|A Fourier Optics and Wavefront Sensing Laboratory Activity
|436, Learning from Inquiry In Practice
|Do, T.; Fitzgerald, M.; Ammons, S. M.; Crossfield, I.; Yelda, S.; Armstrong, J. D.; Severson, S.
|The Fourier optics activity is designed to enable students to observe
and experiment with the diffraction of light. The goal of this
activity is for the students to be able to use the principles of
Fourier transforms in explanations of diffraction phenomena. We
developed a series of tiered goals to accommodate participants with a large range of optics experience in the Adaptive
Optics Summer School at UC Santa Cruz. This activity is conducted in two stages. In
the first stage, students investigate a series of basic wave optics
phenomena with the laboratory setup; in the later stage students
have the additional options of constructing a Shack-Hartmann wavefront
sensor or a high contrast imaging system. The tabletop optical setup
for the activity consists of a computer-controlled detector
illuminated by a laser source, and a set of lenses and apertures.
Students work in small groups to investigate the relationships between
the shape of the limiting aperture and the resulting far-field
diffraction pattern. In addition, students
examine how phase errors in the pupil affect the point spread
function, and how they alter the signal received by a
Shack-Hartmann sensor. Software tools are provided for comparing
experimental results with simulations.