Back to Volume
Paper: A Fourier Optics and Wavefront Sensing Laboratory Activity
Volume: 436, Learning from Inquiry In Practice
Page: 160
Authors: Do, T.; Fitzgerald, M.; Ammons, S. M.; Crossfield, I.; Yelda, S.; Armstrong, J. D.; Severson, S.
Abstract: 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.
Back to Volume