Summer REU 2008

                    Joshua Perkins                

Supervisor:  Dr. Kristin Corwin

Kansas State University Physics Department  REU Program, sponsored by NSF

Project Goals: 

My project goals for the summer are to build an acetylene laser inside of a Photonic Band Gap Fiber (PBGF).

Research Strategy: 

First, design a basic setup for the laser cavity and optics using prior knowledge of optics research. Second, I am going to research the lasing properties of acetylene so I can better understand how this system should work. Third, once I have all of the parts, construction on the laser will begin. Finally, I will (hopefully) have time to test several gasses and ratios to achieve better laser gain.

Research Progress: 

So far I have ordered all of the parts necessary for building the laser cavity. This includes, but is not limited to: PBGF fiber, SMF fiber, custom built vacuum system, mirrors, lenses, fiber optic: polarizing beam splitter, mirror and devices to support and align all of these parts such as a circulator. This has turned to be a large part of the project, since this has never been done before designing, gathering, and assembling all of the required equipment has shown to be extremely time consuming. Meanwhile, I am studying laser systems and how to model them.

Now that I have assembled a temporary system I have begun testing for fluorescence to see which transitions are occurring most often.

The fluorescence testing system works, but we see no light other than what we are putting into the system with our pump laser. Any actual fluorescence is being covered up by random noise in the detector (ANDO) even in its most sensitive settings. Doing a scan for light in a 10 nm section takes about 20 to 30 minutes and my over all range of wavelengths is around 150nm. I will have to leave this project in the capable hands of Andrew Jones who has been working with me on this project all summer. Unfortunately, now he will have to take all of the fluorescence measurements by himself.

Final Presentation:  I gave with the first round of presentations since my advisor Dr. Corwin was traveling during the second round. I was a little nervous, but I had plenty of practice so it went well. Find it here.

Final Report: The final report I turned into my advisor.

Lectures by Dr. Weaver:  ARE AMAZINGLY HELPFUL, AND INFORMATIVE. We learned about Quantum and high energy physics, optics (including a great lecture on holograms which I requested). We also covered several areas in basic physics like energy scales, and waves. I already knew the basics that some of the lectures, but I can tell they were really helpful to several of the other REU students, and now I have an even better understanding of how to explain these topics to others.

About Me:  I just finished my 4th year at Texas A&M University (which explains the Maroon and White). I play the bassoon. Some of the REU students were disappointed that I wasn’t “Texan” even though I am from Texas. I did manage to annoy them with the consistent use of the word “y’all”.

Useful Links: 

American Physical Society Statements on Ethics

American Institute of Physics