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Proceedings Paper • Open Access

Partial polarization: a comprehensive student exercise

Paper Abstract

We present a comprehensive student exercise in partial polarization. Students are first introduced to the concept of partial polarization using Fresnel Equations. Next, MATHCAD is used to compute and graph the reflectance for dielectrics materials. The students then design and construct a simple, easy to use collimated light source for their experiment, which is performed on an optical breadboard using optical components typically found in an optics lab above the introductory level. The students obtain reflection data that is compared with their model by a nonlinear least square fit using EXCEL. Sources of error and uncertainty are discussed and students present a final written report. In this one exercise students learn how an experiment is constructed “from the ground up”. They gain practical experience on data modeling and analysis, working with optical equipment, machining and construction, and preparing a final presentation.

Paper Details

Date Published: 8 October 2015
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 9793, Education and Training in Optics and Photonics: ETOP 2015, 979325 (8 October 2015); doi: 10.1117/12.2223198
Show Author Affiliations
Gregory A. Topasna, Virginia Military Institute (United States)
Daniela M. Topasna, Virginia Military Institute (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9793:
Education and Training in Optics and Photonics: ETOP 2015

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