Nature and Properties of Light [chapter]

Linda Vandergriff
Fundamentals of Photonics  
Light plays a vital role in our daily lives. It is used in compact disc (CD) players, in which a laser reflecting off a CD transforms the returning signal into music. It is used in grocery store checkout lines, where laser beams read bar codes for prices. It is used by laser printers to record images on paper. It is used in digital cameras that capture our world and allow pictures to be displayed on the Internet. It is the basis of the technology that allows computers and telephones to be
more » ... ephones to be connected to one another over fiber-optic cables. And light is used in medicine, to produce images used in hospitals and in lasers that perform eye surgery. The generation, transport, manipulation, detection, and use of light are at the heart of photonics. Photonics is a critical part of the future and a growing career field. In 1997 it was a $50 billion market with a projected growth of 10 to 20 percent over the next decade. Photonics technicians and engineers must master new concepts, learn new techniques, and develop new skills. To work in photonics it is necessary to have a basic understanding of the nature of light and its properties. Prerequisites This module requires a basic understanding of high school algebra, trigonometry, general scientific nomenclature, the scientific process, units conversions, and basic concepts in elementary physics and chemistry. Downloaded From: on 09/18/2013 Terms of Use: Downloaded From: on 7/22/2018 Terms of Use: N A T U R E A N D P R O P E R T I E S O F L I G H T 3 True Life Scenario Holly works as a photonics assembly technician. The factory where she is employed creates laser diode assemblies for a variety of commercial uses. As an assembly technician, she creates and aligns laser diode components and ensures that the bonded products meet the tight quality standard she and her company require of all their products. At the beginning of the shift, Holly gets her assignment for the production run. She prepares for entering the clean room where the work will take place. Then, after entering, she logs on at her assembly station. She selects the correct workspace file for the devices to be manufactured during that shift. The workspace file selection is based on wavelength, other optical properties, and pass/fail criteria set for this particular device. With the components provided, Holly first sets up the lateral shearing interferometer and the microlens/laser diode product. Then she collimates and directs the laser diode beam into the beam analysis tool for testing. Figure 1-1 Photonics assembly technician assembling LEDs 1 After that she reviews the results on the computer monitor and adjusts the alignment until the device is acceptable. Finally, she bonds the microlens and laser diode and stores the final measurements to a log file on the network server. These measurements, along with those of the other devices created during this production run, will serve as a statistical base for evaluation of the production process and the product quality. Holly will create a batch of microlens/laser diode pairs during her shift. Depending on the order and application, this run may require days or weeks. Then a new product will be designed for production, and Holly and her counterparts on the production floor will create it. This will require an evolving understanding of light and its uses to allow flexibility in the manufacturing process and keep Holly and her company competitive in the growing marketplace.
doi:10.1117/3.784938.ch1 fatcat:t7d72fycvzcwnh24gg4rds3klu