**Physics
GCE A Level (Junior College 1-2) Syllabus**

**SECTION
I MEASUREMENT**

**1.
Measurement**

**Content**

SI Units

Errors and uncertainties

Scalars and vectors

**Learning
Outcomes
**

Candidates should be able to:

recall the following base quantities and their units: mass (kg), length (m), time (s), current (A), temperature (K), amount of substance (mol)

express derived units as products or quotients of the base units and use the named units listed in ‘Summary of Key Quantities, Symbols and Units’ as appropriate

show an understanding of and use the conventions for labelling graph axes and table columns as set out in the ASE publication SI Units, Signs, Symbols and Abbreviations, except where these have been superseded by Signs, Symbols and Systematics (The ASE Companion to 16–19 Science, 2000)

use the following prefixes and their symbols to indicate decimal sub-multiples or multiples of both base and derived units: pico (p), nano (n), micro (μ), milli (m), centi (c), deci (d), kilo (k), mega (M), giga (G), tera (T).

make reasonable estimates of physical quantities included within the syllabus

show an understanding of the distinction between systematic errors (including zero errors) and random errors

show an understanding of the distinction between precision and accuracy

assess the uncertainty in a derived quantity by simple addition of actual, fractional or percentage uncertainties (a rigorous statistical treatment is not required)

distinguish between scalar and vector quantities, and give examples of each

add and subtract coplanar vectors

represent a vector as two perpendicular components.

**SECTION
II NEWTONIAN MECHANICS**

**2.
Kinematics**

**Content**

Rectilinear motion

Non-linear motion

**Learning
Outcomes **

Candidates should be able to:

define displacement, speed, velocity and acceleration

use graphical methods to represent distance travelled, displacement, speed, velocity and acceleration

find displacement from the area under a velocity-time graph

use the slope of a displacement-time graph to find the velocity

use the slope of a velocity-time graph to find the acceleration

derive, from the definitions of velocity and acceleration, equations which represent uniformly accelerated motion in a straight line

solve problems using equations which represent uniformly accelerated motion in a straight line, including the motion of bodies falling in a uniform gravitational field without air resistance

describe qualitatively the motion of bodies falling in a uniform gravitational field with air resistance

describe and explain motion due to a uniform velocity in one direction and a uniform acceleration in a perpendicular direction.

**3.
Dynamics**

**Content**

Newton's laws of motion

Linear momentum and its conservation

**Learning
Outcomes**

Candidates should be able to:

state each of Newton's laws of motion

show an understanding that mass is the property of a body which resists change in motion

describe and use the concept of weight as the effect of a gravitational field on a mass

define linear momentum and impulse

define force as rate of change of momentum

recall and solve problems using the relationship F = ma, appreciating that force and acceleration are always in the same direction

state the principle of conservation of momentum

apply the principle of conservation of momentum to solve simple problems including elastic and inelastic interactions between two bodies in one dimension. (Knowledge of the concept of coefficient of restitution is not required.)

(i) recognise that, for a perfectly elastic collision between two bodies, the relative speed of approach is equal to the relative speed of separation

(j) show an understanding that, whilst the momentum of a system is always conserved in interactions between bodies, some change in kinetic energy usually takes place.

**4.
Forces**

**Content**

Types of force

Equilibrium of forces

Centre of gravity

Turning effects of forces

**Learning
Outcomes**

Candidates should be able to:

recall and apply Hooke’s law to new situations or to solve related problems

deduce the elastic potential energy in a deformed material from the area under the force-extension graph

describe the forces on mass, charge and current in gravitational, electric and magnetic fields, as appropriate

solve problems using the equation p = ρgh

show an understanding of the origin of the upthrust acting on a body in a fluid

state that an upthrust is provided by the fluid displaced by a submerged or floating object

calculate the upthrust in terms of the weight of the displaced fluid

recall and apply the principle that, for an object floating in equilibrium, the upthrust is equal to the weight of the object to new situations or to solve related problems

show a qualitative understanding of frictional forces and viscous forces including air resistance. (No treatment of the coefficients of friction and viscosity is required.)

use a vector triangle to represent forces in equilibrium

show an understanding that the weight of a body may be taken as acting at a single point known as its centre of gravity

show an understanding that a couple is a pair of forces which tends to produce rotation only

define and apply the moment of a force and the torque of a couple

show an understanding that, when there is no resultant force and no resultant torque, a system is in equilibrium

apply the principle of moments to new situations or to solve related problems.

