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Laboratory Manual Laser and Optics Section

Project QCC TechASCEND

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0206101 Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.


Table of Contents

Topic Introduction #1 Alignment Skills #2 Refraction and Total Internal Reflection #3 Lenses, Image Formation, and Telescopes #4 Reflection of Polarized Light #5 Spectroscopy #5B Monochromaters #6 Analog Oscilloscopes #7 Prisms #8 Beam Expanders and Spatial Filters #9 Holography #10 Highpower Laser Demonstration References Budget

Page 2 3 10 18 25 35 47 54 56 60 66 74 76 77



This lab manual is designed for a program which originated at Queensborough Community College to introduce you to careers in technology in the areas of lasers and fiber optics. You will be working with stateoftheart equipment that is both costly and fragile. Please be careful when operating any of the equipment set up for your experiments because if you are not careful you could be injured and the equipment could become damaged. The following guidelines will help you to use the equipment properly and safely (See reference #5):

*When you enter the room and find the equipment set up on the lab bench, DO NOT TOUCH anything until the instructor has explained the experiment and the safe use of the equipment

*If you want to try out something with the equipment, please ask your instructor for advice.

*Do not force anything to move beyond its normal operating range. In other words, if a knob doesnt seem to want to turn anymore in one particular direction, do not try to force it

* You will receive and sign a separate sheet dealing with laser safety, but it is so important that it will be repeated here: NEVER AIM A LASER AT ANOTHER PERSON

Please be ready to begin as soon as the session begins. If at all possible, everyone should arrive at the lab promptly. Otherwise, you will miss the explanation of the lab exercise for that week. Finally, please try to attend each session. We are here to help, so please, ask questions and enjoy the project!


Information about careers in technology can be found at: http://www.qcc.cuny.edu/physics/lfot/LFOT_FAQs.asp

Laboratory #1: Alignment Skills Exercise

Whats Cool About Alignment Skills? It may not sound like much, but being able to align a laser beam is something that most people cant even imagine doing. Surveyors do it to measure distances much more accurately than they could with the old equipment. Anyone working in a laser company, building, repairing, testing, and installing laser systems must have good alignment skills. Alignment skills even come into play if you work for a gun company that uses laser guided scopes! The military uses lasers to accurately aim at their targets, so their equipment must be built and maintained by someone who knows how to align a laser beam. Being able to align a lowpower laser can also be used to get a highpower laser up and running. Basically, almost any job in the laser field requires good alignment skills. This lab will show you how to get started. Background Laser beam alignment, and alignment of optical components in general, is a very important skill for anyone wishing to work with optical systems. Alignment means getting the laser beam to follow the path that you need it to follow in order for a device or experiment to work properly. For example, when a laser is being built, usually another laser is used to align the new laser in order to get it running for the first time. Alignment is also important for people using surveying equipment which can contain lasers in order to make a measurement, the laser must be aimed at the correct target. Finally, if you are setting up an optical experiment involving many mirrors, beam splitters, lenses, and other components, they all must be aligned so that the laser used in the experiment will be properly directed through the various mirrors and lenses.

Page4of77 Optical alignment requires skill, but also patience and steady hands. It requires the use of a specific method, not just random adjustments in the hope of stumbling onto the right position. It also requires very small corrections when the system gets close to final alignment, so it is important not to get impatient and tweak things too much when you start getting close! If you follow the method described in this writeup, you will begin to develop good alignment skills. It, of course, takes a lot of practice to get proficient at it, but every time you do it, it gets a little easier than it was the previous time. If you have trouble, dont give up! Take a break, then ask for help from the instructor.

Procedure In this exercise you will learn to use mirrors to direct a laser beam along a specific axis and through two pinhole apertures. This is very much like the process used to align a new laser that is being built. This experiment is divided into three parts. In part one, you will align the laser beam to pass through two pinholes set up in a Z pattern. In part two, you will adjust the path of the laser beam to not only pass through the pinholes, but to follow a straightline Zpattern mapped out by masking tape between the laser, mirror, and pinholes. In part three, an extra pinhole and mirror will be added and you will align the laser beam to pass through all three pinholes.

The experimental setup is shown below in Figure 1:

HeNe Laser pinhole 1

mirror 1

mirror 2 pinhole 2 white card


Figure 1 Experimental Layout for Part One Part One As shown in Figure 1, you will need to manipulate two mirrors in order to make the laser beam pass through both pinhole apertures. This is because you need to control both the position and the angle of the laser beam. Do not make any adjustments on the laser itself this was set by the teacher and should be left alone. Also, do not move the pinholes.

First, you will rotate the first mirror holder gently clockwise and counter clockwise to make the laser beam pass through the first pinhole and strike the second mirror. You may also slightly tilt the first mirror within the holder to make the laser beam go up and down a little bit, but you do not have a lot of play in this direction. If the laser beam is set at the correct height for the pinholes, you should not need to tilt the mirror too much. By looking at Figure 1, you can see that the horizontal adjustment of mirror 1 will control the position of the laser beam as it strikes the first pinhole, and the horizontal adjustment of mirror 2 will control the position of the laser beam as it strikes the second pinhole. You must alternate between adjusting the position of both mirrors until the beam is lined up with the both pinholes the vertical height will only be slightly adjusted by slightly tilting the mirrors in their holders, but again, they cannot and should not need to be tilted too much if the laser height is set correctly. Alternate back and forth between rotating the mirrors clockwise and counterclockwise to get the laser beam through both pinholes. You may also have to slide the mirrors left and right a little to keep the laser beam on them. If you have any question as to the vertical alignment of the laser with the pinholes, ask your instructor. Do not attempt to move the laser yourself. Hints about alignment will be given in class and are shown below, although you only really have to worry about it in one direction: horizontal.


As an example, let's say that your laser beam is misaligned horizontally as follows, and, lets insert a second pinhole to demonstrate the alignment procedure:

mirror 2

The beam is passing through the first pinhole, but is not passing through the second. The way to fix this alignment problem is to first raise the position of the laser beam by rotating mirror 1 counterclockwise and then tilt the laser beam downward by rotating mirror 2 clockwise to obtain a level beam which should be horizontally lined up with the bottom pinhole: Raise: Tilt:

**Note that the first step of raising the position of the laser beam appears to make the alignment problem worse, but it is the only way to fix the alignment problem.** Keep this example in mind as you work with your mirrors when something is misaligned, you must adjust both position and tilt. With your equipment, you can do both by rotating the mirror mount clockwise or counterclockwise, but you may occasionally have to also slide the mirror left or right to keep the laser beam on the next mirror.

Remember to always be aware of where laser beams go when you change their path and do not ever look straight into the path of a laser beam, even a weak one. Make

Page7of77 sure your beam is not shooting across the room or onto anyone elses table. If it is, use a book or anything handy and safe to block the stray beam, which is not part of your experiment, form going off of your table or assigned work area. Finally, the slight tilt in the vertical direction is not what is meant by tilt here this is for the horizontal alignment only as said before, if the setup was initially correct, there should be no need for massive vertical alignment.

Part Two Once the horizontal alignment is completed, you must refine it by making sure the laser beam follows a taped pathway that your instructor will have on the table before the lab begins. The taped pathway will trace out a Zpattern from the laser to the white card at the end of the setup. Not only must your laser beam pass through the two slits, but it must also always be directly above the masking tape on the table. This requires you to refine your adjustments a little, gives you some more practice, and makes sure everyone in the lab group gets a turn. Laser beam alignment is not difficult, but it is tedious and it gets MUCH easier if you practice it a lot. In the beginning, it will seem to take a long time, but if you put in the effort, soon, you will be able to align a set up like this in minutes. Practice is the key, so if you get frustrated, remember, everyone does at first, and you will get better if you do not give up. Take a break, let someone else have a turn, then try again, but before this lab is over, make sure every group member is capable of getting that laser beam through both pinholes. You will need these alignment skills for future labs, and especially if you would like to become an optical lab technician!

Part Three

If you have successfully completed parts one and two of the experiment, try this: add a third mirror in place of the white card, and a third pinhole after that mirror. Place

Page8of77 the white card at the end. Now, repeat the above procedures to make the laser beam go through all three pinholes and strike the white card at the end. Make sure everyone in the group can do this, and before you begin, mess up the alignment so you must start from scratch with the first two pinholes. Again, practice, practice, practice!

Equipment List From the Daigger SciEd Warehouse Catalog, 2005 www.daigger.com, 18006217193 Catalog Location p. 75 p.75 p. 76 Number DH3529A DH3361A DH3509 Name HeNe Laser, 0.5 mW Light Box & Optics Set Economy Optics Kit Price Quantity $410.00 $85.09 $24.00 (1) (2) (4)

From the Edmund Optics America Optics & Optical Instruments Catalog, 2005 www.edmundoptics.com Catalog Location p. 144 Number G56879 Name 4x4 pos. lift Price Quantity $146.00 (1)

This equipment list provides the optics holders (Economy Optics Kit), round mirrors, laser, white card with holder, slits (Light Box & Optics Set slits can be taped to form pinhole apertures and held with holders from Economy Optics Kit). This will allow the students to position the mirrors, in the horizontal plane only, to see how difficult it is to get the laser to make the zpath through the slits, which are mounted on the same type of mount as the mirrors and are therefore at the same height. This experiment can be done for $750.18, but many of the parts are needed for other experiments, and the bulk of the cost is the laser, which is needed in almost every other experiment, so the price should not be fully considered until the total equipment list is finished.



Laboratory #2: Refraction and Total Internal Reflection

Whats Cool About Refraction and Total Internal Reflection? Any time a beam of light passes from one material to another, refraction occurs. Refraction is the basis for how lenses direct light, so you must understand refraction in order to understand how lenses work. Most optical systems that use laser beams use lenses, and in order to figure out what the lens will do to the laser beam, you need to know about refraction. Refraction also happens in our atmosphere, so military planes and spy satellites using detectors and guidance systems must take refraction into account. Total internal reflection (TIR) is the reason laser light is able to travel through optical fiber if you want to be a fiber technician, understanding TIR is the first step. It is a way to make a mirror of sorts out of almost any material, depending on the angle of the light and the material the light is coming from. Its not hard to understand, but understanding it can lead you towards a career in fiber optics. TIR can also be used to redirect laser beams without using a regular mirror. You will do this in this lab with a regular piece of plastic. Refraction Background In this exercise you will learn how light bends when it goes from air into another material, like glass or plastic. This bending is called refraction its the reason why, if you are standing in a pool of water and you reach for something at the bottom, like a coin, the coin isnt sitting where you think it the light bends, but your brain assumes the light is traveling in a straight line (see Figure 1). Refraction is important because without it, optical fibers would not work. What you will learn in this experiment relates directly to how optical fibers are designed to transmit information.

