Dec 08, 2022  
2019-2020 Undergraduate Academic Catalog 
2019-2020 Undergraduate Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

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PH 320 - Lasers and Applications

2 lecture hours 2 lab hours 3 credits
Course Description
This course prepares students for understanding the practical applications of lasers in industry. The course begins with a brief review of the principles of optics and a discussion of atomic structure and energy levels as related to lasers. Discussions of low-power lasers include their application to telecommunications, reading, writing, alignment and holography. High-power laser applications including cutting, welding, drilling, and marking are discussed. Laboratory sessions give students hands-on experience in spectroscopy, laser safety, laser beam properties and laser applications. (prereq: PH 123  or PH 2021 MA 137 )
Course Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  • Discuss concepts of geometrical optics, including reflection, refraction, total internal reflection, and fiber optics
  • Discuss concepts of wave optics, including polarization, coherence, interference, and diffraction
  • Discuss the differences between lasers and conventional light sources
  • Sketch an energy level diagram for the hydrogen atom and describe the processes of spontaneous emission, stimulated emission, and stimulated absorption
  • Explain different possible electron excitation and de-excitation mechanisms in atoms
  • Calculate the energy, frequency, and wavelength of the photon emitted or absorbed in a radiative transition from the energy level diagram
  • List the requirements for laser action and describe briefly how a laser works
  • Discuss attainment of a population inversion by pumping for both three and four level laser systems
  • Define “Q-switching” and describe one method used to Q-switch a laser
  • Discuss some applications for a diode laser, HeNe laser, carbon dioxide laser, Nd:YkAG laser
  • Compare and contrast the operation of a carbon dioxide laser with a HeNe laser. List some industrial applications of a carbon dioxide laser
  • Compare and contrast the operation of a carbon dioxide laser with a Nd:YAG laser
  • Understand the basics of laser safety and be able to safely use medium power class IIIb lasers in a laboratory setting
  • Measure and understand the meaning of absorption spectra of various materials and emission spectra of various light sources

Prerequisites by Topic
  • Two college-level physics courses, at least one including some optics
  • Two quarters of calculus

Course Topics
  • Principles of geometrical and wave optics (review) (2 classes)
  • Atomic theory (2 classes)
  • Laser theory (3 classes)
  • Laser characteristics (3 classes)
  • Laser accessories (1 class)
  • Gas, solid-state, and semi-conductor lasers (4 classes)
  • Low power laser applications (2 classes)
  • High power laser applications (2 classes)
  • Laser safety (1 class)

Laboratory Topics
  • Laser safety, irradiance and power measurements
  • Interference and diffraction
  • Polarization
  • Emission spectra
  • Gaussian laser beams
  • Absorption spectra and coefficients
  • Characteristics of laser diodes
  • Coherence length and mode spacing of HeNe lasers

Dr. Jeffrey Korn

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