Tag Archives: optics

Light and Opportunity in the Southwest: My Experience with the Hooked on Photonics REU at UA

I believe that our interactions with light are amongst some of the most powerful and memorable experiences that one can have. Even our subtle interactions with light outside of the lab can have an extremely profound effect on the way we think and perceive the world. One of the most profound ways that light permeates our everyday language is in our use of light as a metaphor to clarify a concept. Words such as illuminate, illustrate, and enlighten make sense to us because of our everyday experience with light from childhood. When a new explanation of some phenomena comes to our attention, we may say that some light has been shed on the subject. In the lab, the interaction between light and matter can provide us with a great amount of information about the characteristics of our universe and applications for new types of technology. In the laboratory, we are put into a unique situation. Not only is light used to reveal the properties of materials and objects around us, but also the concept and properties of light itself are revealed or even can be said to be illuminated.

College of Opt Sci Sculpture

Mirror Glass Sculpture Outside College of Optical Sciences

I started optical science research in my junior year of college. When I found out that I had been accepted as a participant in the Hooked on Photonics REU program at UA, I was very excited. The furthest west I had ever traveled in the United States was Illinois, so the REU seemed like a perfect opportunity for the summer. UA has a historically strong program for optics, so I was looking forward to being part of such an immersive optics experience. After the program, I remember reading through the October issue of the OSA publication Optics and Photonics News and coming across the feature article on the 50th Anniversary of the College of Optical Sciences at UA written by Dean Thomas Koch. His description of the Arizona sky and the “blue-sky thinking” that characterizes the institution and its hosted programs completely reflects my memory of my summer experience. Continue reading

Veteran Research Supplement – for grads & undergrads

APPLY FOR THE VETERAN RESEARCH SUPPLEMENT

Application Deadline: Rolling

WHAT IS CIAN?

CIAN is the Center for Integrated Access Networks, a ten-university Engineering Research Center (ERC) funded by NSF. CIAN is working towards creating transformative optical technologies to enable an affordable faster internet for the future.

WHAT IS VRS?

russellCIAN welcomes veteran students (undergraduate and graduate) of the United States Military into our labs to participate in research that is creating ultra-broadband communication for the next generation internet. Participants will be given consultation and financial support to obtain real hands-on research experience in optical communications, thus preparing or expanding the career potential for participants both in the classroom and in the workforce.

CIAN aspires to create a technological revolution in internet access speeds. Veteran students will conduct research in a cross-disciplinary setting collaborating with faculty, graduate students, research engineers, post-docs, and other students. Also, the program will develop partnerships between the mentors, faculty, and veteran students to develop effective means of transferring STEM (optical communication and networking) knowledge.

STIPEND

A stipend of up to $5,000 or $10,000 is available.

RESEARCH TOPICS MAY INCLUDE:

Optical telecommunication, fiber optics, fiber lasers and amplifiers
Nonlinear photonics and high speed optical switching
Integrated optics including waveguide amplifiers, lasers, and modulators

WHO IS ELIGIBLE?

University students majoring in Science, Technology, Engineering, or Mathematics (STEM) as an undergraduate or graduate student and who are also veterans of the United States Military. Minimum 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale. US Citizenship or permanent residency is required.

APPLY FOR THE VETERAN RESEARCH SUPPLEMENT

APPLICATION DEADLINE: ROLLING

SEE THE FLYER!

ADDITIONAL MATERIALS REQUIRED FOR APPLICATION

Letter of Recommendation

May be mailed to CIAN in a sealed and signed envelop by the letter writer, or emailed directly by the letter writer. Please give your letter writer this form to complete.

Official Transcript

Please mail an official transcript to the CIAN headquarters.

Verification of Military Service (ex. DD214 form)

All mail may be directed to CIAN headquarters.

Center for Integrated Access Networks (CIAN)
University of Arizona
c/o Amee Hennig, CIAN Education & Outreach Manager
1630 E University Blvd., 501B
Tucson, AZ 85721

Email Amee Hennig with any questions.

