As part of this program development, 2000 square feet of laboratory space has been renovated to house the Optical Science and Engineering Laboratory. This student laboratory includes five 4' by 8' floating optical tables. separate work benches, He-Ne lasers, optics mounts, lenses, mirrors, photodetectors, spectrometers, and other optical components. Ten instrumentation racks are available for computer interfacing to equipment. The racks include computers, printers, lock-in amplifiers, function generators, power supplies, and oscilloscopes. The Computers are also equiped with GPIB interfaces, RS232 interfaces, Data Acquisition Boards, and LABVIEW software for virtual instrumentation.
As shown in the figure, one section of the lab is equipped with movable chairs for classroom lectures. Students use the work benches for assembling optical components, soldering, sample preparation, etc. Each optical table has its own portable computer equipped with GPIB and RS232 interfaces and a portable equipment rack on wheels for storing electronics such as lock-in amplifiers, oscilloscopes, power supplies, etc. Wherever appropriate, the laboratory equipment is interfaced to the computer for easy experimental control, data acquisition and data analysis. The portability of the computer and equipment rack permits students optimal access to the optical table.
In the undergraduate lab, class size is limited to a maximum of two students per optical table (10 students per laboratory section). The purpose of this small class size is to ensure that students get extensive, hands-on experience in setting up, diagnosing and testing optical components and systems. Currently, He-Ne lasers and Q-switched YAG laser as used in the OPSE lab. Other high-power and pulsed lasers located in faculty member's research labs are available for student use.