For a long time, optics has been the "neglected child" in physics university curriculum in Kenya and indeed in East Africa as a whole! But due to emerging applications of laser technology and photonics, some physics departments have started developing undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in optics, lasers and photonics. What are the challenges and chances of success?
A laser microvibrations transducer based on diffraction of a laser beam on a system of two diffraction gratings is described. The transducer has an experimental threshold of detection of 0.3A°, a dynamic range of about 10 μm. It contains no expensive elements (simple glass stepped gratings) and it is easy to implement and align. Furthermore it is self-calibrating. It can be successfully used for nuclear explosion monitoring and can be useful tool in industrial machinery, transport equipment vibration testing and control and seismic monitoring.