**5.
Work, Energy and Power **

**Content**

Work

Energy conversion and conservation

Potential energy and kinetic energy

Power

**Learning
Outcomes**

Candidates should be able to:

show an understanding of the concept of work in terms of the product of a force and displacement in the direction of the force

calculate the work done in a number of situations including the work done by a gas which is expanding against a constant external pressure: W = p∆V

give examples of energy in different forms, its conversion and conservation, and apply the principle of energy conservation to simple examples

derive, from the equations of motion, the formula E

_{k }= 1⁄2mv^{2 }recall and apply the formula E

_{k }= 1⁄2mv^{2 }distinguish between gravitational potential energy, electric potential energy and elastic potential energy

show an understanding of and use the relationship between force and potential energy in a uniform field to solve problems

derive, from the defining equation W = Fs, the formula E

_{p }= mgh for potential energy changes near the Earth’s surfacerecall and use the formula E

_{p }= mgh for potential energy changes near the Earth's surfaceshow an appreciation for the implications of energy losses in practical devices and use the concept of efficiency to solve problems

define power as work done per unit time and derive power as the product of force and velocity.

**6.
Motion in a Circle **

**Content**

Kinematics of uniform circular motion

Centripetal acceleration

Centripetal force

**Learning
Outcomes **

Candidates should be able to:

express angular displacement in radians

understand and use the concept of angular velocity to solve problems

recall and use v = rω to solve problems

describe qualitatively motion in a curved path due to a perpendicular force, and understand the centripetal acceleration in the case of uniform motion in a circle

recall and use centripetal acceleration a = rω

^{2}, a = v^{2}/r to solve problemsrecall and use centripetal force F = mrω

^{2}, F = mv^{2}/r to solve problems.

**7.
Gravitational Field **

**Content**

Gravitational field

Force between point masses

Field of a point mass

Field near to the surface of the Earth

Gravitational potential

**Learning
Outcomes**

Candidates should be able to:

show an understanding of the concept of a gravitational field as an example of field of force and define gravitational field strength as force per unit mass

recall and use Newton's law of gravitation in the form

derive, from Newton's law of gravitation and the definition of gravitational field strength, the equation

for the gravitational field strength of a point mass

recall and apply the equation for the gravitational field strength of a point mass to new situations or to solve related problems

show an appreciation that on the surface of the Earth g is approximately constant and equal to the acceleration of free fall

define potential at a point as the work done in bringing unit mass from infinity to the point

solve problems using the equation for the potential in the field of a point mass

recognise the analogy between certain qualitative and quantitative aspects of gravitational and electric fields

analyse circular orbits in inverse square law fields by relating the gravitational force to the centripetal acceleration it causes

show an understanding of geostationary orbits and their application.

**8.
Oscillations**

**Content**

Simple harmonic motion

Energy in simple harmonic motion

Damped and forced oscillations: resonance

**Learning
Outcomes
**

Candidates should be able to:

describe simple examples of free oscillations

investigate the motion of an oscillator using experimental and graphical methods

understand and use the terms amplitude, period, frequency, angular frequency and phase difference and express the period in terms of both frequency and angular frequency

recognise and use the equation a = –ω

^{2}x as the defining equation of simple harmonic motionrecall and use as a solution to the equation a = –ω

^{2}xrecognize and use and

describe, with graphical illustrations, the changes in displacement, velocity and acceleration during simple harmonic motion

describe the interchange between kinetic and potential energy during simple harmonic motion

describe practical examples of damped oscillations with particular reference to the effects of the degree of damping and the importance of critical damping in cases such as a car suspension system

describe practical examples of forced oscillations and resonance

describe graphically how the amplitude of a forced oscillation changes with frequency near to the natural frequency of the system, and understand qualitatively the factors which determine the frequency response and sharpness of the resonance

show an appreciation that there are some circumstances in which resonance is useful and other circumstances in which resonance should be avoided.

