# IB Physics Study Guide and Notes for SL/HL (2022-2023)

### IB Physics Detailed Topic-Wise Study Notes

Excellent Study Notes for IB DP Physics Prepared by Subject Matter Experts.

Topic 1. Measurements and uncertainties

Topic 2. Mechanics

Topic 3. Thermal physics

Topic 4. Waves

Topic 5. Electricity and magnetism

Topic 6. Circular motion and gravitation

Topic 7. Atomic, nuclear and particle physics

Topic 8. Energy production

Topic 9. Wave phenomena

Topic 10. Fields

Topic 11. Electromagnetic Induction

Topic 12. Quantum and Nuclear Physics

## IB Physics SL and HL Core

Both IB Physics SL and HL consist of the same core requirements that consist of the same number of hours. Both classes will cover the same 8 topics (requiring 95 teaching hours) in the order listed below with the same subtopics listed below:

### Topic #1: Measurements and Uncertainties—5 Hours for Both SL and HL

 Subtopic Subtopic Number IB Points to Understand Measurements in physics 1.1 Fundamental and derived SI unitsScientific notation and metric multipliersSignificant figuresOrders of magnitudeEstimation Uncertainties and errors 1.2 Random and systematic errorsAbsolute, fractional and percentage uncertaintiesError barsUncertainty of gradient and intercepts Vectors and scalars 1.3 Vector and scalar quantitiesCombination and resolution of vectors

### Topic #2: Mechanics—22 Hours for Both SL and HL

 Subtopic Subtopic Number IB Points to Understand Motion 2.1 Distance and displacementSpeed and velocityAccelerationGraphs describing motionEquations of motion for uniform accelerationProjectile motionFluid resistance and terminal speed Forces 2.2 Objects as point particlesFree-body diagramsTranslational equilibriumNewton’s laws of motionSolid friction Work, energy and power 2.3 Kinetic energyGravitational potential energyElastic potential energyWork done as energy transferPower as rate of energy transferPrinciple of conservation of energyEfficiency Momentum and impulse 2.4 Newton’s second law expressed in terms of rate of change of momentumImpulse and force–time graphsConservation of linear momentumElastic collisions, inelastic collisions and explosions

### Topic #3: Thermal Physics—11 Hours for Both SL and HL

 Subtopic Subtopic Number IB Points to Understand Thermal concepts 3.1 Molecular theory of solids, liquids and gasesTemperature and absolute temperatureInternal energySpecific heat capacityPhase changeSpecific latent heat Modelling a gas 3.2 PressureEquation of state for an ideal gasKinetic model of an ideal gasMole, molar mass and the Avogadro constantDifferences between real and ideal gases

### Topic #4: Waves—15 Hours for Both SL and HL

 Subtopic Subtopic Number IB Points to Understand Oscillations 4.1 Simple harmonic oscillationsTime period, frequency, amplitude, displacement and phase differenceConditions for simple harmonic motion Travelling waves 4.2 Travelling wavesWavelength, frequency, period and wave speedTransverse and longitudinal wavesThe nature of electromagnetic wavesThe nature of sound waves Wave characteristics 4.3 Wavefronts and raysAmplitude and intensitySuperpositionPolarization Wave behaviour 4.4 Reflection and refractionSnell’s law, critical angle and total internal reflectionDiffraction through a single-slit and around objectsInterference patternsDouble-slit interferencePath difference Standing waves 4.5 The nature of standing wavesBoundary conditionsNodes and antinodes

### Topic #5: Electricity and Magnetism—15 Hours for Both SL and HL

 Subtopic Subtopic Number IB Points to Understand Electric fields 5.1 ChargeElectric fieldCoulomb’s lawElectric currentDirect current (dc)Potential difference Heating effect of electric currents 5.2 Circuit diagramsKirchhoff’s circuit lawsHeating effect of current and its consequencesResistance expressed as R = V/IOhm’s lawResistivityPower dissipation Electric cells 5.3 CellsInternal resistanceSecondary cellsTerminal potential differenceElectromotive force (emf) Magnetic effects of electric currents 5.4 Magnetic fieldsMagnetic force

### Topic #6: Circular Motion and Gravitation—5 Hours for Both SL and HL

 Subtopic Subtopic Number IB Points to Understand Circular motion 6.1 Period, frequency, angular displacement and angular velocityCentripetal forceCentripetal acceleration Newton’s law of gravitation 6.2 Newton’s law of gravitationGravitational field strength

### Topic #7: Atomic, Nuclear and Particle Physics—14 Hours for Both SL and HL

 Subtopic Subtopic Number IB Points to Understand Discrete energy and radioactivity 7.1 Discrete energy and discrete energy levelsTransitions between energy levelsRadioactive decayFundamental forces and their propertiesAlpha particles, beta particles and gamma raysHalf-lifeAbsorption characteristics of decay particlesIsotopesBackground radiation Nuclear reactions 7.2 The unified atomic mass unitMass defect and nuclear binding energyNuclear fission and nuclear fusion The structure of matter 7.3 Quarks, leptons and their antiparticlesHadrons, baryons and mesonsThe conservation laws of charge, baryon number, lepton number and strangenessThe nature and range of the strong nuclear force, weak nuclear force and electromagnetic forceExchange particlesFeynman diagramsConfinementThe Higgs boson

