Proceedings Volume 12213

Optics Education and Outreach VII

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Proceedings Volume 12213

Optics Education and Outreach VII

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Volume Details

Date Published: 3 October 2022
Contents: 6 Sessions, 24 Papers, 10 Presentations
Conference: SPIE Optical Engineering + Applications 2022
Volume Number: 12213

Table of Contents

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Table of Contents

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  • Front Matter: 12213
  • Learning Online
  • Promoting Optics
  • Tools for Education
  • Filling the Skills Gap
  • Poster Session
Front Matter: 12213
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Front Matter: 12213
This PDF file contains the front matters associated with SPIE Proceedings Volume 12213, including the Title Page, Copyright information, Table of Contents and Conference Committee list.
Learning Online
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A case study into technical eLearning: upskilling Excelitas’ workforce with SPIE partnership
Electronic learning, or e-learning, is a vital educational format for the upskilling of the workforce, with promises to sustain accessibility to training in spite of travel restrictions brought by the Covid-19 pandemic. In addition, specialized online photonics courses are becoming increasingly available on the market, responding to needs of business employees to access on-demand technical teaching material to maintain competitive business advantages. It is in this context that Excelitas Technologies Inc. and the International Society for Optics and Photonics, SPIE, formed a partnership to deploy a platform to upskill scientists, engineers and project managers. Since June 2021, 60 employees across seven Excelitas sites worldwide have gained access to a library of technical courses offered by SPIE. The paper will present a case study into the instructional design, implementation strategies, and evaluation methods for this program. An evaluation framework based on the Kirkpatrick model is used to provide qualitative data to assess the quality of the learning delivery, the performance of the learners, and benefits to the organization. Preliminary evaluation results based on the analysis of pre-training and post-training surveys will be presented, along with lessons learned in organizational and learning development.
Problem-based learning in advanced photonics manufacturing: Adapting to online delivery during a global pandemic
In 2018, Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) was awarded a $551K grant from the National Science Foundation Advanced Technological Education (NSF-ATE) program to create a new series of multimedia problem-based learning (PBL) instructional modules, referred to as PBL Challenges, in advanced photonics manufacturing in partnership with MIT’s AIM Photonics Group and the photonics industry in the Northeast. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, however, the project’s professional development and classroom testing of the modules had to be adapted to an online format. A qualitative study was conducted in which participating STEM educators and photonics technician students were surveyed and interviewed to better understand (1) how and to what extent online delivery of PBL instructional materials impacted teacher and faculty adaptation, and (2) the impact of online PBL instruction on student learning outcomes. Results of the study are presented.
Online learning games and simulations for photonic integrated circuit (PIC) sensor design and operation
In this paper, we describe Illuminator, a digital, online game that offers students the opportunity to learn about the design and operation of sensors that employ integrated photonics. The game is level-based, providing students foundational concepts, and then building on that knowledge to offer progressively more difficult challenges. Though the game could theoretically stand alone, students are intended to play the game in the context of an online course, which was designed in concert with the game so that the game levels support the course material. Illuminator and its paired course are situated within an overall program designed to teach students about various application areas of integrated photonics via other courses, games, and simulations. Illuminator focuses primarily on absorption sensing, though also touches on index sensing.
Learning in a pandemic: a model for virtual outreach
Judy Donnelly, Nancy Magnani
When the Covid19 pandemic closed schools including K-12 and colleges, hands-on science labs and outreach events were also canceled. The question was how to continue to engage students and adults of all ages in optics outreach while they were at home and school lab equipment was not available. Our solution was to provide optics at-home workshops that teachers and students could do with their families using readily available items. The authors with the assistance Optica (formerly The Optical Society, OSA) developed and presented a series of eight outreach workshops through the We Are On program.
VR-based implementation of interactive laboratory experiments in optics and photonics education
Oliver Vauderwange, Stefano Gampe, Dan Curticapean, et al.
