thermal surface fluctuations and the experiment is found to be excellent.

Abstract:
We explain simple laboratory experiments for making quantitative measurements of the Doppler effect from sources with acceleration. We analyze the spectra and clarify the conditions for the Doppler effect to be experimentally measurable, which turn out to be non-trivial when acceleration is involved. The experiments use sources with gravitational acceleration, in free fall and in motion as a pendulum, so that the results can be checked against fundamental physics principles. The experiments can be easily set up from ``off the shelf'' components only. The experiments are suitable for a wide range of students, including undergraduates not majoring in science or engineering.

Abstract:
A new mathematical system applicable to whatever Brownian problems where the Fickian diffusion equation (F-equation) is applicable was established. The F-equation, which is a parabolic type partial differential equation in the evolution equation, has ever been used for linear diffusion problems in the time-space (t, x, y, z). In the parabolic space (xt^{–0.5}, yt^{–0.5}, zt^{–0.5}), the present study reveals that the F-equation becomes an ellipse type Poisson equation and furthermore the elegant analytical solutions are possible. Applying the new system to one-dimension nonlinear interdiffusion problems, the solutions were previously obtained as the analytical expressions. The obtained solutions were also elegant in accordance with the experimental results. In the present study, nonlinear diffusion problems are discussed in the two and three dimensional cases. The Brownian problem is widely relevant not only to material science but also to other various science fields. Hereafter, the new mathematical system will be thus extremely useful for the analysis of the Brownian problem in various science fields.

Abstract:
Based on the divergence theorem, we reveal that the Fickian first law relevant to the diffusion flux |J(t,x,y,z) > in the time and space is incomplete without an integral constant |J_{0}(t) > for the integral of Fickian second law. The new diffusion flux (NDF) taking it into account shows that we can systematically understand the problems of one-way diffusion, impurity diffusion and self-diffusion as a special case of the interdiffusion. Applying the NDF to the interdiffusion problem between metal plates, it is clarified that the Kirkenkall effect is caused by |J_{0}(t) > and also that the interdiffusion coefficients in alloy can be easily obtained. The interdiffusion problems are reasonably solved regardless of the intrinsic diffusion conception. Thus the NDF to replace the Fickian first law is an essential equation in physics.

The well-known Schrd?inger equation is reasonably derived from the well-known diffusion equation. In the present study, the imaginary time is incorporated into the diffusion equation for understanding of the collision problem between two micro particles. It is revealed that the diffusivity corresponds to the angular momentum operator in quantum theory. The universal diffusivity expression, which is valid in an arbitrary material, will be useful for understanding of diffusion problems.