**SECTION
III THERMAL PHYSICS**

**9.
Thermal Physics **

**Content**

Internal energy

Temperature scales

Specific heat capacity

Specific latent heat

First law of thermodynamics

The ideal gas equation

Kinetic energy of a molecule

**Learning
Outcomes **

Candidates should be able to:

show an understanding that internal energy is determined by the state of the system and that it can be expressed as the sum of a random distribution of kinetic and potential energies associated with the molecules of a system

relate a rise in temperature of a body to an increase in its internal energy

show an understanding that regions of equal temperature are in thermal equilibrium

show an understanding that there is an absolute scale of temperature which does not depend on the property of any particular substance, i.e. the thermodynamic scale

apply the concept that, on the thermodynamic (Kelvin) scale, absolute zero is the temperature at which all substances have a minimum internal energy

convert temperatures measured in Kelvin to degrees Celsius: T / K = T / °C + 273.15

define and use the concept of specific heat capacity, and identify the main principles of its determination by electrical methods

define and use the concept of specific latent heat, and identify the main principles of its determination by electrical methods

explain using a simple kinetic model for matter why

(i) melting and boiling take place without a change in temperature

(ii) the specific latent heat of vaporisation is higher than specific latent heat of fusion for the same substance

(iii) cooling effect accompanies evaporation

recall and use the first law of thermodynamics expressed in terms of the change in internal energy, the heating of the system and the work done on the system

recall and use the ideal gas equation pV = nRT, where n is the amount of gas in moles

show an understanding of the significance of the Avogadro constant as the number of atoms in 0.012 kg of carbon-12

use molar quantities where one mole of any substance is the amount containing a number of particles equal to the Avogadro constant

recall and apply the relationship that the mean kinetic energy of a molecule of an ideal gas is proportional to the thermodynamic temperature to new situations or to solve related problems.

**SECTION
lV WAVES**

**10.
Wave Motion**

**Content**

Progressive waves

Transverse and longitudinal waves

Polarisation

Determination of frequency and wavelength

**Learning
Outcomes **

Candidates should be able to:

show an understanding and use the terms displacement, amplitude, phase difference, period, frequency, wavelength and speed

deduce, from the definitions of speed, frequency and wavelength, the equation v = fλ

recall and use the equation v = fλ

show an understanding that energy is transferred due to a progressive wave

recall and use the relationship intensity ∝ (amplitude)

^{2 }analyse and interpret graphical representations of transverse and longitudinal waves

show an understanding that polarisation is a phenomenon associated with transverse waves

determine the frequency of sound using a calibrated c.r.o

determine the wavelength of sound using stationary waves.

**11.
Superposition**

**Content**

Stationary waves

Diffraction

Interference

Two-source interference patterns

Diffraction grating

**Learning
Outcomes
**

Candidates should be able to:

explain and use the principle of superposition in simple applications

show an understanding of experiments which demonstrate stationary waves using microwaves, stretched strings and air columns

explain the formation of a stationary wave using a graphical method, and identify nodes and antinodes

explain the meaning of the term diffraction

show an understanding of experiments which demonstrate diffraction including the diffraction of water waves in a ripple tank with both a wide gap and a narrow gap

show an understanding of the terms interference and coherence

show an understanding of experiments which demonstrate two-source interference using water, light and microwaves

show an understanding of the conditions required if two-source interference fringes are to be observed

recall and solve problems using the equation λ = ax/D for double-slit interference using light

recall and solve problems by using the formula dsinθ = nλ and describe the use of a diffraction grating to determine the wavelength of light. (The structure and use of the spectrometer is not required.)

**SECTION
V ELECTRICITY AND MAGNETISM**

**12.
ElectricFields**

**Content**

Concept of an electric field

Force between point charges

Electric field of a point charge

Uniform electric fields

Electric potential

**Learning
Outcomes
**

Candidates should be able to:

show an understanding of the concept of an electric field as an example of a field of force and define electric field strength as force per unit positive charge

represent an electric field by means of field lines

recall and use Coulomb's law in the form F = Q

_{1}Q_{2}/4πε_{0}r^{2 }for the force between two point charges in free space or airrecall and use E = Q/4πε

_{0}r^{2 }for the field strength of a point charge in free space or aircalculate the field strength of the uniform field between charged parallel plates in terms of potential difference and separation

calculate the forces on charges in uniform electric fields

describe the effect of a uniform electric field on the motion of charged particles

define potential at a point in terms of the work done in bringing unit positive charge from infinity to the point

state that the field strength of the field at a point is numerically equal to the potential gradient at that point

use the equation V = Q/4πε

_{0}r for the potential in the field of a point chargerecognise the analogy between certain qualitative and quantitative aspects of electric field and gravitational fields.