Page11of77 your view of the coin

air water

coin is here

you think the coin is here

Figure 1 Illustration of how light bends when it crosses the boundary between two materials

Materials have what is called an index of refraction which tells us how much, and in what direction, the light will bend when it enters that material. The index of refraction in a perfect vacuum (totally empty space) is 1.000. In air it is close to, but not exactly, equal to one it is 1.0003, but for practical purposes we can use 1.0 for the index of refraction of air. In glass, the index of refraction is usually around 1.5, and in water, it is 1.33. Notice how the index of refraction for various materials is greater than 1. This is because the index of refraction is defined as the ratio of the speed of light in vacuum to the speed of light in the material. Light travels faster in vacuum than in any other material, so that means the index of refraction must always be greater than 1 for all real materials.

If light hits a boundary between glass and air, as shown in Figure 2, the light will bend as it crosses the boundary it will change directions, just like it did in the swimming pool example. The direction of the light is described by the angle at which it strikes the surface, measured with respect to the surface normal ( a line perpendicular to the surface), as shown in Figure 2.


surface normal q1 n1 n2 q2 light goes here your eye thinks the light goes here air glass

Figure 2 Light coming from air and entering a piece of glass gets bent at the surface.

The real path of the light in the glass is shown by the solid line, while the path your eye thinks the light takes is shown by the diagonal dotted line.

There is a simple way to predict how much the light will bend when it crosses the boundary between two materials. If the light is incident from a material with index of refraction n1 at an angle of q1 and, after it crosses the boundary into a material with index n2 it is at an angle q2, the equation relating all these quantities is called Snells Law: n1sinq1 = n2sinq2 In this exercise you will figure out the index of refraction of a piece of glass by tracing a light ray through it and measuring the angles q1 and q2.

Page13of77 Part I Refraction Procedure In this part of the lab, you will draw a diagram like that of Figure 2 using a piece of lucite (well call it glass to make it simpler) and a laser beam. Since it is not possible to trace the path of the laser beam with your pencil, you will first mark the path with pins, then remove the pins and draw straight lines through the pin holes in the paper. Follow these stepbystep instructions:

1. Place the glass plate on a sheet of paper over the cork board. Trace the outline of the glass on the paper.

2. Turn on the laser and aim it at the glass so that it is passing through the front and back surface of the glass at some angle other than straighton.

3. Mark the beam path on the paper by inserting pins along the beam path on both sides of the glass. Two pins on each side will be enough for you to mark the path of the laser beam.

4. Remove the pins and the glass block and draw straight lines through the pin holes up to, but not through, the glass block outline. 5. Now draw the laser beam path through the glass by connecting the entry and exit points (connect the two lines you drew in step 4).

6. Draw a line perpendicular to the glass surface at the point where the beam entered the glass and again where it exited the glass. Your paper should now look something like this:



outline of glass block

lines drawn through pin holes


Measure the angles q1 and q2 and, using n1 = 1.0, use Snells Law to calculate the index of refraction of the glass.

Total Internal Reflection Background As you can see from Part I, when the light entered the glass, its angle with respect to the surface normal decreased in other words, q1 > q2. As you can see from your drawing, when the light exited the glass on the other side, its angle with respect to the normal increased compared to when it was inside the glass: q1 < q2. This makes sense because when the light comes back out of the glass, it should be at the same angle it was at when it entered (q1), so it must bend away from the normal when it exits the glass because it bent towards the normal when it entered the glass.

The result of all of this is that when light goes from a highindex material to a lowindex material, its angle will always increase as it makes the transition. So, when going from glass to air, if we keep increasing the angle at which the light hits the boundary, the exit angle will have to keep increasing. This cant go on forever we will eventually reach the point where the exit angle will be 90 degrees the beam will be parallel to the glass surface. If we increase the angle farther, the light will not be able to

Page15of77 exit the glass it will be reflected back into the glass as if the glassair boundary were like a mirror. This is called total internal reflection (TIR) and it is the reason that optical fibers are able to transmit light efficiently. The core of the fiber contains a highindex material and the surrounding cladding is made of a lowindex material the light therefore gets trapped in the core and totally internally reflects as it travels down the fiber.

The condition for TIR comes from Snells Lawwe simply plug in q2 = 90 degrees and solve for q1, which is then called the critical angle it is the angle above which TIR will occur. So, sinqc = 1/n2 if we are going from glass into air, and n2 is the index of the glass. This means that any light which strikes the boundary at an angle greater than qc will be reflected back into the glass. If it strikes the boundary at an angle less than qc, it will still be able to cross the boundary.

Part II TIR Procedure You will use TIR to find the index of refraction of a glass semicircle and an acrylic one, and you will see if there is any difference in your calculations.

1. Place the semicircle made of glass on a sheet of paper over the corkboard and trace its outline. Remove the plastic temporarily. Mark the center of the flat side of the semicircle. Draw a normal (perpendicular line) through that center. Put the plastic back on its outline.

2. Aim the laser through the semicircle from the curved side and try to hit the center of the flat side. You should get something which looks like this:


refracted ray q

incident ray

reflected rays

Note that, even before you reach the critical angle, there will be a reflected ray from the flat side and from the curved side. This is normal light always reflects a little bit when it hits a piece of plastic or glass. This is NOT TIR though as long as the refracted ray is still coming out on the other side. 3. Increase the angle of incidence q by rotating the paper and the semicircle together until the refracted ray is parallel to the flat side of the semicircle. Make sure the laser is still hitting the center of the flat side as you rotate! The point at which the refracted ray starts to disappear (when it is parallel to the flat side) is the onset of TIR. At this point, stop rotating, mark the incident ray with pins, and remove the semicircle.

4. Connect the incident ray to the normal on the flat side and measure the angle that the incident ray makes with this normal (the angle marked q in the drawing above). This is the critical angle qc. Use it in the equation

sinqc = 1/n2

Page17of77 to calculate the index of refraction (n2) of the glass semicircle.

5. Repeat this procedure with the acrylic semicircle again, this will give everyone more practice and will allow you to see the difference in working with different materials which may look the same, but are not scientifically the same.

Equipment List Fro mtheDaiggerSciEdWarehouseCatalog,2005 www.daigger.com, 18006217193 Catalog Location p. 76 p. 76 Number DH9283A DH9283B Name Prism & Lens Set, Glass Price Quantity $61.00 (1) (1)

Prism & Lens Set, Acryl. $51.00

This set, together with the laser from lab #1 and the rectangular piece of lucite from the Light Box & Optics Set from lab #1, contains the rectangle and semicircle required to perform all aspects of this experiment. It also adds a prism, so this experiment may be expanded and the prism used to further study geometrical constructs of Snells law (see lab #7). You still have to find some corkboard, paper, and pins somewhere optics catalogs tend not to stock such things, but you can purchase them at Staples stores or any office supply store. This lab adds another $112 and change to the equipment total, but also provides components needed for the lenses lab and the prisms lab.


Laboratory #3: Lenses, Image Formation, and Telescopes

Whats Cool About Lenses, Image Formation, and Telescopes? Lenses redirect light and it would be very difficult to form images or focus light at all without them. You could do it with mirrors, but lenses work in almost the same way, so once you understand one, you understand the other. Image formation is interesting because it relates to things like holography, cameras, detectors for military applications, photocopiers, laser printers, and of course TV and movies! This is just a partial list of things that use lenses and images, but any kind of movie or photo projector can be understood once lenses and image formation is understood. Finally, telescopes use lenses (and mirrors) to help us understand our universe. Galileo created the first telescope using two lenses, which is something you will also do. Without lenses and image formation, our information about our world and our universe, and our ability to record that information would not exist, and the entertainment industry would almost not exist either! Business would not be able to print and copy documents with the quality we have today, and life as you know it would be very different. Knowing about how lenses form images is a very powerful skill that can help you become an optical technician. Background In this exercise you will learn how lenses are used, individually and in combination, to form images. You will also build a simple telescope and see exactly what it does to the image of the original object. Lenses can be either converging or diverging, depending on what they do to light rays which hit them. If parallel rays strike a converging lens, they get focused to a point by the lens, as shown in Figure 1. If parallel rays strike a diverging lens, they spread out after passing through the lens, but they look like they came from a single point in front of the lens, as shown in Figure 2.


incoming light rays

image formed here

Figure 1 Image formation by a converging lens. This image is a real image. incoming light rays

image formed here

Figure 2 Image formation by a diverging lens. This image is a virtual image. The equation which tells us where an image is formed for a given lens is: 1 1 1 = + f o i lens object image o i

Figure 3 Diagram illustrating the quantities given in the lens equation.

Page20of77 where f is the focal length of the lens, o is the objects distance from the lens, and i is the images distance from the lens. If you place the object very, very far away from the lens, then o will be very large and 1/o will be very small, so the image distance i will equal the focal distance f. This is the example shown in both Figures 1 and 2 an object which is very, very far away sends light rays to the lens which are almost parallel and can be considered parallel.

The equation above can be used for both converging and diverging lenses. If the lens is converging, the focal length gets plugged in as a positive number if the lens is diverging, the focal length gets plugged in as a negative number. Then, if the image distance i turns out to be positive, the image is located on the opposite side of the lens compared to the object. This is called a real image. If the image distance i turns out to be negative, then the image is located on the same side of the lens as the object. This is called a virtual image. The difference between a real image and a virtual image is simple: a real image has real light rays passing through it, whereas a virtual image is an image that appears to be at a certain point in space, but the light rays dont actually go to that point. Figure 1 shows an example of a real image, whereas Figure 2 shows an example of a virtual image the rays do not actually converge on the opposite side of the lens, but they appear to converge on the object side of the lens. We will use different lenses and different object distances to find the focal lengths of some individual lenses, and then we will use some lenses in combination to build a simple telescope. The way to deal with combinations of lenses is simply to take them one at a time. You apply the lens equation to the object and the first lens, and you find the image location as if the second lens werent there. Then, you use the image from the first lens as the object for the second lens, and you apply the lens equation again. This means that you must measure the distance o from the second lens to the image from the first lens (which is now your new object). The value for i that you get this time is the location of the final image for the twolens combination. If you had more

Page21of77 lenses in combination, you would just keep on applying the lens equation to each one in turn. Figure 4 illustrates the twolens example.


lens 1
object for lens 2

lens 2

final image

image from o lens 1 i o i

Figure 4 Illustration of a twolens combination.

