Summer Short Course Series

2017 Laboratory Sessions

Fundamental Concepts

The Michelson Interferometer  (6/12 & 6/13)

A Michelson interferometer is aligned and white light fringes are observed. Principles of source coherence are discussed, including both temporal and spatial coherence.

Diffraction from Apertures  (6/12 & 6/13)

The Fraunhofer diffraction patterns from apertures of various shapes are examined with a 2-D array and displayed on a monitor. The array principle will be discussed as well.

Coherent Optical Processing  (6/12 & 6/13)

Fourier theory and coherent optical processing techniques are using a canonical (4F) optical processor. High- and low-pass filters are used in the transform plane to control the transmitted information to the final image. Selective filters are also used to selectively alter certain image features.

Foucault Knife-Edge Test  (6/12 & 6/13)

The quality of an achromatic doublet test lens is evaluated using the Foucault Knife-Edge test. The characteristic shadow patterns of spherical aberration, coma, and astigmatism are produced, and longitudinal spherical aberration is quantified using radial zone masks to calculate a transverse ray aberration plot.

Photon Counting  (6/12 & 6/13)

Introduction to photon counting is presented. An APD will be used to measure to the photon content of a source. Photon number probability distributions will be used to differentiate light sources.

Twyman-Green & Fizeau Interferometer  (6/12 & 6/13)

A Twyman-Green interferometer is used to test an achromatic doublet test lens. Examples of Siedel aberrations are shown for even-order aberrations (spherical, astigmatism, and power). A spherical mirror is used to demonstrate coma (odd-order aberrations). A Zygo Fizeau interferometer is also introduced and demonstrated using unique optics.

Applied Concepts

Helium-Neon Laser  (6/14 & 6/15)

Students align the lasing cavity mirrors for a He-Ne laser using an external He-Ne laser and a beam "walking" technique. After lasing is achieved, students explore polarization, spatial modes, and power as a function of cavity length. They also observe longitudinal modes using a scanning Fabry-Perot interferometer.

Nd:YAG Solid-State Laser  (6/14 & 6/15)

Students align lasing cavity mirrors for a Nd:Yag rod. After lasing is achieved and threshold lasing power evaluated, students characterize laser output as a function of applied flashlamp voltage. A Brewster angle window is inserted in cavity and the output is characterized for the s + p components using photovoltaic detectors and an oscilloscope.  Students then frequency-double the fundamental wavelength by angle-tuning a birefringent crystal.

Laser Diode Characterization  (6/14 & 6/15)

Some basic properties of an indium-gallium-arsenide diode laser are evaluated. Threshold current and slope efficiency are measured directly using a power meter. Far-field divergence angles are measured in this manner as well. A detailed spectral linewidth is measured using a spectrometer; the spectral-shift-dependence on drive current is examined qualitatively using a grating spectroscope. The coherence length of the laser is measured using a Michelson interferometer and compared to other light sources.

Optical Fiber Laser  (6/14 & 6/15)

The properties of an erbium-doped fiber laser are examined using an optical spectrum analyzer, including threshold pump power and spectral characteristics. The system includes fiber gratings and in-line fiber isolators, which will be discussed during the laboratory session.

Photon Counting  (6/14 & 6/15)

Introduction to photon counting is presented. An APD will be used to measure to the photon content of a source. Photon number probability distributions will be used to differentiate light sources.

Modern Optical Engineering

Modulation Transfer Function Testing  (6/21 & 6/22)

An Optikos LensCheck VIS Bench is aligned and used to evaluate the MTF of various photographic lenses under varied parameters such as through focus, varying aperture, opaque obstruction and colored filters.

Twyman-Green Interferometer  (6/21 & 6/22)

A Twyman-Green interferometer is used to test an achromatic doublet test lens. Examples of Siedel aberrations are shown for even-order aberrations (spherical, astigmatism, and power). A spherical mirror is used to demonstrate coma (odd-order aberrations). A Zygo Fizeau interferometer is also introduced and demonstrated using unique optics.

Holographic Optical Elements (6/21 & 6/22)

A holographic diffraction grating is recorded on a photographic plate. The diffraction efficiency and output power vs. detuning for the plate is examined.  A holographic lens is then recorded and processed. The focal length and aberrations present are examined and measured and compared to a commercial "glass" achromat doublet.

Electronic Imaging  (6/21 & 6/22)

An 8-bit, 1024x768 pixel CCD camera is evaluated by investigating unfavorable characteristics such as nonlinearities, noise, spatial sampling and spectral response.