Pinky-powered Photons is an activity created by the Michigan Light Project during the International Year of Light to encourage creativity in learning about light. It is a low-cost project. Participants make and take home a colorful LED light powered entirely by their fingers. Younger visitors "package" the electrical element into their own creation while older visitors solder the electrical parts together and then create their own design. This paper will detail the learning objectives and outcomes of this project as well as how to implement it in an outreach event or classroom.
The 2015 International Year of Light created a wonderful opportunity to bring light and optics events and activities to people of all ages and occupations in Michigan. A large spectrum of events took place; from events held in schools, colleges, and universities targeting various groups of students, to events associated with festivals attended by large crowds. The latter included the Ann Arbor Summer Festival held in June and the Flint Back-to-the-Bricks Festival in August. All events included interactive activities where participants learned hands-on about optics and photonics phenomena and applications. Original demonstrations and kits were developed by the Ann Arbor OSA Local Section and the Optics Society at the University of Michigan, the joint OSA/SPIE student chapter, for use during the events. The activities were funded through the student chapter’s SPIE grant for IYL outreach events and corporate sponsorships. Under the name Michigan Light Project, these groups along with local technology enthusiasts and science clubs delivered several events across Michigan. Other events took place throughout the year in Mid-Michigan through the efforts of faculty and students in the Photonics and Laser Technology program at Baker College of Flint. The outreach events targeted students in K-12. Teachers, counselors, and parents also learned about the importance of optics and photonics in society. The activities developed will continue this year and in the future. The paper will provide details on the completed events and activities along with tips for implementing similar activities and outreach partnerships in other areas.
Outdoor holography is an activity created by the Michigan Light Project during the International Year of Light. Traditional holography is done in dark and quiet rooms. Using a kit from LitiHolo.com, we designed a way to make simple holograms outside in a noisy festival environment.
We have recently explored the Elementary Function method, previously presented by Wald et al (Proc. SPIE
59621G, 2005), and we have demonstrated under what circumstances this method can be used to reduce the
propagation calculations of partially coherent light to two dimensions. In this paper, we examine the methods
used to measure the spatial coherence of a light source in the literature. We present a method based on work
previously shown by Mejia et al (Opt Comm 273 (428-434), 2007) which uses an array of pinholes with one
degree of redundancy. We discuss the design of the pinhole array and present the results of some simulations.
The Applied Optics Group, National University of Ireland Galway is a research centre involved in programmes that cover a wide variety of topics in applied optics and imaging science, including smart optics, adaptive optics, optical scattering and propagation, and engineering optics. The Group have also developed significant outreach programmes both in Primary and Post-Primary schools. It is recognised that there is a need for innovation in Science Education in Ireland and we are committed to working extensively with schools. The main aim of these outreach programmes is to increase awareness and interest in science with students and enhance the communication skills of the researchers working in the Group. The education outreach team works closely with the relevant teachers in both Primary and Post-Primary schools to design and develop learning initiatives to match the needs of the target group of students. The learning programmes are usually delivered in the participating schools during normal class time by a team of Applied Optics specialists. We are involved in running these programmes in both Primary and Post-Primary schools where the programmes are tailored to the curriculum and concentrating on optics and light. The students may also visit the Groups research centre where presentations and laboratory tours are arranged.
It is well-known that calculations of the propagation of partially coherent light, such as those required for
the calculation of two-dimensional image intensities, involve four-dimensional functions. Recently, Wald et
al [Proc SPIE, 59621G, 2005] outlined a method for reducing the four-dimensional problem to a purely twodimensional
one. Instead of an exact modal expansion of the mutual coherence function or cross-spectral density,
an approximate expansion is used, into what we call elementary functions. In this paper, rules of thumb are
developed for fast and efficient computation of the image intensity in a simple partially coherent lithographic
The theory of coherence and propagation of light through imaging systems is well established. For coherent and incoherent sources, the intensity in the image plane can be predicted numerically using a straightforward convolution calculation. Image formation becomes more complicated when dealing with partially coherent light, as treating two-dimensional intensity fields (described by the four-dimensional mutual coherence function in the time domain or the cross-spectral density in the frequency domain) requires evaluating four-dimensional integrals. Thus, calculations are complex, slow to process and place demands on system memory.
We present a variation of a method recently introduced [Wald et al, Proc SPIE, 59621G, 2005], in which elementary functions are used to reduce the integrals to two dimensions for light of relatively high degree of coherence. The method resembles the coherent-mode expansion, but the elementary functions are easier to find and work with than the coherent modes. We outline the method and present some numerical results.
This approach has applications in modelling of photolithographic systems in which partially coherent excimer lasers operating in the Deep Ultra-Violet (DUV) regime have been used for the last decade. An accurate numerical model of such systems could prove useful in solving the classic inverse imaging problem of lithography reticle design.