A simple telescope can be made with a twolens combination. A telescope takes parallel input rays (because it looks at stars that are very far away) and magnifies them, producing parallel rays at the output. Because the output rays are parallel, your eye does not visualize the image from a telescope as being at a specific location rather, it looks lie the planet or star is floating out there somewhere. You will not see this effect in the lab demonstration because the telescope you will build will be used to view an object close by, but if you ever look through a telescope at a planet, you will notice that you have no idea how far away the image of the planet is!

The way to construct a twolens telescope is simple remember that we said that parallel input rays focus at the focal point of the lens? Well, if you apply that theory to both ends of the telescope, you will see that you will get parallel rays out for parallel rays in when the lenses are separated by the sum of their focal lengths. This is illustrated in Figure 5.


parallel input rays

f1 + f2

parallel output rays

Figure 5 A twolens telescope. The lenses have focal lengths f1 and f2 they are separated by a distance f1 + f2 to produce parallel output rays when parallel input rays come into the telescope. Procedure Single Lens 1. Place your light source (candle or flashlight) as far away from the lens as you can on the optical rail. Use an f = 15 cm doubleconvex lens and find a clear image of the light source measure the distance of this image from the lens it should be 15 cm, the focal distance, because o is large in this case. How close is your measured value to this theoretical value? Is the image rightsideup or upsidedown? Take notes in the spaces provided here.

2. Put the 15 cm lens on the rail and put the light source 20 cm in front of it. Find the sharpest image and measure its distance from the lens.

3. Use the lens equation with o = 20 cm and f = 15 cm to calculate what i, the image distance, should be. Compare this with your measured result. 4. Repeat step 3 with the light source located 30 cm from the lens.

Page23of77 Two lenses Place the light source 20 cm in front of the 15 cm lens. Place the other 15 cm lens 30 cm behind the first 15 cm lens. Find the sharpest image formed by the second lens and measure its distance from the lens. Use the lens equation to determine this image distance.

If time permits, repeat this experiment with one of the 15 cm lenses replaced by the 40 cm lens.

Simple Telescope Use the both lenses (the 15 cm and the 40 cm) to construct a telescope using the guidelines given in the background section. If it works, you should be able to look through the lens back towards the light source and see an inverted image of it. Is the image larger than the source or smaller?

Diverging Lenses 1. Use the 15 cm doubleconcave lens and repeat the singlelens experiment and calculations. Did you get an image this time? If not, why not? What did the calculations tell you? A class discussion of the differences in results between using a doubleconvex lens and a doubleconcave lens should follow these procedures.

Page24of77 Equipment List Fro mtheDaiggerSciEdWarehouseCatalog,2005 www.daigger.com, 18006217193 Catalog Location p. 76 p. 76 p. 76 Number DH3508 DH3508A DH3508C Name Meter Stick Opt. Bench Price Quantity $29.00 (2) (2) (2)

38 mm double convex lens $5.00 38 mm dbl. concave lens $5.00

All lenses have focal length of 150 mm.

From the Edmund Optics America Optics & Optical Instruments Catalog, 2005 www.edmundoptics.com Catalog Location p.26 Number G45298 Name dbl.convex 40cm fl lens Price Quantity $33.80 (1)

The additional cost is $72.80, but the 40 cm lens is also needed for experiment #6 on beam expanders and spatial filters and the meter stick optical bench and lenses are used in numerous other experiments.


Laboratory #4: Reflection of Polarized Light

Whats Cool About Polarized Light? Polarized light is all around you every day. It is used in common items such

as sunglasses, computer screens, and wrist watches, but it also has many applications in hightech devices like lasers, optical radiation detectors, and telecommunications systems. Most light that reflects off of things like car hoods, windows, and the street is polarized, so thats why polarized sunglasses are good. They cut down on glare. Computer screens and wrist watches that use liquidcrystal displays (LCDs) use polarizers so that you can read the letters and numbers the polarizer creates the difference between the black numbers and grey background on a digital watch, for example (see Reference #4 for more information on LCD displays and polarization). Lasers need polarizers so that the light emitted has only one direction of oscillation (well discuss that later), which is vital for many experiments. Much research that uses laser light requires it to be polarized. That means, not only does the laser need a polarizer, but the optics in the rest of the experiment might need a polarizing coating on them in order to work right. Similarly, detectors might look for light of only one kind of polarization, which can increase their sensitivity and effectiveness, like for military uses and other applications. Finally, fiberoptic telecommunications systems use polarized light to cut down on loss and other complicated effects which can degrade the signal. So you see, understanding polarization is very important for an optical, laser, or fiber optics technician! Background The purpose of this laboratory experiment is to study the reflection characteristics of polarized light as its angle of incidence and polarization are varied. Whenever light is incident on an optical surface there are three things which can happen the light can be reflected, transmitted, or absorbed. For most optical surfaces all three of these things happen, but usually one of them will dominate. For example,

Page26of77 you know that a glass window transmits light, but actually it reflects 4% of the light which is incident upon it. Similarly, a mirror is primarily a reflecting surface, but a very small percentage of the light is transmitted through most mirrors. For purposes of this lab, we will be ignoring absorption.

Polarization deals with which way the electric field part of the light is oscillating. Light is an electromagnetic wave which contains both electric and magnetic fields that oscillate (move up and down) as they travel they look like the kind of wave youd see if you tied a rope to the wall and shook your hand up and down. This type of wave is called sinusoidal and looks like the wave shown in Figure 1.

direction of travel direction of oscillation

Figure 1 An example of a sine wave the electric and magnetic fields which make up a light wave oscillate like this as they travel.

The wave shown in figure 1 is called a transverse wave because the direction of oscillation is perpendicular to the direction of travel of the wave. Now, remember that light travels in threedimensional space, whereas the pictures we draw here are only twodimensional. The actual light wave can oscillate in the direction shown in Figure 1 (up and down on the page), or it can oscillate in and out of the page, or any direction in between. If the direction of oscillation of the wave varies randomly as the wave travels, and it does not favor any one particular direction, then the light is unpolarized.

Page27of77 A polarizer is an optical component that restricts the direction of oscillation of the wave to a particular direction. There are many ways to do this, but in this lab, we will only be concerned with what is called linearly polarized light, which means that it is either vertically or horizontally polarized. If the light is vertically polarized, for example, it can only oscillate in the vertical direction. If it is horizontally polarized, it can only oscillate in the horizontal direction. In this lab, you will see that polarization affects the way light reflects off of a piece of glass and we can use this property to turn unpolarized light into polarized light. Lets now take a look at what happens when light reflects off of a boundary between two different materials, for example, glass and air.

The amount of reflection and transmission which occurs at the boundary between two materials is determined by their indices of refraction (recall from lab #2). For normal incidence, meaning the light strikes the boundary perpendicular to it, or straight on, the reflectance R (defined as the reflected beam intensity divided by the incident beam intensity) is given by R = {[n1 n2]/[n1 + n2]}2

Where n1 and n2 represent the indices of refraction for the two materials it does not matter which is the "entrance" media and which is the "exit" media because, as you can see, the equation is symmetric in n1 and n2 , meaning that if you swap them it makes no difference. So, for the example of ordinary window glass, if we use an index of refraction n1 = 1.5 and the index n2 = 1.0 for air, the above equation tells us that the reflectance at the air/glass interface is 4%. This means that any time light hits regular window glass, 4% of it is reflected back rather than being transmitted through. Fresnel's Laws of Reflection tells us that when the angle of incidence is anything other than normal (zero degrees) the reflectance will depend on the polarization of the

Page28of77 incident beam this means that the amount of reflected light will be different for horizontal polarization than for vertical polarization. The way the light will behave as the angle of incidence is changed is shown in Figures 2 and 3. Figures 2 and 3 show

reflectance as a function of angle of incidence for both s and p polarizations (this is the shorthand way to denote vertical and horizontal polarization directions). Figure 2 represents the situation when the light is coming from air and reflecting off of the glass surface, whereas Figure 3 shows the case where the light starts in glass and reflects off of the boundary with the air. Notice that Figure 3 shows qc, the critical angle (recall from lab #2). Beyond the critical angle, the light cannot escape the glass it experiences total internal reflection.

1.2 Reflectance 1 0.8 0.6 0.4 0.2 0 0 20 40 60 80 100 angle(Degrees) R p R s

Figure 2 Reflectance as a function of angle of incidence for the case of light coming from air and reflecting off of glass.


1.2 1 Reflectance 0.8 0.6 0.4 0.2 0 0 20 40 60 80 100 angle(degrees) R s R p

Figure 3 Reflectance as a function of angle of incidence for the case of light coming from glass and reflecting off of the boundary with air. Note that in both figures 2 and 3 for ppolarization there is an angle for which the reflectance is equal to zero. This angle is called Brewster's angle and it is defined by the equation tan qB = n2/n1.

Recall from lab #2 the formula for the critical angle: sin qC = n2/n1.

Page30of77 We will not be studying total internal reflection (TIR) during this laboratory exercise, but you should recognize that TIR is the reason why the curve in Figure 3 does not extend out to 90 degrees like the one in Figure 2. So, we see that there is an angle, Brewsters angle, at which ppolarized light can be made to disappear when it reflects off of a surface, leaving only spolarized light. This property of reflected light is very useful for generating polarized light if an unpolarized beam of light is made to reflect off a surface sitting at Brewster's angle, the resulting reflected light will be linearly polarized. Specifically, it will be spolarized light. This method is sometimes used to ensure that the output beam of a laser is linearly polarized. This property is also the reason why polarized sunglasses work well. When you go outside and see a lot of glare, that usually comes from sunlight reflecting off of buildings, roadways, and cars. This reflected light will be mostly s polarized. Polarized sunglasses are designed to block this spolarized light, leaving only ppolarized light. This reduces glare and makes everything easier to look at. In this lab, you will be conducting a series of experiments that will allow you to observe and determine Brewster's angle for a glass prism. Procedure You may enter your data in the tables provided below. You will do a series of experiments to try to see the difference between reflected light when it is horizontally polarized vs. vertically polarized. The experimental apparatus should look like Figure 4. The linear polarizer is there to make sure the polarization is vertical or horizontal, as needed.
linear polarizer glass prism

HeNe laser

rotation stage


power meter

Figure 4 Experimental setup for reflectance measurements as a function of angle of incidence.