Within the framework of a developed blended learning concept, a lot of experience has already been gained with a mixture of theoretical lectures and hands-on activities, combined with the advantages of modern digital media. Here, visualizations using videos, animations and augmented reality have proven to be effective tools to convey learning content in a sustainable way. In the next step, ideas and concepts were developed to implement hands-on laboratory experiments in a virtual environment. The main focus is on the realization of virtual experiments and environments that give the students a deep insight into selected subfields of optics and photonics.
Promoting Optics
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Optics, arts, and sound: celebrating 100 years of Kaluza's 5th dimension in a geographically distributed interactive hybrid exhibition
From the remains of the planned contribution of our department to the Night of Sciences 2020 in Berlin, which was cancelled due to the pandemic conditions at the time, a new concept in cooperation with the privately owned Gallery Museum of Future in Berlin and the Foundation for German-Polish Cooperation was drawn. Based on an idea by artist Witold Stypa, who’s work is seeking to visualize multidimensional spaces in paintings and sculptures, a hybrid exhibition entitled Shapes, colours and sounds in the world of mathematics - 100 years Theodor Kaluza’s 5th dimension was designed. It comprises paintings and sculptures with special optical effects and musical elements, which are derived from investigations on optics and sounds as discussed in previous SPIE papers. It is dedicated to the work of Theodor Kaluza, mathematician and physicist of german and polish descent. He is known for his paper On the problem of unity in physics, which was presented by Albert Einstein on December 8th 1921 to the Prussian Academy of Science and which is the origin of the Kaluza-Klein theory. The physical parts of the exhibition are spread over various locations in Germany and Poland, including Kaluza’s place of birth, Opole, which are interactively linked via video conference tools. In addition to the impact in outreach for the Department of Electrical Engineering of the bbw University and the artists involved, the project provided new unexpected insides into effects of human perception effects, which are roughly discussed in the paper.
Quantum education and pathways: an open-source modifiable presentation to high school and college students
This paper describes and provides examples of a presentation, ‘Quantum for High School and College Students’ created to give to high school and college students to encourage them to consider using quantum science and technologies in their studies and careers. Some thoughts on critical thinking about abstract subjects and mentoring capture the attention of the student audience, which is followed by the main topics. The presentation includes an introduction to quantum science (including a laser diffraction demonstration), quantum computers and cybersecurity, many more quantum science and technology applications, education and career pathways that use quantum science and on-line resources. There is a very brief history of quantum science, an outline and nine examples of the many fields of study and endeavor, and a couple (optional) references to how governments are supporting these efforts. Some specific online references are provided to company and university websites where substantial information can be found for students seeking to learn more about all thing’s quantum with some focus on quantum computing. The modifiable Power Point presentation can be downloaded from the author’s website, complete with lecture notes and hotlinks to all the references. A specific webpage has been created and organized so that it can be accessed by potential presenters and students seeking to learn more about the topics. The presentation can be given by other volunteers including quantum graduate students, professors, and high school teachers. The presentation and on-line resources may be very useful to SPIE members and SPIE Student Chapters seeking to recruit students to their companies and universities. Other related professional societies, such as the American Institute for Physics and their Society of Physics Students may also find this useful.
Tools for Education
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Lambertian surfaces with over- and under-filled field of view
Optical science and engineering education and practice make frequent use of the concepts of Lambertian surfaces, Lambertian reflectance, or Lambertian emission. These are all based on Lambert’s cosine law, which states that the radiant or luminous intensity [W/sr] reflected or emitted from a Lambertian surface varies as the cosine of the angle between the direction of incident (or emitted) radiation and the surface normal. However, a simpler definition is a Lambertian source produces radiance [W/(m2 sr)] that is constant with angle. This definition helps avoid common errors and confusion that arise when a Lambertian source is viewed in different geometries in which the field-of-view (FOV) solid angle is over- or under-filled by the source. In this paper we describe the theory of Lambertian reflection and emission for under- and over filled FOV situations and show measurements from a simple set of reflection experiments that help to prove these theories in practice by demonstrating that flux measured with an under-filled FOV varies as the cosine of the viewing angle, while flux measured with an over-filled FOV does not. We also show how to set up and conduct experiments to illustrate these different situations using a simple halogen lamp, lens, photodiode, and Lambertian panel.
