Applied Optics Laboratories in an Undergraduate Optical Sciences and Engineering Program

Project: Research project

Project Details


Applied optics is an enabling technology for engineers and scientists, becoming more widespread as a tool for teaching, research, and industry. Therefore, applied optics should be an integral component of undergraduate engineering and science education. To this end, the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) currently offers its Optical Science and Engineering (OPSE) undergraduate curriculum. This program has been created by an interdisciplinary team of research faculty with a Combined Research-Curriculum Development (CRCD) grant from NSF. The OPSE teaching laboratory is also opened to pre-college students and high school science teachers through summer outreach programs. Composed of junior and senior level courses, the OPSE curriculum teaches fundamental and applied optics to an interdisciplinary student audience. The courses combine lecture and experiments in which students are challenged to learn and apply optics within their own fields as well as others. Currently, the majority of experiments are performed with low power Helium-Neon lasers and photodiode detectors. Many important optical phenomena (e.g. Raman scattering in fibers) and applied techniques (e.g. laser surgery), however, require greater optical powers and detection with wavelength discrimination. This project will use two higher power lasers -- specifically, diode-pumped Nd:YLF units -- and two monochromators with charged coupled device (CCD) detectors. This equipment facilitates several new experiments (e.g. harmonic generation, photorefractivity, dielectric breakdown) which employ optical phenomena that are often utilized in research, thus further fulfilling the CRCD mission of combining research with curriculum development. In addition, it allows undergraduates and even high school students and their teachers to use state-of-the-art lasers in exciting experiments which are usually only experienced by graduate students and their research advisors

Effective start/end date8/15/987/31/00


  • National Science Foundation: $27,000.00


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