Part I.A. SPolarization (perpendicular) Reflection as a Function of Incident Angle 1. The light incident on the prism is initially set to be vertically polarized. If the rotation stage is set at 0 degrees, the laser beam should be retroreflecting (going back exactly the way it came). If it is not, fix it at this time. 2. Rotate the rotation stage in 5degree increments and align the power meter with the reflected beam each time. Record the power reading for each increment. Take data up to an angle of incidence of 80 degrees.

Part I.B. PPolarization (parallel) Reflection as a Function of Incident Angle 1. Rotate the polarizing film by 90 degrees this rotates the polarization of the laser beam by 90 degrees. The beam is now horizontally polarized, in the plane of incidence. 2. Repeat step 2 of Part I.A.

Part I.C. Unpolarized Light (simulation) Reflection as a Function of Incident Angle 1. Rotate the polarizing film to an angle of 45 degrees with respect to the horizontal, so it is half p and half spolarized.

Page32of77 2. Repeat step 2 of Part I.A.

Part II. Reflection as a Function of Polarization Angle at Fixed Angle of Incidence 1. Set the rotation stage of the prism at an angle of 57 degrees. Leave it at this setting for this part of the experiment.

2. Rotate the polarizing film from 0 to 45 degrees in 5degree increments and record the power readings of the reflected beam. You may enter your results in the table below. Your instructor will have to rig up a way to measure how much the polarizing film is being rotated this depends on the equipment available at your school.

After you have taken all of this data, have your instructor switch the glass prism out and out the acrylic prism in and repeat your measurements. Note any differences and discuss them. Do you expect the acrylic to perform perform the same way as the glass? Why or why not? A class discussion should be held after all the data is taken and the groups have time to analyze it., this can be a twoweek project, with the glass prism being used one week, the acrylic started the first week and then finished the second week, and a discussion of the results the second week. Again, the purpose of using the two different prisms is not only to see the difference (if any) in resulted, but to get more practice at alignment, data collection, data analysis, and discussion of results. Being able to draw conclusions from your results is as important as being able to obtain them is!

Results Your experimental results should look like the results shown in Figure 2 the s polarized light power should gradually rise with increasing angle of incidence. The p polarized light reflected power should go to zero at some angle this is Brewsters angle. Calculate what is should be from the formula above, using 1.5 as the index of

Page33of77 refraction for the glass and 1.0 for air, and compare your calculated value to your experimental value. What should the data from part C do? Well, since it contains an equal mix of s and ppolarized light, it should look like it would fit in between the curves of Figure 2. Finally, the data from Part II should show you that spolarized light will reflect off of the glass prism when it is set at Brewsters angle, but p polarized light will not. This means your reflected power when the halfwave plate is set at zero degrees should be high and the reflected power when the halfwave plate is set at 45 degrees should be close to zero. What happened with the acrylic prism?

Table for Results of Part I (glass, above, acrylic, below):

Page34of77 Glass Angle of incidence 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 55 60 65 70 75 80 Acrylic Angle of incidence 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 55 60 65 70 75 80 Power Part I.A. Power Part I.B. Power Part I.C. Power Part I.A. Power Part I.B. Power Part I.C.

Page35of77 Table for Results of Part II (glass, left, acrylic, right):

Angle of incidence 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45

Power Angle of incidence 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 Power

Page36of 77

Equipment List From the Edmund Optics America Optics & Optical Instruments Catalog, 2005 www.edmundoptics.com Catalog Location p. 133 p.120 p.128 p. 128 Number G53027 G56929 G03649 G36499 Name Rotary Assem. w/hold. Bench Plate Post Holders 6.0 Mounting Posts 4.0 Price Quantity $174.10 $60.00 $23.10 $10.00 (2) (1) (2) (2)

From the Daigger SciEd Warehouse Catalog, 2005 Catalog Location p. 76 Number DH15012 Name Light Meter Price Quantity $174.00 (1)

Use the above equipment with the prisms from the Prism & Lens Set from Lab #2. This adds an additional $474.30 to the equipment total, but the rotary holder, bench plate, posts and post holders are also needed for thee spectroscopy lab. The instructor will need to acquire some polaroid vertically polarizing slides and a method to mount and rotate them in measured 5 degree increments (or do the best you can to simulate this), which should be available already in the HS science lab.

Page37of 77

Laboratory #5: Spectroscopy

Whats Cool About Spectroscopy? Spectroscopy is the science of breaking multicolored light down into its individual, pure component colors (wavelengths) so that you can see exactly which colors are present in the light you are examining. Whats the big deal about that? Its amazing, because there is so much you can do with this skill. This is how forensic scientists identify unknown substances at crime scenes this is how astronomers can tell us what gases are contained in the atmosphere of Mars (or any other planet) this is how scientists can identify the chemicals present in any unknown sample given to them, if they have spectroscopy available to them. This is such a powerful tool, it has allowed us to learn about the nature of the universe, how the universe was formed, how the planets were formed, what they are made of, and from this information, scientists can figure out other information, like why the planets contain certain elements from the periodic table, and why they dont contain others.

Background The reason this works is because each element in the periodic table of the elements has a unique spectroscopic signature. Thats a fancy way of saying that each element has its own unique finger print, and that finger print just happens to be its spectrum, which is what the spectrometer reveals to us. Just like every human being can be identified by either their fingerprints or their DNA, each element in the periodic table can be identified by its spectroscopic output, which is the unique pattern of colored bands that the chemical emits when submitted to certain conditions. The electrons in the sample must be excited by some energy source, which causes them to absorb energy and raise to higher energy levels, and then, eventually, they fall back down to the energy levels where they came

Page38of 77 from. In so doing, they emit the energy they absorbed, and we see this energy as light of a specific and unique wavelength corresponding to the energy difference between where the electron was when it was excited and where it ended up after it gave up the energy it absorbed. This energy difference, between where the electron was when it was excited and where it went to after it emitted the energy it absorbed, is a unique number, and there is only one number that it can be. That one number, an amount of energy, corresponds to one unique pure color and shows up as a colored line in the spectrum of that element. There are several electronic energy transitions which are allowed by nature for each element, so each element will therefore have more than one line in its spectrum, and some of the spectral lines fall outside the visible range. Therefore, some elements, to us, will appear to have many lines and others will appear to have very few, but it might be because we, as humans, can only view a very small portion of the total electromagnetic spectrum and therefore we are only viewing a portion of the spectrum that the element is emitting, but it is enough for us to be able to identify each element. So, every element in the periodic table has a unique spectrum and therefore, when that element is present in a sample of something being analyzed using spectroscopy, its spectrum will show up and you will be able to identify the element.

Thats what you are going to learn to do in this lab. You will be given 4 sealed tubes of gases which are unknown, and you will build a simple spectroscope which will allow you to view the spectrum of each tube of gas as it is excited by being plugged into a socket (there are safety issues here more later). The tube will glow and have a distinctive color to it, but the color you see coming from the tube with your eye alone is actually made up of several pure colors mixed together, and the spectroscope will separate these pure colors for you, you will identify their wavelengths and compare them to a chart, and by this method, you will identify the elements contained in each tube. You will

Page39of 77 record the wavelength of each spectral line you view and compare it to the standard values and see how close your values come to the true values.

From this lab, you will know, in part, how forensic scientists help police solve crimes, how astronomers discover the nature of the universe, and how unknown substances can be identified to determine if they are dangerous or not by a poison control center, for example, or in a medical lab, when you send a specimen in and the doctors are trying to figure out what is making you sick. Todays lab teaches you a very powerful skill which is applied in so many different fields, from chemistry, biology, medicine, astronomy, to police work and beyond, that being familiar with it is essential if you would like to become a laboratory technician in many possible fields you may choose to study.

Procedure A. Building the Spectroscope Building a simple spectroscope is not as complicated as it sounds. All you need are the following 2 meter sticks, a source to analyze, a holder for one meter stick, a holder for a transmission diffraction grating, and the transmission diffraction grating. You set them up as follows.

1. Using the meter stick optical bench. Place this along the end of your lab work area. Behind the 50 cm mark on the meter stick, place the spectrum tube power supply so that when the gas tube is in the supply, it will be lined up exactly with the 50 cm mark on the meter stick optical bench. The meter stick should be lower than the center of the gas tube.

2. Instructor should do this: Use the other, regular meter stick to measure, from the base of the power supply for the tube of gas, a distance of 1

Page40of 77 meter, and place the diffraction grating, mounted in the rotary assembly and secured so that it is not damaged or able to move during the experiment, exactly at this 1 meter mark. It is the grating itself that should be 1 meter away from the base of the supply, not the bench plate, the rotary assembly, or anything else, so make sure that the distance from the base of the supply to the actual grating is 1 meter, or 100 cm. Important: Do NOT ever touch the surface of the diffraction grating. It is expensive and fingerprints cannot easily be cleaned off of it, and they may permanently ruin it. If anyone needs to handle it, it should be the instructor, and then, the grating should only be handled by its edges, never by touching the flat, ruled part of it. Touching anything but the thin edges of the grating can permanently damage it, so allow your instructor to set up the grating and then do not touch it. If there is any problem during the experiment, ask the instructor to check on it for you. Do not attempt to make any adjustments to the diffraction grating yourself.

