We have constructed a low-cost Kerr microscope for use in our upper-division solid-state laboratory course by retrofitting a polarizing microscope. It was tested by imaging the magnetic domains on the surface of the polished ferromagnetic samples Nd-Fe-B and Fe-Si. The instrument serves as a learning platform for students who use it to study essential aspects of magnetic domains, as observed using the magneto-optic Kerr effect. By applying a controlled external magnetic field to a sample, magnetic domains can be observed and manipulated in real time with the aid of a digital camera. We offer technical guidance for the development of such a microscope and outline learning objectives for undergraduates in a formal lab curriculum.

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