The laser is an indispensable tool in many fields of science and engineering. The University of Alaska, Fairbanks (UAF) is providing a comprehensive, undergraduate-level, one-semester laser laboratory course which follows an existing one-semester course in classical optics (with lab). Over the last several years UAF has accumulated a wide variety of lasers for the laser lab. In particular, we have an Argon ion laser, a flashlamp-pumped dye laser, a nitrogen laser, a nitrogen laser- pumped dye laser, a number of helium-neon lasers, and a Nd:YAG laser.This project is obtaining the final instruments which will allow us to offer this course to our students. In particular, we are obtaining: a calibrated Joule meter to measure the pulse energy in the various pulsed lasers; a diode array for our grating spectrometer so we can measure laser spectra "single shot;" another diode array to measure spatial beam profiles; a diode laser to fill a hole in our laser inventory; a helium-neon tube with Brewster windows and a set of external mirrors so that the students can get the experience of aligning several different cavities (confocal, hemispherical, and flat-flat) for a fixed gain medium; a data logger so we can use our scanning grating spectrometer (with photomultiplier tube) to measure the tuning curve of the pulsed nitrogen laser-pumped dye laser, a set of output couplers with a range of transmittances for the Argon ion laser so that the students can see the difference in gain between the 514 nm line and the 488 nm line; and several pairs of safety goggles so that the students can safely use the Nd:YAG laser.Given the importance of the laser in contemporary science we are doing our students a great service by providing this course whether they choose to go to graduate school or enter the job market immediately.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Undergraduate Education (DUE)
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Ruth H. Howes
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University of Alaska Fairbanks Campus
United States
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