B. Using the Spectroscope 3. Make sure the power supply is plugged in, but turned off. Insert a tube of gas by carefully pushing down on the spring in the bottom portion of the holder, then sliding the tube vertically in so that it is under the top spring, and slowly releasing the bottom spring until the top spring in the top holder catches the top of the tube. Keep guiding the tube until it will not go any higher. It is now secured between two conducting springs which will supply 110 volts to the supply when the switch is turned on. Important: This power supply should be thought of as a large wall socket if it is touched when the power is on, it is the same as sticking your finger into a wall socket. NEVER touch the tube or the spring holders while the power is on. Also, the tubes get very hot while working, so when it is time to switch to another tube, turn the power off, use a piece of paper

Page41of 77 towel or paper folded many times over, or some kind of cloth with which to gently grab the fat portion of the glass tube, NOT the metal conducting part because that will be even hotter, and not the skinny part because it is too delicate, gently push down on the bottom spring until the top of the tube is free from the top spring, pull the tube out, and replace it in its holder, being very careful not to break the skinny portion of the tube. Then, place a new tube of gas in using the same procedure outlined above. It is best to allow the instructor to perform this part of the lab, but if the students do it, just make sure you do not touch a tube of gas that has just been running with your bare hands or a singleply sheet of paper or paper towel it is very hot. Waiting a few minutes in between and doing some calculations is also a good idea, since, once you take the data, you must calculate the wavelengths of the lines you saw. So, do some calculating before you switch out tubes, but still assume they are hot and fragile.

4. Once a tube is loaded in the supply, turn it on and turn off the overhead lights. Make sure there is some backlight somewhere in the room so people may move safely about, but before you turn the lights out, make sure the aisles are clear of obstructions and nothing is in danger of being knocked off of a lab bench. (For more tips on safe lab practices, see reference number 5, How to Study for Success in Science, Math, and Engineering Courses, Amy E. Bieber.) Be careful while working in the dark be extraalert to your movements and where things are. Look through the transmission grating at the glowing tube of gas, and you should see colored lines, identical on the left and right side of the light source. These colored lines should look like they are floating above the meter stick. Write down every color you see and the number on the meter stick where

Page42of 77 you see it, and write it down for the left and the right side for each color. You are now recording the spectrum of this gas tube.

5. Repeat the above procedure for all 4 tubes of gas, but follow the safety precautions and do the calculations in between, as already stated.

6. You will now calculate the wavelengths of the spectrum for each tube of gas as follows. Fill in the following tables: Tube #1: Left Right position position of of line (S) line 50 cm, then converted to meters Average of left and right positions (Average S) in meters


S g X + S
2 2

(see below) in meters

Standard value of l in meters

% error in your measurement (see below)

Tube #2: Left position of line (S) Right position of line 50 cm, then converted to meters Average of left and right positions (Average S) in meters


S g X2 + S2

(see below) in meters

Standard value of l in meters

% error in your measurement (see below)

Page43of 77 Tube #3: Left position of line (S) Right position of line 50 cm, then converted to meters Average of left and right positions (Average S) in meters


S g X2 + S2

(see below) in meters

Standard value of l in meters

% error in your measurement (see below)

Tube #4: Left position of line (S) Right position of line 50 cm, then converted to meters Average of left and right positions (Average S) in meters


S g X + S
2 2

(see below) in meters

Standard value of l in meters

% error in your measurement (see below)

7. The values you read off of the meter stick on the left and right side are both S in the equation for calculating the wavelength. The only difference is, since the light source is located at the 50 cm mark, you must subtract 50 cm from the rightside readings sin order for them to be correct. Once that is done, the left and right side readings for S should ideally be equal, or in reality, very close. You will average them and use the average value for your calculation to reduce the error in your answer.

Page44of 77 Convert your S values to meters by dividing by 100 before entering the data into the table.

8. Calculate l by using the formula in the table. X is 1 meter g is the number of grooves per meter on your grating, which in this case means g = 11000 grooves/meter. When plugging the numbers into your calculator, make sure you use parentheses to tell the calculator to use the proper order of operations. Your instructor will explain this. It means, if you dont use parentheses, your calculator, just for the denominator, will think you want g* X 2 + S2 instead of having the S2 part under the squareroot sign too, so you have to put parentheses around everything that goes under the square root sign, and parentheses around everything that goes in the denominator. If you have trouble with the calculation, your instructor will help you, and there will be enough spectral lines so that you will get plenty of practice so by the end of the lab, you will know exactly how to use that equation, easily!

9. Compare your value of l in meters to the standard value supplied in the table. Calculate the % error as follows:

%error =

experimental- standard standard

* 100 %

10. The bars are absolute value signs they mean that if your answer comes out with a minus sign in front, throw it away. We dont care if the experimental answer was too big or too small, we only care by how much it was too bog or small. Anything less than 20% is considered good for an experiment using this sort of equipment.

Page45of 77 11. Repeat the calculations for all experimental lines you saw. Be extra careful to look for the violet and blue lines they can be very faint and hard to see, so if you appear to be missing some lines, go back and look for the violet and blue ones. Also, in one case, there might be some yellow lines too close together to read separately, so consider them one line for calculation purposes, but when trying to identify the spectrum by comparing it to the chart, remember that there was a pair of yellow lines. Write it down somewhere.

12. Once you have all of your wavelengths computed, compare your results to the spectrum of gases chart and try to identify which gas was in which tube. They are colorcoded and your instructor will have the answers. Note that the color code on the tube gives no hint as to anything to do with the color or name of the gas inside!

Equipment List From the Daigger SciEd Warehouse Catalog, 2005 www.daigger.com, 18006217193 Catalog Location p. 75 p. 75 p. 75 p. 75 p. 75 Number CH3531 DH3531G DH3531M DH3531H DH3531L Name Spect. Tube Pwr. Sply. Helium Gas Tube Neon Gas Tube Hydrogen Gas Tube Mercury Gas Tube Price Quantity $161.00 $33.00 $33.00 $33.00 $40.00 (1) (1) (1) (1) (1)

Use this with the meter stick optical bench from lab #3 and the diffraction grating listed below. Another meter stick will need to be supplied by the instructor, along with a base of some sort (a piece of wood will do just fine) to

Page46of 77 elevate the gas tube to the correct height to match the height of the meter stick optical bench. Also, use the bench plate, post holder, post, and rotary assembly with holder from the polarization lab to mount the diffraction grating. It does not need to rotate, but it needs to be securely fastened so that it will be stable and will not move once initially set up. Only the instructor should handle the diffraction grating and the students should be admonished not to touch it once it is set up, and if any problems occur, the instructor should fix it by touching the edges of the grating only NEVER the middle, flat, ruled portion.

From the Edmund Optics America Optics & Optical Instruments Catalog, 2005 www.edmundoptics.com Catalog Location p. 114 Number G46073 Name Transmission Grating Price Quantity $123.40 (1)

This grating has 110 grooves/mm, which means the spacing between grating lines is 9.09 microns, or 9.09 x 10 6 meters per groove and there are 11,000 grooves per meter (g in the formula). This adds an additional $423.40 to the equipment total.

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Laboratory #5B: Monochromators (if you have one)

Whats Cool About Monochromators? The color of visible light depends on its wavelength. Reds and oranges have the longest wavelengths of visible light while blues and violets have the shortest wavelengths. But light comes with different levels of purity of color. It can be like laser light, containing a very narrow range of wavelengths, it can be like a neon sign, containing a larger but still limited number of different wavelengths, or it can be like an incandescent light bulb, which contains every color of the rainbow. How do you tell? If you need a laser beam to be extremely spectrally pure, meaning that it contains very few different wavelengths, how do you measure that? You can use a monochromator. It can tell you if your light source has the spectral purity you need. Lasers usually come with a specification sheet that tells you the spectral purity of the beam someone has to do those measurements, which means that someone working at the company building the lasers has to know how to use a monochromator. Researchers also use them to test the lasers they already have, so if you want to work with a scientist in a research lab, it would be helpful to know how to use a monochromator. Unfortunately, monochromaters are pretty expensive. The ones available at Queensborough are fairly simple quartermeter monochromaters, and they cost about $6,000 each in 2005. But if you have them available, they are very useful tools. This lab will show you how to use one, and what the results from it mean. Background In this exercise you will learn to use a monochromator to determine the wavelength of several different colors of light emitted by the heliumneon laser. The heliumneon, or HeNe laser, is the laser used in many supermarket scanners, surveying equipment, and some laser pointers. It most commonly emits red light, but the ones you will use today are tunable HeNes and are capable of

Page48of 77 producing red, orange, yellow, and (in some cases) green light. The monochromator is a device which measures the wavelength content of light entering it. All light, including laser light, consists of a spread of wavelength values rather than just a single wavelength value. Most ordinary light sources, like lightbulbs, emit many wavelengths across the entire visible spectrum. Lasers emit relatively pure light, containing a small range of wavelength values. The monochromator can measure the wavelength spread for each light beam entering it. Figure 1 shows some of what is inside the monochromator. Curved mirror

Entrance slit Exit slit

Diffraction grating (rotatable)

Figure 1. Basics of a monochromater. The grating in Figure 1 separates the incoming light according to wavelength (color) as the light travels away from the grating, the colors spread out in space, so that when they get to the exit slit, only one wavelength will pass through the others will be blocked. When you turn the knob on the monochromator, you are rotating the grating so that different wavelengths become aligned with the exit slit and come out of the monochromator. In this way, you can read the dial by the knob and know exactly what wavelength of light is exiting the monochromator. Actually, the monochromater is a little more complex than the diagram, but the diagram will give you a good idea about what happens inside.

Page49of 77 The wavelength spread contained within the laser beam will not contain equal amounts of power at all wavelengths the power distribution will look something like that shown in Figure 2.

maximum power

halfmaximum points

wavelength Figure 2. Power as a function of wavelength for a typical laser beam.

Notice that the shape of the power curve has some labeled features on it. The point where the power reaches its highest value is the maximum. The maximum occurs at the center wavelength, which ideally should be the wavelength right in the middle of the spread of wavelengths contained in the power curve. You will look for the power maximum and record the center wavelength at which the maximum occurs as part of this experiment.

Notice the two arrows that point to the halfmaximum points. There are two points on either side of the maximum at which the power drops to half of its maximum value these are called the halfmaximum points. Record the power and wavelength at these halfmaximum points. Then, subtract the two wavelength values of the halfmaximum points to obtain the fullwidth at half maximum (FWHM) for the laser beam. The FWHM is a measure of the

Page50of 77 wavelength width of the laser beam, measured between the halfmaximum power points.