 

Engineering Explorations Day @Columbia University

On March 29, 2014, in collaboration with the Columbia University chapter of the Society of Women Engineers, students at Columbia University participated in a workshop for middle school age girls as part of the spring semester’s program “Engineering Explorations Experience.”

We adjusted our Jell-O waveguide demo to include in the lesson more information on the science of fluorescence and the Bohr model of an atom. The students’ teachers also attended the talk and came to ask us after how to make the demo for their other classes. Overall I’d say it was a successful day for Jell-O ing!

CIAN students Cathy Chen and Lee Zhu gave the lectures, select pictures can be seen in the gallery below:

AFM Artifacts

Post #1 – Equipment Error

As a researcher, I work with a lot of equipment on a regular basis. In my lab, I use lasers, spectrometers, cameras, cryostats, and several types of microscopes. But sometimes, my equipment doesn’t quite behave the way I’m expecting.1

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Girls Science Day Take II @Columbia University

On Saturday, November 15, 2014 Columbia hosted middle school girls from in and around New York City in the annual Girls Science Day. So what happens when you mix 40 middle schoolers, laser pointers, and fluorescent JELL-O?

We had a great plan- 40 minutes, we would explain the basic properties of an atom and how it relates to fluorescence, explain Snell’s law, give them a JELL-O waveguide,  and have them find the critical angle of the JELL-O waveguide. But, as we all know…even the best of plans can derail a bit…

Then came the critical question: “Can we touch it?” followed closely by “Can we eat it?!” And while Cathy quickly stopped them from eating the Jell-O, the touching of the waveguides soon turned into a bit of a JELL-O war. Clean up took a while, and  while our waveguides may not have stayed intact, the event was fun and informative. And we have learned for next year’s Girls Science Day to tell them not to throw the JELL-O when we instructed them to touch it.

Girls Science Day was hosted by Cathy Chen, Atiyah Ahsan, and Jelena Marasevic.  Approximately 40 students attended the event on Columbia University’s campus.

Select pictures can be seen below:

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Girls in Engineering Summer Camp at UC Berkeley

Led by female faculty members and graduate students, during the past summer UC Berkeley College of Engineering launched a summer camp designed to inspire middle school girls to explore careers in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and math). The summer camp consisted of two separate periods in June and July respectively, one week for each, and hosted altogether about 60 middle schoolers from five East Bay schools. See our video here.

As a female graduate student from a male-dominated department (EECS), and a CIAN student specialized in the area of optoelectronics, I feel obligated and pleased to introduce the girls to see what can be fun and interesting about optics. Continue reading

Plant Science Night

Whenever I meet someone new, the conversation always ends up at “So what major are you studying?” As I boldly claim Optical Science, most people give me a smirk and say “So you work with eyes and prescription glasses?” Almost all of the people I have met have never heard of what an Optical Science major is. To spread the word outreach programs expose people to what Optical Science is all about.

Last Friday evening, Ventana Vista Elementary School hosted an annual Plant Science Night where scientific organizations from all over the city of Tucson come together to educate the next generation on the understanding of plants. But as an Optical Science major, what is our role at a Plant Science Night you ask? Because plants don’t have many characteristics on the surface, but under the microscope, millions of organisms are “swimming” microscopically. So as Optical Engineers, my group brought microscopes and lenses to discover movement behind what appears to be an inanimate object. Some of our demonstrations included, a homemade compound microscope made of K’nex and Lego’s, an apparatus where by just placing your phone on the surface, the camera on your phone can act as a microscope (you can even take a picture!), and a microscope that is projected to a 42 inch screen with a water sample taken from the turtle pond on the UofA campus. We brought 3 microscopes, so the other 2 that are not in use are for the students to look at different plant and cacti samples that Dr. Nofziger brought with him.

Continue reading