Re-sequencing optics instruction to first build conceptual understanding in introductory courses
It is common instructional practice to introduce foundational concepts such as refraction and lenses in optics instruction beginning with a diagram and an equation, often followed by demonstrations, problem sets, and experiments. This common instructional approach is consistent with how experts understand these phenomena, with mathematical relationships deeply integrated with conceptual understanding and thus the formulas are indecipherable from the core concepts. However, many students do not see the interwoven nature of the mathematics and concepts, and instead see our pivotal mathematical relationships, such as Snell’s Law or the Lensmaker’s Equation, as black boxes that provide an answer or a formula to be memorized, but not understood. These issues are only enhanced for students exhibiting math-anxiety. In this paper, we present an approach for presenting optics concepts in a way that promotes a student’s marriage of conceptual and mathematical knowledge by re-sequencing often used instructional activities. By placing conceptual understanding in the foreground, we can provide students with a rich set of experiences around the phenomena first and then layer formal mathematics ideas on afterwards. In this way, the mathematics become a validation tool for student’s conceptual knowledge. We provide general guidelines for the adoption of this instructional approach, followed by more detailed examples of how this instructional method could be implemented for two foundational optics phenomena: Snell’s Law and the Lensmaker’s Equation.
Free space fiber optics experiments for photonics engineers and technician training
As part of new programs at Bridgewater State University (BSU), including a new Photonic and Optical Engineering BS program and a Photonics Technician certificate program, we have developed new optics and fiber optics courses based on discrete fiber and optical components that we have put together into a single kit. These courses and kits are useful to teach fundamentals of optics and fiber optics to various level audiences ranging from high school, community college students, university level physics and engineering students. In this paper, we are including the details of the fiber optics experiments as well as the equipment used for each experiment. A subsequent paper details the optics course and a dedicated paper on the kit itself will follow later. These experiments include laser safety training along with the details of laser safety goggles. Class 2 visible laser is used to couple the light into single-mode, multi-mode, polarization maintaining fibers and fiber couplers. Students learn the beam walking techniques for optical alignment by using the over-the-counter discrete optical components such as lenses, mirrors, iris and polarizers. In addition to the optical alignment skills, students work on power measurements, and calculate the coupling efficiency, propagation loss and bending loss. Polarization measurements are added to compliment the understanding of electromagnetic fields. These experiments emphasizing on the fundamentals of free space fiber optics, will open a pathway for students to continue to the field of integrated photonics and will help to fill the demands of both technicians and engineers in industry.
Filling the Skills Gap
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Addressing the critical shortage of optics technicians
Alexis Vogt
The global optics industry is growing faster than the overall U.S. economy, but the technical workforce for the industry is shrinking at an alarming rate. The absence of a single technician can delay shipments and impede the productivity of an optics company. The shortage of technicians is stifling innovation and requiring engineers with advanced degrees to complete the work of technicians. Development of the current and next-generation optics manufacturing workforce is vital. To meet the growing demand for skilled optics technicians, the Monroe Community College Optical Systems Technology program created the Defense Engineering Education Program in Optics (DEEP OPS) to increase the national optics workforce. Funded by the Department of the Navy Office of Naval Research (Award #N00014-19-1- 2740), the DEEP OPS initiative is strengthening and expanding the national precision optics workforce to ensure technological superiority for the Department of Defense. This initiative has: 1) Extensively enhanced precision optics technician training with innovative approaches that meet the needs of the optics industry and students; 2) Increased the number and diversity of optics technicians nationwide; and 3) Established opportunities for student and faculty engagement with the optics industry. The DEEP OPS program is providing strategic solutions to defense challenges and is supplying the intellectual know-how that is being transferred to a national base in the AmeriCOM Workforce Initiative. This paper describes how Monroe Community College has become a national model for educating diverse optics and photonics technicians.
