Does the community welcome engineering physics question? e.g.

  • How to build an AOM driver with a DDS board?
  • What is an Evaluation Board?
  • How to using AD9915 chips to build a ~400 MHz AOM driver?
  • 8
    $\begingroup$ Are you aware of Electrical Engineering? And Signal Processing? Both might provide better homes for some of the issues you are likely facing. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 24, 2017 at 21:27
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    $\begingroup$ Related: physics.meta.stackexchange.com/q/4535/2451 and links therein. $\endgroup$
    – Qmechanic Mod
    Commented Nov 24, 2017 at 23:03
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    $\begingroup$ For non-electronical engineering questions, also the engineering.stackexchange.com can be a good match. $\endgroup$
    – peterh
    Commented Nov 26, 2017 at 14:22
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    $\begingroup$ Any this probably wont be a problem for Signal Processing or Electrical Engineering; but it's generally a good idea to define your acronyms so that everyone is sure they're talking about the same things. $\endgroup$
    – JMac
    Commented Nov 26, 2017 at 14:57
  • $\begingroup$ Related : Experimental Physics & Engineering $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 1, 2017 at 17:35
  • $\begingroup$ And before you get disappointed, be aware that "how do I build X" without any effort shown from your side is the equivalent of "gimme teh codez" questions on StackOverflow, with equally warm reception. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 8, 2017 at 14:11

2 Answers 2


In general, questions asking how to build electronic devices are off topic here. There are a couple exceptions:

  • Some questions about simple circuit design involving only resistors, capacitors, inductors, and AC or DC power sources may be on topic. Even then, though, the questions should not be "how do I build a circuit to do X?" but rather should ask about some conceptual aspect of why a proposed circuit design does or doesn't work a particular way.
  • Questions about building electronic devices for advanced physics experiments can be on topic. In order to show that such a question is on topic you would, at a minimum, have to explain the experimental physics context that leads you to ask it.

The questions you propose in your post don't seem to meet these criteria, so I would consider them off topic. They may fit on Electrical Engineering or Signal Processing, as dmckee pointed out in a comment.

  • $\begingroup$ Building AOM drivers is certainly very relevant for a wide variety of physics experiments. For example, many atomic and optical physics experiments make heavy use of them. In my own (atomic physics) experiment we use them to offset and tune laser frequencies to address and detune from various atomic transitions, as well as control and servo laser intensity. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 27, 2017 at 4:36
  • $\begingroup$ @aquirdturtle Sure, I wrote my answer with the understanding that these devices are often used in physics experiments. In order for a question about e.g. an AOM driver to be on topic here, it would have to at least explain how it fits into such an experiment. $\endgroup$
    – David Z
    Commented Nov 27, 2017 at 4:44
  • $\begingroup$ Ok, I misunderstood what you meant when you said "The questions you propose in your post don't seem to meet these criteria". $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 27, 2017 at 4:49
  • $\begingroup$ Please could you justify the criterion advanced physics in your 2nd exception? How advanced does the experiment have to be for the question to be on topic? $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 1, 2017 at 17:32
  • $\begingroup$ @sammygerbil Good question, I'll clarify that soon when I have time. $\endgroup$
    – David Z
    Commented Dec 1, 2017 at 20:14
  • $\begingroup$ Circuit design in circumstances that are unique to physics experiments should be on topic. Designs for cryogenic temperatures, vacuum, high radiation are unlikely to be common in EEng.stackexchange $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 2, 2017 at 0:07

The Physics Meta question Experimental Physics and Engineering shows that this community's view is that there is no objective distinction between experimental physics and engineering and that whether a particular engineering question is suitable for Physics Stack Exchange is a matter of asking

What kind of person is most likely to have the answer?

It is not possible to provide a definitive answer to your general question. Your particular question could be on-topic if you identified some knowledge which this community is likely to have. In the absence of any explanation of what you were finding difficult about your project, I voted to close your question because it seemed to me that somebody with expertise in assembling circuit boards was most likely to provide the help which you require.

You were clearly aware of the RF output requirements, and even had your own ideas about how to do it (DDS board, Evaluation Board, AD9155 chips). Suitable circuit designs are easily found on the internet. It seemed to me that you probably needed advice about choosing between different designs, selecting suitable components, and then assembling, soldering and testing the circuit. I think you are more likely to get such advice from a community of electrical/electronics engineers who have expertise in doing this for a wide variety of projects than from a community of physicists which majors on answering conceptual questions.

When your question is closed it is common to be offended and to take it personally. A more helpful response is to recognise it as saying "Sorry, we are unlikely to be able to help you. We don't want to waste your time. Try this other site instead."

I notice that you have re-posted the question on Electronics SE as I advised, but it has been closed there also, as being too broad. It would have suffered the same fate had it remained on this site. The quality of your question is at least as important as the topic you are asking about.

I notice also that you have not provided any further information as requested by that community. If you show little or no effort to define what exactly your difficulty is, to look for an answer yourself, and to engage with those who ask for more information, then you are unlikely to get an answer wherever you post your question. See What does everyone mean by "Insufficient research effort"?

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    $\begingroup$ Sorry. Please close this question. I will be careful in defining the question and giving more detail next time. $\endgroup$
    – Michael
    Commented Dec 2, 2017 at 18:45

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