**13.
Current of Electricity **

**Content**

Electric current

Potential difference

Resistance and resistivity

Sources of electromotive force

**Learning
Outcomes
**

Candidates should be able to:

show an understanding that electric current is the rate of flow of charged particles

define charge and the coulomb

recall and solve problems using the equation Q = It

define potential difference and the volt

recall and solve problems using V = W/Q

recall and solve problems using P = VI, P = I

^{2}Rdefine resistance and the ohm

recall and solve problems using V = IR

sketch and explain the I-V characteristics of a metallic conductor at constant temperature, a semiconductor diode and a filament lamp

sketch the temperature characteristic of a thermistor

recall and solve problems using R =ρl/A

define e.m.f. in terms of the energy transferred by a source in driving unit charge round a complete circuit

distinguish between e.m.f. and p.d. in terms of energy considerations

show an understanding of the effects of the internal resistance of a source of e.m.f. on the terminal potential difference and output power.

**14.
D.C.Circuits**

**Content**

Practical circuits

Series and parallel arrangements

Potential divider

Balanced potentials

**Learning
Outcomes
**

Candidates should be able to:

recall and use appropriate circuit symbols as set out in SI Units, Signs, Symbols and Abbreviations (ASE, 1981) and Signs, Symbols and Systematics (ASE, 2000)

draw and interpret circuit diagrams containing sources, switches, resistors, ammeters, voltmeters, and/or any other type of component referred to in the syllabus

solve problems using the formula for the combined resistance of two or more resistors in series

solve problems using the formula for the combined resistance of two or more resistors in parallel

solve problems involving series and parallel circuits for one source of e.m.f.

show an understanding of the use of a potential divider circuit as a source of variable p.d.

explain the use of thermistors and light-dependent resistors in potential dividers to provide a potential difference which is dependent on temperature and illumination respectively

recall and solve problems by using the principle of the potentiometer as a means of comparing potential differences.

**15.
Electromagnetism**

**Content**

Force on a current-carrying conductor

Force on a moving charge

Magnetic fields due to currents

Force between current-carrying conductors

**Learning
Outcomes
**

Candidates should be able to:

show an appreciation that a force might act on a current-carrying conductor placed in a magnetic field

recall and solve problems using the equation F = BIlsinθ, with directions as interpreted by Fleming's left-hand rule

define magnetic flux density and the tesla

show an understanding of how the force on a current-carrying conductor can be used to measure the flux density of a magnetic field using a current balance

predict the direction of the force on a charge moving in a magnetic field

recall and solve problems using F = BQvsinθ

describe and analyse deflections of beams of charged particles by uniform electric and uniform magnetic fields

explain how electric and magnetic fields can be used in velocity selection for charged particles

sketch flux patterns due to a long straight wire, a flat circular coil and a long solenoid

show an understanding that the field due to a solenoid may be influenced by the presence of a ferrous core

explain the forces between current-carrying conductors and predict the direction of the forces.

**16.
Electromagnetic Induction **

**Content**

Magnetic flux

Laws of electromagnetic induction

**Learning
Outcomes **

Candidates should be able to:

define magnetic flux and the weber

recall and solve problems using Φ = BA

define magnetic flux linkage

infer from appropriate experiments on electromagnetic induction:

that a changing magnetic flux can induce an e.m.f. in a circuit

that the direction of the induced e.m.f. opposes the change producing it

the factors affecting the magnitude of the induced e.m.f.

recall and solve problems using Faraday's law of electromagnetic induction and Lenz’s law

explain simple applications of electromagnetic induction.

**17.
Alternating Currents **

**Content**

Characteristics of alternating currents

The transformer

Rectification with a diode

**Learning
Outcomes**

Candidates should be able to:

show an understanding and use the terms period, frequency, peak value and root-mean-square value as applied to an alternating current or voltage

deduce that the mean power in a resistive load is half the maximum power for a sinusoidal alternating current

represent an alternating current or an alternating voltage by an equation of the form x = x

_{0}sinωtdistinguish between r.m.s. and peak values and recall and solve problems using the relationship I

_{rms }= for the sinusoidal caseshow an understanding of the principle of operation of a simple iron-cored transformer and recall and solve problems using N

_{s }/N_{p }= V_{s }/V_{p }= I_{p }/I_{s }for an ideal transformerexplain the use of a single diode for the half-wave rectification of an alternating current.