### Topic #8: Energy Production—8 Hours for Both SL and HL

 Subtopic Subtopic Number IB Points to Understand Energy sources 8.1 Specific energy and energy density of fuel sourcesSankey diagramsPrimary energy sourcesElectricity as a secondary and versatile form of energyRenewable and non-renewable energy sources Thermal energy transfer 8.2 Conduction, convection and thermal radiationBlack-body radiationAlbedo and emissivityThe solar constantThe greenhouse effectEnergy balance in the Earth surface–atmosphere system

These 4 topics are only for IB Physics Higher Level students—60 hours total for HL only

### Topic #9: Wave Phenomena—17 Hours for HL Only

 Subtopic Subtopic Number IB Points to Understand Simple harmonic motion(HL ONLY) 9.1 The defining equation of SHMEnergy changes Single-slit diffraction(HL ONLY) 9.2 The nature of single-slit diffraction Interference(HL ONLY) 9.3 Young’s double-slit experimentModulation of two-slit interference pattern by one-slit diffraction effectMultiple slit and diffraction grating interference patternsThin film interference Resolution(HL ONLY) 9.4 The size of a diffracting apertureThe resolution of simple monochromatic two-source systems Doppler effect(HL ONLY) 9.5 The Doppler effect for sound waves and light waves

### Topic #10: Fields—11 Hours for HL only

 Subtopic Subtopic Number IB Points to Understand Describing fields(HL ONLY) 10.1 Gravitational fieldsElectrostatic fieldsElectric potential and gravitational potentialField linesEquipotential surfaces Fields at work(HL ONLY) 10.2 Potential and potential energyPotential gradientPotential differenceEscape speedOrbital motion, orbital speed and orbital energyForces and inverse-square law behaviour

### Topic #11: Electromagnetic Induction—16 Hours for HL Only

 Subtopic Subtopic Number IB Points to Understand Electromagnetic induction(HL ONLY) 11.1 Electromotive force (emf)Magnetic flux and magnetic flux linkageFaraday’s law of inductionLenz’s law Power generation and transmission(HL ONLY) 11.2 Alternating current (ac) generatorsAverage power and root mean square (rms) values of current and voltageTransformersDiode bridgesHalf-wave and full-wave rectification Capacitance(HL ONLY) 11.3 CapacitanceDielectric materialsCapacitors in series and parallelResistor-capacitor (RC) series circuitsTime constant

### Topic #12: Quantum and Nuclear Physics—16 Hours for HL Only

 Subtopic Subtopic Number IB Points to Understand The interaction of matter with radiation(HL ONLY) 12.1 PhotonsThe photoelectric effectMatter wavesPair production and pair annihilationQuantization of angular momentum in the Bohr model for hydrogenThe wave functionThe uncertainty principle for energy and time and position and momentumTunnelling, potential barrier and factors affecting tunnelling probability Nuclear physics(HL ONLY) 12.2 Rutherford scattering and nuclear radiusNuclear energy levelsThe neutrinoThe law of radioactive decay and the decay constant

## Options

As a part of the IB Physics course, you cover additional subjects of your choosing from the list below (typically you don’t choose, but rather your teacher does).

Whichever option(s) you or your teacher chooses you will cover 3 or 4 topics (15 hours total) for SL and an additional 2 or 3 topics (25 hours total) for HL.

### Option A: Relativity—15 Hours for SL and HL

 Subtopic Subtopic Number IB Points to Understand The beginnings of relativity A.1 Reference framesGalilean relativity and Newton’s postulates concerning time and spaceMaxwell and the constancy of the speed of lightForces on a charge or current Lorentz transformations A.2 The two postulates of special relativityClock synchronizationThe Lorentz transformationsVelocity additionInvariant quantities (spacetime interval, proper time, proper length and rest mass)Time dilationLength contractionThe muon decay experiment Spacetime diagrams A.3 Spacetime diagramsWorldlinesThe twin paradox

### Additional HL Relativity Topics—10 More Hours for HL

 Subtopic Subtopic Number IB Points to Understand Relativistic mechanics(HL ONLY) A.4 Total energy and rest energyRelativistic momentumParticle accelerationElectric charge as an invariant quantityPhotonsMeV c^–2 as the unit of mass and MeV c^–1 as the unit of momentum General Relativity(HL ONLY) A.5 The equivalence principleThe bending of lightGravitational redshift and the Pound–Rebka–Snider experimentSchwarzschild black holesEvent horizonsTime dilation near a black holeApplications of general relativity to the universe as a whole

### New IB DP Physics 2025.

New IB DP Physics 2025.

Highlights:

The new DP physics course was launched in February 2023 for first teaching in August 2023. First assessment will take place in May 2025.

Note: DP physics is strongly recommended if you want to pursue your career in science related fields like medicine, Biotech, Engineering etc.

Assessment pattern in new syllabus

Paper 1 will be of 2 sections

· Paper 1A: MCQ covering entire syllabus

· Paper 1B: Data Analysis Question mainly with Graph related and units and uncertainty

Paper 2 Will also have two sections

· Shorts response questions and

· Extended response questions – One for SL and 2 for HL

4 Options topics are removed. These are distributed in core syllabus

Internal Assessment

Students will be encouraged to work in small group. However, students will be submitting individual reports of maximum word count of 3000. More weightage is given for higher order thinking. 50 % for conclusion and evaluation

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