Optics manufacturing technician apprenticeships
Ross Micali, Alexis Vogt
The Optics, Photonics, and Imaging industry is responsible for remarkable innovations that have revolutionized our world—and improve our lives, every single day. The industry is growing at an exponential rate and is suffering from a worldwide shortage of skilled optics technicians. For several decades, our society and education system have emphasized the value of a 4-year college education at the expense of workforce education, and our nation is suffering because of it. The registered Optics Manufacturing Technician apprenticeship is a structured “earn and learn” solution that combines on-the-job learning with related technical instruction, with benefits for employer and employee.
Upskilling photonics technicians to meet challenges of the quantum 2.0 revolution
Moamer Hasanovic, Chrysanthos Panayiotou, Donn Silberman
As there is no sizable, trained workforce to support product commercialization, recent advances in quantum research have created a significant mismatch between quantum science and the emerging quantum industry. Part of this new workforce will be developed through the upskilling of incumbent photonics technicians whose current qualifications present a solid foundation for the new quantum-related competencies. In order to provide the greatest access to these new skills, curriculum requirements need to be delivered largely through flexible distance-learning platforms. In this paper, we describe our efforts to produce an open-access educational curriculum and introduce new quantum-related competencies to the new and incumbent skilled technical workforce. A detailed list of the competencies sought by the quantum industry is given and then followed by the results of a survey through which the proposed competencies were assessed. This project introduces the complex subject of quantum science to advanced technological education. An open access educational platform will reduce geographical barriers between colleges, students, and industry and help academic institutions with recruitment, retention, and completion. This high-tech workforce will see an increase in diversity, thus removing social barriers and fostering equal economic growth across our nation. The proposed curriculum is expected to help the US maintain the world lead in quantum technologies. This project is funded by the NSF Advanced Technological Education grant (NSF DUE 2055061). This grant focuses on the education of technicians for advanced technologies that drive the nation's economy.
Leading owls toward the light: advances in optics and precision manufacturing educational pathways at Keene State College
Keene State College (KSC) is excited to share new pathways, curricular offerings, and outreach focused on workforce development in the areas of optics and precision manufacturing. KSC is a primarily undergraduate institution with a liberal arts focused mission, uniquely located in southern New Hampshire within a strong industrial New England network in precision optics. After collaborative identification of workforce needs, KSC created a series of courses focused on hands-on, technical, and conceptual optics education: Introduction to Optics, Thin Films, Laser Optics, and Ultra-Precision Manufacturing. The Introduction to Optics and Laser Optics courses place practical and conceptual understanding in the foreground so that mathematical representations are integrated with student understanding. The Ultra-Precision Manufacturing and Thin Films courses focus on hands-on education using diamond turning ultra-precision machining and thin film deposition techniques respectively to provide students the necessary technical skills. All courses are designed to be accessible individually or are stackable as multicourse microcredentials. The creation of educational pathways relies on the convergence, collaboration, and engagement from education, industry, and community partners. KSC is working with local industry professionals to explore tailored apprenticeship offerings and intensive bootcamp workshops to deliver key skills outcomes as alternatives to semester-based offerings. Outreach with high schools and career and technical education centers offers increased opportunities to raise awareness regarding careers in optics and the ways KSC educational pathways connect students to this rapidly growing sector. This presentation will highlight key stages of development and challenges toward future growth of optics education at KSC.
Poster Session
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Successfully implementing inquiry-based labs: a case study for a college waves and modern physics course
Elizabeth S. Charles, Kevin Lenton, Rhys Adams, et al.
Inquiry-based instruction is a form of active learning that scaffolds investigation of authentic problems. It relies on collaborative activities that engage students in discipline-specific practices that promote the use of high-level cognitive skills – analysis, decision-making, and evaluation. Inquiry-Based Laboratories extends this approach to lab experimentation. Compared to traditional labs, inquiry-based labs require students to make decisions that are critical to the process – what methods to use, what data to collect, etc. We report on a case study conducted in Fall 2021, featuring a design focus IBL implementation in a college Waves and Modern Physics course. The case study spanned the 15-week semester with students’ scientific reasoning assessed at three points: pre-test, immediate post-test, and delayed post-test. Students showed improvements in their scientific reasoning with positive changes to their epistemic beliefs – i.e., thinking more like scientists.