Procedure 1. The monochromator comes with several small slits which can be inserted at the entrance and exit apertures of the device begin by removing these slits. **Important: the dial on the monochromator that selects which wavelength will pass through should not be forced if it stops turning in one direction, do not try to force it.** 2. Begin with red laser light this should be at a wavelength of 632.8 nm (nm stands for nanometer one billionth of a meter). Set the dial on top of the monochromator for 632.8 so that it will allow light of this wavelength to pass through it. Align the monochromator with the laser so that the red laser light is going into the monochromator and coming out the other side. Use a white piece of paper to see if the laser beam is coming out of the monochromator DO NOT LOOK INTO THE MONOCHROMATOR WITH YOUR EYES!

3. Align the detector with the output laser light from the monochromator. You should see a power reading on the detector scale. If you dont get a reading, try adjusting the scale on the detector until you get a reading. If it says 1. then it is overloaded and you need to turn to a less sensitive scale.

4. Slowly adjust the wavelength knob on the monochromator until the output power is at its maximum value. Write down the wavelength at which this happens in Table 1 on the following page. Also, make a note of the maximum power level.

Page51of 77

5. Turn the wavelength knob so that the wavelength increases until the power on your detector drops to half its maximum value record this wavelength in Table 1.

6. Now turn the wavelength knob so that the wavelength decreases until the power on your detector drops to half its original maximum value record this wavelength in Table 1.

7. The difference between the wavelengths you calculated in steps 5 and 6 is called the Full Width at Half Maximum (FWHM) of the laser wavelength. What is it? Write it in Table 1.

8. Insert the 150 um slits into the entrance and exit apertures of the monochromator and repeat the above exercise, using Table 2 for your results. Did the FWHM and center wavelengths change?

9. Now switch the laser to orange (yellow, green) light and repeat the above procedure the only difference now is, you have to determine the wavelength of the orange light. When you first switch the laser over, nothing will come out of the monochromator because the dial is set for red light. Gradually decrease the wavelength on the dial until orange light begins to appear on the exit side of the monochromator. Record the wavelength for maximum power, and then repeat the rest of the experiment. You can fill in the tables below with all your data.

Page52of 77

Table 1 Experimental data for monochromator using no slits. Color center wavelength two wavelengths FWHM , no slits at which power is (wavelength where (difference half maximum power is maximum) between the and max power, no 2wavelengths slits where power is half maximum)

red orange yellow green

wavelength: power: wavelength: power: wavelength: power: wavelength: power:

Table 2 Experimental data for monochromator using 150 mm slits. color center wavelength two wavelengths FWHM , 150 mm at which power is (wavelength slits (difference half maximum where power is between the maximum) and 2wavelengths max power, 150 where power is mm slits half maximum) red
wavelength: power:



Page53of 77



wavelength: power:


wavelength: power:

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Laboratory #6: Analog Oscilloscopes

WhatsCoolAboutAnalogOscilloscopes? Anoscilloscopedisplaysvoltagewavefor ms(electricsignals)asafunction oftimeorfrequency(nu mberofcyclespersecond).Almostanycareerinvolving electronics,lasers,audio / visual,orcomputerengineeringrequirestheuseofan oscilloscope.Recordingstudioengineers,automechanics,andair conditioning / refrigerationrepairtechniciansuseoscilloscopesbecauseall electricaland mechanicalequip mentisbecomingmoresophisticatedanduses morehightechcircuitrythanitusedto.Oscilloscopesaresocommonin technologythattheyareusuallyjustcalledscopes.Analogscopesarethe olderandeasiertousevarietythatyouwillusefirst.Ifthereistime,wewilluse moreadvanceddigitalscopestoo. Background An oscilloscope is an instrument that displays voltage waveforms as a function of time or frequency the voltage level is displayed on the vertical, or y axis, and the time or frequency is displayed on the horizontal, or x axis. Scientists and technicians in optics, electronics, biology, and mechanical engineering, just to name a few, use oscilloscopes. Auto mechanics and people who repair electrical appliances also use them. In this lab, you will operate an analog oscilloscope using a function generator that will provide a repeating voltage signal to the scope. In an analog scope, a beam of electrons hits the phosphorcoated screen of the tube that we view. This causes the phosphor to glow for a brief time. The strength of the signal controls the vertical position of the glowing spot by moving the electron beam up and down. Usually a timer inside the scope moves the beam back and forth horizontally across the screen. This combination of motions lets us see the signal strength as a function of time. If the signal is a repeating one, we get a graph of the signal versus time holding

Page55of 77 steady on the screen. This allows us to measure characteristics of the repeating signal. (A digital scope works differently, but displays basically the same information.) Procedure In the lab, you will be given a sheet summarizing the different knobs and buttons on the oscilloscope. Your instructor will give an overview of how the scope works and will explain how you can test the function of each control on the scope. You will learn how the scope acquires and displays a voltage waveform that is steady on the screen (triggering), how to set the vertical scale to display the portion of the waveform you want to view (volts per division), how to set the horizontal scale to control how many cycles of the periodic wave you will display (time per division), how to read the display, how to position the waveform (vertical and horizontal position knobs), and many other functions. After you become familiar with the scope, the instructor will mess up the settings on your scope to see if you can get the display back the way it was originally. This will test your understanding of the controls on the analog oscilloscope. By the time the lab is over, you should be able to display a signal from the signal generator, measure its maximum voltage, and measure the time for one repetition of the repeating pattern (the period), Based on your measurements, you should be able to calculate the frequency of the signal.

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Laboratory #7: Prisms

Whats Cool About Prisms? Prisms are interesting optical elements because they disperse, or spread out, the components of multicolored light that enter them. Prisms can be used in spectrometers instead of the grating that you used in experiment number 5, so they have all the power that spectroscopy has because they can be used to build a spectrometer. They can also make rainbows (more later)!

Background Light entering a prism is refracted (recall lab #2) twice once upon entering at some angle other than 0 or 90 degrees, and again upon exiting the prism at some angle other than 0 or 90 degrees. This double refraction is what causes the light the spread out. Recall that refraction is wavelengthdependent, so the amount that the light beam will be bent upon entering and leaving the prism will depend on its color (wavelength), and therefore different colors will bend by different amounts, and when the light emerges from the prism, the component colors of that light will be spread out in space, like a rainbow. A prism can be used to create a rainbow, and real rainbows in the sky are formed because of rain droplets, which simulate the shape of a prism, or, you could say, the prism simulates the shape of the rain droplet! (See reference #4, Is There a Laser in the House? Understanding Your HighTech Everyday World, Amy E. Bieber, for a more complete discussion of rainbows and dispersion.) The amount of bending that the light undergoes in the prism is called deviation, and there is an angle of incidence that will lead to a minimum deviation angle for the output of the prism. In this lab, you will determine the minimum deviation angle for the two prisms provided in the Prism and Lens Set one glass, and one acrylic.

Page57of 77 The minimum deviation angle for the prism is given by the following formula:

d =q i1 + q t2 - a
where d = deviation angle in degrees qi1 = angle of incidence of light compared to surface normal on left side of prism qt2 = angle of exit of light compared to surface normal on right side of prism a = apex angle of prism, which the instructor will tell you (usually 60 degrees, but ask to make sure)

The above quantities are illustrated in the following diagram:

surface normals are dotted lines

a qi1 incident beam

qt2 exiting beam

Figure 1 Illustration of quantities needed to calculation minimum deviation angle for a prism.

Procedure 1. Place the prism on the paper on top of the corkboard and trace its outline, just like you did at the beginning of lab #2.

2. The laser should be positioned by the instructor on the table so that it is at the correct height to pass through the prism. Angle the laser beam so that it strikes the prism surface at some oblique angle, like that shown above.

Page58of 77 Make sure that the laser beam is exiting the prism on the right side, and not the bottom, top, or same side it came in! Also remember to be careful about where stray laser reflections go, and block the path of any laser beam that is reflecting off of something and leaving your work area. Mark the path of the laser with two pins, both entering and exiting the prism.

3. Remove the pins and prism and construct the drawing shown in figure #1. Calculate the deviation angle.

4. Chances are that you did not come upon the minimum deviation angle the first time you tried, so there isnt much chance that your calculated value is the e minimum deviation angle for this prism. So, get another piece of paper, repeat the setup process, and this time, angle the laser beam while watching the exiting beam on the right side of the prism. Angle the laser until you think, by eye, you have found the minimum deviation angle, which means that the laser beam is emerging from the prism at the smallest possible angle compared to the surface normal, which you may draw on the paper to help you, but since the laser beam will be moving around, it will not always be exactly coincident with where you drew this normal, but you can still, by eye, compare the position of the exiting laser beam with this normal and decide if the angle has reached its minimum.

5. When you think you have found the angle of minimum deviation, mark the positions of the beams with the pins again, remove the prism, measure the angles, do the calculation, and ask the instructor if your answer is correct. Ill give you a hint if it turned out that the two angles theta (input and output) that you had to measure were equal, and if it turned out that the line traced inside the prism, denoting the laser beams path through

Page59of 77 the prism, is parallel to the bottom base of the prism, then you have found the minimum deviation angle, or something very close to it.

6. Repeat this experiment for the other prism (one is glass, the other acrylic, so they will have different indices of refraction and therefore your answers should be different, but not hugely different).

After all the data is taken and everyone has successfully found the minimum deviation angle, a class discussion should ensue as to why the entrance and exit angles had to be equal for the deviation angle to be minimum, and why the laser beam should travel parallel to the base of the prism when it is following the path of minimum deviation. Think about this, use common sense, and you should have and interesting and lively discussion with a lot of original ideas being floated about. Also, why was there no rainbow? Because you were using laser light, which is pure in color, and therefore the prism cannot spread the beam out any farther than it already is. Had you used white light, you would have gotten a rainbow, and since the optical meter stick bench kit comes with a flashlight, you could try to use this flashlight with the prisms to create a rainbow. Equipment List From the Daigger SciEd Warehouse Catalog, 2005 www.daigger.com, 18006217193 Catalog Location p. 76 p. 76 Number DH9283A DH9283B Name Prism & Lens Set, Glass Price Quantity $61.00 (1) (1)

Prism & Lens Set, Acryl. $51.00

Also needed is the laser and the corkboard and pins used in the refraction lab, and the flashlight from the optical meter stick bench kit. This adds an additional $112 to the total cost.

