Irvine Valley College was the first school in the United States to have both HeNe and Nd:YAG open-cavity laser educational kits from eLas (formerly PI miCos Campus) successfully integrated into their extensive hands-on Laser Technology program. This paper is presented from two students’ perspective, describing the students’ experiences and including comments from the professors who integrated the laser kits into the curriculum. The main benefits these laser education kits provide for both students and faculty include their specific industrial-quality design for intensive hands-on education. Students learn about laser components and the techniques required to align a laser cavity. Theses laser systems come with lesson plans and experiments that faculty may use as is, or modify to suit a particular emphasis in their curriculum. Once alignment is achieved on a repeatable basis, then many experiments can be performed successfully, such as studying laser mode structure, input current versus output power, and wavelength stability.
Over the past decade, Southern California has seen informal optics education and outreach programs grow substantially,
mainly due to efforts from members of the Optical Society of Southern California (OSSC) and more recently the Optical
Society of America, UC Irvine, Student Chapter. Also, the Optics Institute of Southern California (OISC) has served as a
focal point for many of these programs, as an independent organization working closely with society members and other
partners. This paper provides an update of these programs, including a new OSSC website that provides a new platform
for significantly expanding the member participation efforts.
A test procedure is developed for an infrared laser scene projector, and applied to a projection system that we develop based on digital micromirror technology. The intended use will be for simulation and target training. Resolution and noise are significant parameters for target perception models of infrared imaging systems. System resolution is normally measured as the modulation transfer function (MTF), and its noise modeled through an appropriate signal standard deviation metric. We compare MTF measurements for both mid-wave (MWIR) and long-wave IR (LWIR) bands for an infrared laser scene projector based on the digital micromirror device (DMD). Moreover, we use two complimentary models to characterize imaging camera noise. This provides a quantitative image-quality criterion of system performance.
Two designs for antenna-coupled Ni-NiO-Ni diodes are fabricated and tested for dual-band detection in the millimeter-wave (MMW), 94-GHz, and infrared (IR), 28.3-THz, frequencies. The detector noise, antenna receiving properties, and noise equivalent power (NEP) are measured. The simultaneous dual-band response is verified.
Missile Defense Agency/Advanced Systems, in partnership with both EUTECUS/University of Notre Dame (UND) and ITN Energy Systems/University of Central Florida (UCF) has embarked on developing a multispectral imaging IR sensor. This technology, when matured, could revolutionize IR sensor technology by reducing the need for cooling, eliminating lattice matching and avoiding epitaxial fabrication processes. This paper describes the approaches employed by both EUTECUS/UND and ITN/UCF teams to integrate nano-antenna technology with the existing cellular neural network (CNN) processor to produce multispectral IR sensors. This effort is a leap into the performance realm where biological systems operate.
IR lasers are widely used in electro-optical applications, especially in detector characterization systems. These lasers can be extremely sensitive to fluctuations in the operational temperature of their cavity and other environmental factors. Due to these influences, the laser output signal normally fluctuates randomly. These variations make it difficult to characterize the laser waist position and exact focus, which in turn causes difficulty with detector measurement. We apply a multivariate statistical approach to characterize and filter these variations and to calculate the "best focus" of a carbon dioxide laser operating at 10.6 µm. Using this method, the "best focus" can be calculated with great accuracy and can be easily implemented during postsignal processing. Also, this technique can potentially be applied to other situations in which laser signal instability is significant.
Wavelength tuning is demonstrated in an antenna-coupled infrared microbolometer. With a 300-mV control voltage, we observed a tuning range of 0.5 µm near 10 µm. A metal-oxide-semiconductor capacitor underneath the antenna arms causes the shift of resonance wavelength with applied voltage. We develop a device model that agrees well with measured results.
A frequency selective surface (FSS) is designed and fabricated to resonate in the infrared. This IR FSS is designed using Periodic Method of Moments (PMM) software and is based on circuit-analog resonance of square loop conducting elements. The FSS is fabricated via electron beam lithography. The spectral characteristics of this surface are studied in the mid-infrared employing a spectral radiometer. The IR FSS may operate as an emissive narrowband source or reflective bandpass filter centered at a wavelength of 6.5μm, sharply cutting off short wavelength radiation and gradually filtering longer wavelengths. The addition of a superstrate layer, intended to further shape the FSS spectral signature, is also studied and the results discussed.
We present a design for an IR scene projector for live-fire training applications, based on modification of a commercial-off-the-air laser-light-scene scanner retrofitted with a CO2 laser and associated IR optics. Design goals include a reusable or at least very inexpensive shoot- through projection screen. This application calls for a wide projection field as compared to typical IR scene-projection systems intended for hardware in the loop testing.