Modern Optics Labs for Upper Level Undergraduates

Since the MUPEP introductory curriculum and the sophomore contemporary physics sequence gives our students a stronger grounding in waves and quantum mechanics, more advanced topics can be studied at the senior level.  We currently offer two semester-long, 4 credit hour courses: Optics and Laser Physics, and Spectroscopy of Atoms and Molecules.  Student response to these courses has been excellent, resulting in their being two of our most heavily subscribed courses at the senior level.  Written student evaluations of the courses are very favorable, with most noting that even more lab work would be beneficial and that the spectroscopy labs "made quantum mechanics real" for them.  We have upgraded our optics course to a two semester sequence: Laser Physics and Modern Optics; and Spectroscopy of Atoms and Molecules. The optics and atomic physics of lasers is discussed in Laser Physics. Lab exercises involve coherence properties, Gaussian optics, cavity stability, holography, and Fabry-Perot's. Spectroscopy of Atoms and Molecules is mainly a laboratory course. Students first use a prism spectrometer, to view atomic, molecular, and blackbody sources. More advanced techniques are used to obtain progressively higher resolution to observe Zeeman splittings, fine structure, and isotope shifts for example. Recent experiments include saturation spectroscopy, opto-galvanic studies. Also available are an optical tweeezers and (soon) a magneto-optical trap. Lab facilities are also used for demonstration purposes in lower level classes, and for a variety of senior projects. If you would like lab manuals, feel free to e-mail us.

While we are only in the process of writing up our new experiments for publication in refereed journals, we see the results of the program in the students that have participated. There have been a host of undergraduates who have participated in developing the new labs, and they are listed below, along with the lab they worked on and their class standing at the time. These students recieved independent study credit for their efforts.

Laser Physics

Craig Kulesa (Sr.)  Fabry-Perot interferometer lab
Marc Troike (Sr.)

Chris Baird (Jr.)  Stability of He-Ne laser (plasma tube with external mirror)
Mark Chawla (So.)

David Lockwood (Sr.) Stability analysis of resonators: 3 computer based labs using PARAXIA

Mark Carden (So.)  Fiber Optics

Wade Collins (Sr.)  Diode Lasers: tuning with external grating and feedback control

Spectroscopy of Atoms and Molecules

T. J. Ghosh (Jr.)  Raman spectroscopy in Carbon Tetrachloride

Matt Wolf (Jr.)  Zeeman effect measurements

Marc Troike (Sr.)  Optogalvanic effect in Neon
Steven Rittmeyer (Sr.)
Cliff Forsythe (Grad.)
Chris Baird (Sr.)

Craig Kulesa (Sr.)  Isotope shift in Hydrogen/Deuterium
Marc Troike (Sr.)

Jim Faraday (Sr.)  Collisional mixing in Sodium

Jeanne Middleton (Jr.) Single photon interferometry

Brooke Bevis (Jr.)  Optical Tweezers
Jeanne Middleton (Jr.)

We believe that this program has had a positive effect on the above individuals, and their enthusiasm, efforts, and curiosity have had a positive effect on us. This is the real result of previous ILI support as far as we are concerned, and we continue to develop new labs, and share our experiences and ideas with others. Our students also participate in theoretical research.

James Walden (Sr.)  Injecting squeezed light into  a laser

Chris Baird (Jr. - Sr.) Photon statistics of a two level atom immersed in squeezed light

Shohini Ghosh (Jr.)  Cavity QED Lasers

Some of our graduate students have also assisted in developing new labs as part of their studies at Miami. These include

Cliff Forsythe (M. S. '93) and Augusto Catalan (current) Saturation spectroscopy of Rubidium
Ron Adams (current)      Reflection holograms / rainbow holograms

Undergrauduates have also participated in research projects

“Laser with Injected Squeezed Vacuum” - James Walden, mentor P. Rice. This work was presented at QELS ‘92, Phys. Rev. A 50, 4176 (1994).

“Photon Statistics and Spectra of an Atom in a Cavity Driven by Squeezed Light” - Chris Baird, mentor P. Rice. This work was presented at QELS ‘93, and has been submitted to Phys. Rev. A.

We have presented talks at several AAPT meetings in sessions on ILI supported research

Equipment includes an Argon-pumped dye laser, Scanning Fabry-Perot, 2 CCD arrays,...........

*Supported by National Science Foundation Instrumentation and Laboratory Improvement grant #USE-9051252

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