The practical optics workshop: educating the optical engineers of tomorrow
Jaren N. Ashcraft, Trenton Brendel, Simran Agarwal, et al.
A comprehensive education of optical engineers is of paramount importance to the development of the industry. While optical sciences and engineering curricula are set up to teach theoretical concepts comprehensively, there appears to be a lack of required coursework that teaches students how to use industry-standard software that they will inevitably use in their careers. The Practical Optics Workshop (POW) is an initiative at the University of Arizona’s Wyant College of Optical Sciences to support the education of students that use optical design software. POW’s aim is to bridge the gap between the theory of optical system design and the problems the optical engineers of the future will face daily. POW has principally engaged students through short workshop sessions and optical design problems through inquiry-based learning activities. However, during the COVID-19 pandemic new activities have been designed to support self-paced and virtual learning to ensure the accessibility of Optical Design software education. We present the status of POW’s current initiatives and how they have impacted student learning, as well as the design of future initiatives that POW is developing for a self-paced curriculum.
Nonlinear photonics in undergraduate curriculum: hands-on training to meet the demands of a qualified workforce
Juan J. Arango, Samuel Bechtold, Pablo Bedoya-Ríos, et al.
The understanding of light-matter interaction processes has been essential for the attainment of many modern advancements in photonics, for instance the telecom revolution with lasers and fiber optics. Thereby, related industries greatly benefit from large availability of professionals, qualified for undertaking projects focused on devising and scaling products that may capitalize scientific progress on photonic materials and novel optical effects. Nevertheless, the familiarity with the application of these phenomena is usually gained by scientists and engineers at graduate education level, which commonly leads to a skilled workforce shortage. This lack of photonic-capable engineers becomes more critical when discussing nonlinear and quantum applications that will be broadly available soon. With this motivation, we present a nonlinear photonics hands-on training that could be integrated into curricula for photonics engineers or material scientists. The proposed session is aimed at undergraduate students, who would develop through practical experience relevant multidisciplinary skills for experimental design, data acquisition, setup configuration and optical alignment. Manuals are provided for the implementation of Z-Scan technique in the characterization of nonlinear optical materials. Equipment requirements are included along with the undergraduate-level theoretical content that may serve as introduction for students without prior exposure to nonlinear optics. Additionally, an open-source python-based software is provided for simplifying the extraction of Kerr effect and two-photon absorption figures of merit by means of the analysis of power measurements.
Learning and thoughts of how industrial internship can inspire new generation talents
Teresa Zhang, Jiang He, Wei Zhou
This paper reviews an inspiration model for young talents in MLOptic corp.’s industrial education outreach program. With proper mindset training to focus on the end delivery through milestone-based essential necessaries allocation, proactively self-learning and logistic thinking capabilities can be greatly magnified independent of education level and age, significantly boosts the courage to explore unknown technical or non-technical challenges, promotes confidence and desires to self-grow into a technical expert. The logic to get things done naturally plants the seed of leadership and grows efficiently through more teamwork practice. An example was described to support this model.
Computer generated hologram (CGH) education kit for hands-on learning of optical metrology for complex optics and systems
Tyler Steele, Shelby D. V. Ament, Jake Beverage, et al.
Arizona Optical Metrology supplies Computer Generated Holograms (CGHs) that are used around the world for projects in industry, research, and defense. CGHs enable high-accuracy snapshot measurements of complex optical surfaces, such as cylinders, rotationally symmetric aspheres, conic sections and freeforms. The growing markets that use such high performance optics, along with technical advances in CGH capabilities, have created a demand for technical training in CGH metrology. AOM has produced a CGH education kit for the expressed purpose of donation to colleges and university optics programs for training students and faculty in the capabilities and usability that CGH metrology offers.
