Project in Optics

The Projects in Optics education kit is a hands on, self-paced tool for both teaching and learning the fundamentals of optics and photonics. Suitable as a stand alone course or as supplemental material for other optics courses, this set is composed of ten projects, each designed to explain, and provide a tangible understanding of, a fundamental topic in optics.

  • Ten hands-on projects cover the fundamental principles of optics
  • Informative workbook include complete and concise study guide
  • Simple, structured, modular format covers the full range of optical phenomena progressively
  • Each kit contains all the necessary parts for each project, including a breadboard

All Kits Include a Detailed Workbook and Study Guide

With the assistance of Prof. Donald C. O’Shea, of Georgia Institute of Technology’s School of Physics, Newport’s Technical Staff developed the Projects in Optics education kit to provide understanding and experience of the fundamental and necessary concepts needed by those working in optics and/or photonics fields. Each kit is accompanied by an informative workbook/study-guide containing an introductory tutorial of basic optics concepts (this is paraphrasing from what is mentioned on the current site, but such an introduction isn’t listed in the set of projects so I can’t be sure this is accurate) and clearly written discussions of the fundamental principles related to each project. For each project there are also step-by-step instructions to set up and engage with the demonstrative activity, allowing students to build confidence, understanding, and competence with the relevant principles. Additional workbooks are available for individual purchase.

All Necessary Parts for Each Project is Included

All the necessary equipment, with a choice to include the HeNe laser, is included with each kit. This includes optical components, mounts and positioners, and all necessary hardware for mounting to the breadboard, also included in the kit. These are specially packaged in a wooden storage case and designed to be for many generations of students.

Project 1 – Laws of Geometrical Optics

Verifies the laws of the reflection and refraction and familiarizes the student with the various components in the kits.

Project 2 – Thin Lens Equation

Experimentally verifies the “thin lens equation” with measurements of image and object locations to calculate the focal length.

Project 3 – Expanding Laser Beams

Demonstrates the design of two types of laser beam expanders and explores the differences between them.

Project 4 – Diffraction of Circular Apertures

Study and measure the diffraction effects of circular apertures. Learn how the diameter of the aperture determines the resolving power of all optical instruments.

Project 5 – Single Slit Diffraction and Double Slit Interference

Continue to explore the wave theory of light and observe diffraction using rectangular slits as well as the phenomena of interference of two nearby sources.

Project 6 – The Michelson Interferometer

Construct an interferometer and observe the interference pattern (fringes); use the interferometer to measure aberrations in an optic, and displacements (included thermally and mechanically) on the order of a wavelength of light.

Project 7 – Lasers and Coherence

Learn what makes a laser unique as a light source. Study the phenomenon known as coherence length and experimentally determine the spatial mode characteristics of a HeNe laser.

Project 8 – Polarization of Light

Explore the laws of Malus and Brewster; construct a linear polarizer/analyzer to prove the law of Malus; find the angle where minimum reflection of linear polarized light occurs (Brewster’s Angle).

Project 9 – Birefringence of Materials

Observe the characteristics of birefringent materials by building a simple optical isolator similar to those used in high-power laser designs.

Project 10 – The Abbe Theory of Light

Learn about the spatial frequency content in the formation of images and how it could be used to control the shape and quality of an image. Build a setup which examines how selectively removing some of the spatial frequencies can modify images.



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