**SECTION
VI MODERN PHYSICS**

**18.
Quantum Physics **

**Content**

Energy of a photon

The photoelectric effect

Wave-particle duality

Energy levels in atoms

Line spectra

X-ray spectra

The uncertainty principle

Schrödinger model

Barrier tunneling

**Learning
Outcomes **

Candidates should be able to:

show an appreciation of the particulate nature of electromagnetic radiation

recall and use E = hf

show an understanding that the photoelectric effect provides evidence for a particulate nature of electromagnetic radiation while phenomena such as interference and diffraction provide evidence for a wave nature

recall the significance of threshold frequency

recall and use the equation 1⁄2mv

_{max}^{2 }= eV_{s }, where V_{s }is the stopping potentialexplain photoelectric phenomena in terms of photon energy and work function energy

explain why the maximum photoelectric energy is independent of intensity whereas the photoelectric current is proportional to intensity

recall, use and explain the significance of hf = Φ + 1⁄2mv

_{max}^{2 }describe and interpret qualitatively the evidence provided by electron diffraction for the wave nature of particles

recall and use the relation for the de Broglie wavelength λ = h/p

show an understanding of the existence of discrete electron energy levels in isolated atoms (e.g. atomic hydrogen) and deduce how this leads to spectral lines

distinguish between emission and absorption line spectra

recall and solve problems using the relation hf = E

_{1 }– E_{2 }explain the origins of the features of a typical X-ray spectrum using quantum theory

show an understanding of and apply the Heisenberg position-momentum and time-energy uncertainty principles in new situations or to solve related problems

show an understanding that an electron can be described by a wave function Ψ where the square of the amplitude of wave function |Ψ|

^{2 }gives the probability of finding the electron at a point. (No mathematical treatment is required.)show an understanding of the concept of a potential barrier and explain qualitatively the phenomenon of quantum tunnelling of an electron across such a barrier

describe the application of quantum tunnelling to the probing tip of a scanning tunnelling microscope (STM) and how this is used to obtain atomic-scale images of surfaces. (Details of the structure and operation of a scanning tunnelling microscope are not required.)

apply the relationship transmission coefficient T exp(–2kd) for the STM in related situations or to solve problems. (Recall of the equation is not required.)

recall and use the relationship R + T = 1, where R is the reflection coefficient and T is the transmission coefficient, in related situations or to solve problems.

**19.
Lasers and Semiconductors **

**Content**

Basic principles of lasers

Energy bands, conductors and insulators

Semiconductors

Depletion region of a p-n junction

**Learning
Outcomes **

Candidates should be able to:

recall and use the terms spontaneous emission, stimulated emission and population inversion in related situations

explain the action of a laser in terms of population inversion and stimulated emission. (Details of the structure and operation of a laser are not required.)

describe the formation of energy bands in a solid

distinguish between conduction band and valence band

use band theory to account for the electrical properties of metals, insulators and intrinsic semiconductors, with reference to conduction electrons and holes

analyse qualitatively how n- and p-type doping change the conduction properties of semiconductors

discuss qualitatively the origin of the depletion region at a p-n junction and use this to explain how a p-n junction can act as a rectifier.

**20.
NuclearPhysics **

**Content**

The nucleus

Isotopes

Mass defect and nuclear binding energy

Nuclear processes

Radioactive decay

Biological effect of radiation

**Learning
Outcomes **

Candidates should be able to:

infer from the results of the α-particle scattering experiment the existence and small size of the nucleus

distinguish between nucleon number (mass number) and proton number (atomic number)

show an understanding that an element can exist in various isotopic forms each with a different number of neutrons

use the usual notation for the representation of nuclides and represent simple nuclear reactions by nuclear equations of the form

^{14}_{7 }N +^{4}_{2 }He →^{17}_{8 }O +^{1}Hshow an understanding of the concept of mass defect

recall and apply the equivalence relationship between energy and mass as represented by E = mc

^{2 }in problem solvingshow an understanding of the concept of binding energy and its relation to mass defect

sketch the variation of binding energy per nucleon with nucleon number

explain the relevance of binding energy per nucleon to nuclear fusion and to nuclear fission

state and apply to problem solving the concept that nucleon number, proton number, energy and mass are all conserved in nuclear processes

show an understanding of the spontaneous and random nature of nuclear decay

infer the random nature of radioactive decay from the fluctuations in count rate

show an understanding of the origin and significance of background radiation

show an understanding of the nature of α, β and γ radiations

define the terms activity and decay constant and recall and solve problems using A = λN

infer and sketch the exponential nature of radioactive decay and solve problems using the relationship x = x

_{0}exp(–λt) where x could represent activity, number of undecayed particles and received count ratedefine half-life

solve problems using the relation λ =

discuss qualitatively the effects, both direct and indirect, of ionising radiation on living tissues and cells.