New teaching method to simplify Boolean logic functions using 3D cubes
In this work, a new teaching method to derive the Boolean logic functions is presented. Physical 3D cubes will be used to construct a 3D structure that will assist students in representing minterms of the Boolean function with 6 variables. The well-known grey code is applied to sort the cubes. This method will be used by educators in electrical, computer and communication engineering programs to explain Boolean logic function simplification using an interactive and easy way. The work also introduces different in-class activities that can be conducted to ensure better student engagement. The suggested 3D model is very simple and can be built using any transparent material like glass, acrylic or plastic, or solid colored material like wood or colored plastic. This work suggests different exercises to be implemented in-class to aid educators in introducing this kit to the students. This will result students in mastering the kit. Thus, students will have deeper knowledge and interest in digital logic design topics, which is an essential topic in any electrical, computer and communication engineering curriculums.
Leveraging TikTok and other new media for optics educational outreach
Cory S. Boone
New media, like the video-sharing application TikTok, are powerful tools for optics education and outreach on a large scale. Public optics outreach is crucial for spreading awareness of the industry and developing the workforce that will tackle the photonics challenges of tomorrow. This paper will cover the strategies that Edmund Optics used to build and scale a company-sponsored optics educational outreach TikTok program that currently has over 35,000 followers and receives up to 2 million views per video. The benefits of launching such a program for any company, educational institution, or national lab and key selling features to get executive buy in are also discussed. Additional benefits to launching such a program include the development of employee/student communication skills, brand awareness both inside and outside of the photonics industry, and improving brand image. With 1.4 billion global users, TikTok presents a promising platform for simultaneously reaching a large audience while targeting people who have demonstrated an interest in STEM topics. Sharing the outreach content made on TikTok across professional platforms like LinkedIn also leads to industry awareness, respect, and collaboration outside the scope of the common perception of TikTok as a casual, business-to-consumer medium. Meeting students, parents, and communities on the platforms they already use greatly simplifies building an audience for educational content. The Edmund Optics TikTok program was started as an experiment during school closures caused by COVID-19 but has now cemented itself as an integral part of the company's larger outreach program.
From Mars to humans: interactive Raman spectroscopy-based outreach activities
Jacob Kleboe, Helen Szoor-Mcelhinney, Hiroki Cook, et al.
Outreach activities can directly influence educational development and career trajectory; while also promoting the institutions that produce them. Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) is fundamental to development, pushing forward technological advancements and laying the path to new frontiers. This paper aims to provide an overview of an outreach event with a framework that can be developed into a novel teaching tool, showcasing collaboration across multiple STEM subjects: Chemistry, Physics, Biology and Engineering. From Mars to Humans is an interactive educational outreach project, developing the fundamentals needed to understand Raman spectroscopy and its many applications on earth and beyond. This interdisciplinary demonstration includes several devices and models developed by the Biophotonics and Imaging research group at the University of Southampton. We will cover the design and function of “Dr Raman” and the “Raman for Life Rover (R4L)”, two interactive activity devices that have been developed using state-of-the-art spectroscopy technology. These devices help translate the understanding of light-matter interactions to real-life applications, focusing on current popular media topics, public health and interplanetary discovery. Additionally, we demonstrate how these devices within the outreach event can inspire a new generation of scientists, utilising how the underpinning science is leading new transformative technologies and advancing human endeavour. From Mars to Humans activity was deployed for the Southampton Science and Engineering Festival (SOTSEF 2022) and received excellent feedback from visitors. We will present the public engagement framework that led to this achievement, analyse the feedback and engagement criteria of the activity, and summarise goals for the future.
Dynamic curricular concepts for research orientated programs in optics and photonics
Teaching and learning concepts that are adapted to the constantly evolving requirements due to rapid technological progress are essential for teaching in media photonics technology. After the development of a concept for research-oriented education in optics and photonics, the next step will be a conceptual restructuring and redesign of the entire curriculum for education in media photonics technology. By including typical research activities as essential components of the learning process, a broad platform for practical projects and applied research can be created, offering a variety of new development opportunities.