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Laboratory #8: Beam Expanders and Spatial Filters

Whats Cool About Beam Expanders and Spatial Filters? Beamexpandersmakelaserbeamsbiggerandspatialfiltersmakethen cleaner,meaningmoreunifor minintensity.Afteralaserbeamhasbeen expandedandspatiallyfiltered,theedgeswillbeasbrightasthecenter,which wo uldotherwisenotbetrue.Thisisimportantbecausewit houtanexpanded, spatiallyfilteredlaserbeam,holographywouldbeimpossible.Spatialfiltering andbeamexpansionisalsousedindefense / militaryapplicationslikeoptical patternrecognition.Itcanbeused,forexample,totakeahighaltitudephotoofa tankonthegroundandthendeter mineifitisafriendlyorenemytank.The sameistrueofanyotherpieceoflargeequipmentonthegroundthatmightbe p hotographedfro maplaneorsatelliteandthatneedstobeIDdbyveryfie featuresnotdetectabletothehu maneye.So,ifyouworkint heaerospaceor defenseindustry,yo umightfindyourselfusingaspatialfilter / beamexpander. Holographyofcoursewouldbeimpossiblewitho utthisdevice,butthatwillbe discussedinafut urelab. Background In this exercise you will learn how to use lenses in combination to make two very important optical components a beam expander and a spatial filter. A beam expander uses two lenses to increase the diameter of a laser beam a spatial filter does the same thing, but it also cleans up the beam and makes it extremely uniform in intensity across the entire diameter of the beam. This is important for holography, which is the lab we will do next week with the use of the spatial filters you will set up this week. Beam expanders are important for many applications that involve magnification, like building telescopes and microscopes.

Page61of 77 A laser beam is usually small enough that you do not notice that the center of it is brighter than the edges. When the beam is made larger (using a beam expander), the fact that the edges are dimmer than the center becomes much more noticeable. When you want to make a hologram, you need the laser beam to completely light up the object and you need the edges of the beam that does this to be just as bright as the center of the beam. In order to make this happen, you will use a spatial filter. Lets look at how beam expanders and spatial filters work. Beam Expander A beam expander simply is made of two converging lenses separated by the sum of their focal lengths. If you recall the lab on combinations of lenses, this is the same way we made a simple telescope. A beam expander basically does the same thing as a telescope it has parallel input and output rays and it provides magnification. It looks like this:

incoming small beam

outgoing large beam lenses separated by the sum of their focal lengths

Figure 1 Beam Expander

Spatial Filter A spatial filter is a beam expander with one additional element: a pinhole aperture. The pinhole aperture is placed at the point where the two focal

Page62of 77 distances of the lenses meet (as shown below) and its purpose is to cut off the tails of the laser beam as it passes through. This way, when the laser beam is expanded, it will have uniform brightness across its entire diameter because the dim parts that were there before got filtered out by the pinhole.

incoming small beam

pinhole aperture

outgoing filtered large beam

Figure 2 Spatial Filter

The reason this works is because before the laser beam gets filtered, its intensity looks something like this:

center of beam


Figure 3 Laser Beam Intensity Profile

Page63of 77 The pinhole aperture only allows the center part of the beam to get through, so then when it gets expanded, it will not be dimmer at the edges:

expand only this part

pinhole only allows this much through


Figure 4 Spatial filter cuts out all but the central part of the laser beam.

Procedure Beam Expander 1. Look at the two lenses you are given their focal lengths are 15 cm and 40 cm. Determine the separation you need to build the beam expander, and do it on the optical rail using the lens holders. Adjust the lens positions until you have a collimated beam coming out of the beam expander collimated means it remains the same size as it travels away from the laser. 2. Use a ruler to estimate the size of the input beam and the output beam determine the magnification of the beam expander by dividing the output beam size by the input beam size. Describe the quality of the beam is it uniform, or is it brighter in the middle than it is on the edges?

Page64of 77 Procedure Spatial Filter 1. The spatial filter assembly is made up of the collimated lens setup from Part One with the addition of the pinhole inserted exactly at the spot where the laser beam is its smallest. Determine where that spot is, insert the pinhole into the card holder from the meter stick optical bench kit, and try to get the laser beam to pass through the pinhole when the laser beam is its smallest. A little bit of the laser beams edge should be blocked, or chopped off by the pinhole thats the whole point. This weaker edge of the beam is what we are trying to eliminate in order to clean up the beam profile and make it have a more uniform intensity across its entire diameter when it becomes expanded. 2. Adjust the vertical and horizontal position of the pinhole until the light coming through is maximized. Look at the quality of the expanded light. Is it uniform in intensity across its diameter? If not, one of two things is wrong. Either your pinhole is not the right size, or your pinhole is in the wrong place. 3. The easier thing to check first is whether the pinhole is in the right place. So, repeat the step above, adjusting the vertical and horizontal position of the pinhole, also slightly adjust the positions of the lenses if you think the beam is not perfectly collimated, and again check the beam quality. Remember, these three components are working together to create a uniform beam, so they might all three need to be adjusted, and this is an iterative process, meaning you must do the same thing over and over a few times before you get it right, like back in lab one with the alignment procedure. If the beam is reasonably uniform, then you have built your spatial filter. If it is not, then you have one more step to add and then repeat the above process.

Page65of 77 4. At its best position, look at the laser beam striking the pinhole and determine if you think too much of the beam is being chopped off as it passes through, or if not enough of it is being chopped off. If too much is being chopped off, your enlarged laser spot will be dim and will fade a lot at the edges. If not enough of the laser spot is being chopped off, your enlarged beam will look much brighter in the middle than at the edges and it will not look clean. By looking at the way the laser spot is striking the pinhole and the way the output beam looks, determine if the pinhole needs to be enlarged or made smaller, remove the pinhole, either enlarge it or make it smaller (the pinhole is created by wrapping tape around the slit from the Optics Set, so to enlarge or shrink the pinhole, you simply need to add or remove some tape), and reinsert it. 5. Repeat steps 1 4 until you have an intense, round, uniform laser beam emerging.**This takes time and patience dont expect this to happen in 5 minutes! ****IMPORTANT remember to practice good laser safety habits when removing and inserting components into the path of the laser beam.**** Equipment List This experiment can be constructed using the parts from Lab #3 (the meter stick optical bench kit and lenses) and lab #1 (the slits) and the following, which can also be used in lab #7:

From the Edmund Optics America Optics & Optical Instruments Catalog, 2005 www.edmundoptics.com Catalog Location p.26 Number G45298 Name dbl.convex 40cm fl lens Price Quantity $33.80 (1)

This adds an additional $33.80 to the equipment total.

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Laboratory #9: Holography

Whats Cool About Holography? Everything! Most people have never even seen a highquality hologram, but in this lab, you will be making them. Holography uses a laser to make an incredibly realistic threedimensional image of an object, but theres more to it than that. There are actually hightech uses for holography, not just artistic ones! Holography can be use for threedimensional data storage. The CDs and disks you use in computers now to store data are twodimensional they store data on only one surface. A holographic data storage system can store data in multiple layers, in three dimensions, and so can dramatically increase the amount of data you can store on a CDsized disk. Research is currently being done on this, but it might someday be in every home. Understanding holography now could help a future scientist or technician if holographic data storage ever gets off the ground. There are other industrial uses of holography. For example, one of the methods for checking whether the propellers inside big jet engines are perfectly made uses a technique called double image holography. Besides, its a lot of fun and really interesting to make a holographic image and to understand what makes it special. This lab will introduce you to these things.

Background Holography is the process of using a laser to record the information needed to reconstruct a threedimensional image of an object on a holographic plate. What this really means is that the hologram reconstructs the exact pattern of light that came from the original scene. Keep in mind that when we see an object or a scene, we do not really see the thing itself. Instead, we see the pattern of light that comes form the object or scene. A hologram allows us to reproduce the same pattern of light. Therefore, when we view the light from the hologram, we see the same scene that led to the hologram. In order to understand how

Page67of 77 this works, we need to first discuss the idea of interference, which is what happens when two or more light waves meet at the same point in space. Picture light waves as sine waves that travel through space, like this: Electric field strength


Figure 1 An example of a light wave. Lets say that two such waves meet at some point in space. What happens to them? They simply add together. If you have two waves that meet, you add their field strengths, pointbypoint, at each point in space where they meet to form what is called a resultant wave. Now, this resultant wave can be larger than either of the two separate waves, or it can be smaller than either of them. It all depends on the relative phases of the two waves when they meet. Phase refers to which part of the wave we are looking at in a particular point in space we usually speak of the phase of one wave compared to another. For example, the two waves shown in Figure 2 have a phase difference of 180 degrees:

Figure 2 Two waves that have a phase difference of 180 degrees.

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As you can see, a 180 degree phase difference means that the waves are exact opposites of one another: the crests of one line up with the valleys of the other. This is called 180 degrees out of phase. This means that if we were to add them together, they would completely cancel each other out. This is called destructive interference.

Now, if two waves have no phase difference between them, we say that they are in phase, which means that the crests and valleys of the two waves line up perfectly. If we add two inphase waves together, we get a resultant wave that is larger than either of the two separate waves this is called constructive interference. If the two waves line up in any way other than exactly in phase or 180 degrees out of phase, we get a more complicated wave pattern, but it is still called interference.

The next thing you need to know to understand holograms is that laser light is coherent. This is what makes it so powerful and dangerous! Coherence means that all of the light waves in a laser beam travel together with the same phase, meaning that they have constructive interference and none of the power gets wasted. In an ordinary light bulb, the waves do not travel together with the same phase all the light waves from a light bulb have different phases and they vary randomly, which means that many of them have destructive interference and power is wasted. This is part of the reason that a few milliwatts from a laser can blind you but a 60 watt light bulb can be looked at briefly without irritating your eyes.

Because a laser beam is coherent, it can tell how far it has traveled that is something unique to laser light and it is what makes holograms, CD players, and DVD players work, to name a few examples. A laser beam can tell how far it has

Page69of 77 traveled because the phase does not randomly vary, which means that we can split the laser beam in two and keep one beam as a reference beam and use the other to send out to bounce off of an object and come back (the object beam). When the object beam comes back, we compare it to the reference beam, and the difference in phase between the object and reference beams will tell us exactly how far the object beam has traveled.

Why? Because phase difference is related to wavelength, and we know the wavelength of the light we are using. Wavelength is the physical length of one cycle of a wave (the length of the smallest repeatable unit of the wave) Figure 2 shows two cycles, or two wavelengths, of each wave. For example, look at Figure 2 can you tell that the top wave is just like the bottom wave shifted by half the wavelength of the wave? Thats what it means when two waves are 180 degrees out of phase with one another it means that one of them is shifted a halfwavelength compared to the other one.

Lets look at the following example: 1) start with two waves that are in phase, use one as a reference and use the other to bounce off of an object 2) after the waves are recombined, they have a 180degree phase difference 3) this means that the one that went out to the object traveled a halfwavelength more or less than the reference beam in the same amount of time 4) therefore, the two beams, when compared to one another, ended up shifted by a halfwavelength.

So, a 180 degree phase difference corresponds to a halfwavelength in distance units. Different distances to the object will correspond to different phase differences between the object and reference beams. For example, a 90 degree phase difference corresponds to a quarterwavelength, and 360 degrees corresponds to a full wavelength. (You should be able to see the relationship between phase and wavelength from these examples.) These phase differences

Page70of 77 are recorded in an interference pattern on a holographic plate the interference pattern is simply the addition of the object and reference waves at each point in space where they meet. The phase information (which is actually distance information) is contained within the interference pattern itself because the phase differences between the waves determine what the interference pattern looks like. For example, the interference pattern will contain spots of constructive interference when the object and reference waves are in phase, or destructive interference when the object and reference waves are 180 degrees out of phase. For all other phase differences corresponding to different distances to features on the object (ranging from 0 to 360 degrees), the interference pattern is more complicatedlooking, but it still gets recorded on the holographic plate. So, this is why a hologram contains both distance (depth) information as well as brightness information from the object, and therefore looks threedimensional. Regular pictures do not look threedimensional because they only contain the brightness information and no depth information. This is because a regular camera looking at light that is not coherent has no way to record phase information, which is what tells us about distance.

Figure 3 shows a simple setup for recording a hologram, which is what you will do in this weeks lab exercise. The reference beam is simply the expanded and filtered laser beam as it hits the transparent holographic plate the object beam is the part of the laser beam that bounces off of the object and is reflected back towards the holographic plate. When the reference and object beams meet, an interference pattern is formed that is recorded on the holographic plate. This plate must then be developed using a method similar, but not identical, to the method used to develop regular 35 mm camera film. The details on how to develop the plates will be given in the lab when we make the holograms.

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reference beam filtered and expanded laser beam

object beam
transparent holographic plate records interference between reference and object beams


Figure 3 Setup for recording holograms.

To view the holograms that we will make in class, an ordinary white light bulb can be used, but the holograms will look even better if they are viewed with the same laser setup used to record them. In the lab, we will attempt to view the holograms we make both with a bright filtered light bulb (holding the hologram in front of the bulb and looking down through the plate to try to see the image) and with the laser setup. To view the hologram with the laser setup, the plate should be placed back on the stand where it was recorded and you should look through the plate (away from the laser, not towards it!) to view the image, which should look very threedimensional and like it is sitting behind the plate.

Note that when you look at the holographic plate itself, you dont see the image it is not like looking at a photo. The plate only contains the interference pattern the image from the plate is seen floating behind the plate when it has light hitting it and you look at the right angle.

Page72of 77 Procedure for Recording the Hologram 1. Your lab bench will be set up with a filtered, expanded laser beam ready to use when you arrive. Do not make any adjustments to the spatial filter assembly.


Select an object of yours to use to make the hologram things that work well include keys, coins, and jewelry.


Place the object in the clip provided and set it about two inches behind the clip which will hold the holographic plate. Set the object at a slight angle compared to the way the plate will stand. (Your instructor will help with this.).


Make sure all obstacles in the room are cleared out of the way before the experiment begins make sure the laser beam is covered and all lights in the room are off .


One student form each lab group will come to the front lab bench where the instructor will give you the holographic plate. You can use the green filtered flashlights to see where you are going, but try to avoid shining the light directly on the plate.


Place the plate in the clip and set it on the stand in front of your object. The instructor will come around and make sure the plate placement is correct.


When everyone is ready, the instructor will say, go, and you will unblock the laser beam and expose the holographic plate for 2 3 seconds. The instructor will say, stop when it is time to block the laser again.

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Students will then develop the plates using the stepbystep instructions given in the lab. All but the last step must be done in darkness except for indirect green light from the flashlights, so be careful about moving around. Handle the plates with the tongs, by the edges, and try not touch them or clang them around in the beakers too much.


After development, we will view the holograms and then repeat the experiment.

NOTE: The Queensborough program uses holographic film plates and chemical supplies purchased from Integraf LLC . Their website is at www.integraf.com. Instructions for their materials are supplied also.

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Laboratory #10: HighPower Laser Demonstration

Whats Cool About HighPower Lasers? Highpo werlasersareusedinmanydifferentapplicatio ns.Inthislabyou willseetwoorthreeofthemoperateandyouwillseetheinsidesofafewothers. Youwillseeho wjustafewwattscansetapieceofwoodinstantlyonfire,and yo uwilllearnwhatmakestheselaserssopowerful.Itisgoodtoknowabout highpowerlasersbecausepeo plewhocandesign,.build,test,install,andrepair themareindemand,andthedemandwillcontinuetogrow.Thislabwill introduceyo utohighpo werlaserssothatyoucanseeifacareerpat hrelatedto themwo uldinterestyo u.Theselasersareusedindiversefieldssuchas medicine,manufacturing,academicresearch,andt hemilitary.Peoplewhocan workwit htheselasersareneededalloverthecountry.

The Lab This last laboratory for the lasers and optics portion of the project will consist of a demonstration of some of the different highpower lasers available in the QCC Physics Department. The first laser we will demonstrate is a carbon dioxide laser capable of emitting approximately 10 watts of laser power. This laser emits radiation with a wavelength of 10.6 mm, which is in the far infrared portion of the electromagnetic spectrum human eyes cannot see infrared radiation, so the extremely powerful light that comes out of this laser will be invisible to you. It is really essential for you to wear protective goggles when this laser is on. (In fact, your instructor will only turn the laser on after verifying that everyone is wearing appropriate goggles.) The beams from the lasers we will be demonstrating are invisible but they can damage your eyes if you are not

Page75of 77 wearing eye protection, so once these lasers are turned on, do not take off your goggles for any reason. We will demonstrate this laser cutting very precise and cleanedged holes in styrofoam. Carbondioxide lasers are used in industry for cutting, drilling, and marking anything from wood to metal. They can make cleaner and more precise holes and marks than can mechanical drilling equipment.

The second laser we will demonstrate is called a neodymiumYAG (Nd:YAG) laser, where YAG stands for yittrium aluminum garnet and is a type of crystal. If you looked at the inside of this laser where the energy source is, the Nd:YAG rod would look like a very clear, pink, polished piece of glass. This laser is capable of emitting 40 Watts of continuous power, or 10 Watts (average) of concentrated pulsed power. Even though the average power for the pulses is lower than the continuous power, the pulses are very dangerous because they concentrate that power into very short bursts with high peak powers. This laser emits at a wavelength of 1.06 mm, which is also in the infrared (invisible) portion of the spectrum. You will need to wear a different pair of goggles for this laser demonstration goggles are designed to protect your eyes from very specific wavelengths and you cant use just one pair of goggles for all kinds of different lasers. The YAG laser will be used to burn a hole in a piece of wood, and you will see how fast this happens and how clean the edges of the burned area are. A laser like this is also used for drilling, machining, and for laser artwork! This laser is designed so that a special crystal can be installed, called a frequency doubling crystal, which will turn the 1.06 mm light into 532 nm light, which is green. When you do this, you lose about half (or more) of the power, but it is still a very powerful beam.

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1. Laser Academy Optics Laboratory Manual, Queensborough Community College Physics Department, available at http://www.qcc.cuny.edu/physics/lfot/LFOT_FAQs.asp, click button on left side of screen that says Laser Academy lab Manual.

2. Daigger SciEd Warehouse Catalog, 2005, www.daigger.com, 18006217193.

3. Edmund Optics America Optics and Optical Instruments Catalog, 2005, www.edmundoptics.com, 18003631992.

4. Is There a Laser in the House? Understanding Your HighTech Everyday World, Amy E. Bieber, Pearson Custom Publishing, 2005. Available at www.pearsoncustom.com. ISBN 0536919038.

5. How to Study for Success in Science, Math, and Engineering Courses, Amy E. Bieber, Pearson Custom Publishing, 2005. Available at www.pearsoncustom.com. ISBN 0536943222.

6. Queensborough Community College Astronomy Laboratory Manual, 2003. Available at QCC Bookstore.

7. Hofstra University Physics Department Astronomy Laboratory Manual, 2000. Available from Hofstra University Physics and Astronomy Department.

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Composite Equipment List and Total Cost

From the Daigger SciEd Warehouse Catalog, 2005 www.daigger.com, 18006217193 Catalog Location p. 75 p.75 p. 76 p. 76 p. 76 p. 76 p. 76 p. 76 p. 76 Number DH3529A DH3361A DH3509 DH9283A DH9283B DH3508 DH3508A DH3508C DH15012 Name HeNe Laser, 0.5 mW Light Box & Optics Set Economy Optics Kit Prism & Lens Set, Glass Price Quantity $410.00 $85.09 $24.00 $61.00 (1) (2) (4) (1) (1) (2) (2) (2) (1)

Prism & Lens Set, Acryl. $51.00 Meter Stick Opt. Bench $29.00

38 mm double convex lens $5.00 38 mm dbl. concave lens Light Meter $5.00 $174.00

Total Cost = $1040.18 From the Edmund Optics America Optics & Optical Instruments Catalog, 2005 www.edmundoptics.com Catalog Location p. 133 p.120 p.128 p. 128 p. 114 p. 144 p.26 Number G53027 G56929 G03649 G36499 G46073 G56879 G45298 Name Rotary Assem. w/hold. Bench Plate Post Holders 6.0 Mounting Posts 4.0 Trans. Grating 4x4 pos. lift dbl.convex 40cm fl lens Price Quantity $174.10 $60.00 $23.10 $10.00 $123.40 $146.00 $33.80 (2) (1) (2) (2) (1) (1) (1)

Total Cost = $571.40 Grand Total = $1610.58