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Optical Filter Design, Fabrication and Characterization; A Multifaceted Approach to Project- Based Curriculum

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

Engineering Physics & Physics Division Technical Session 3

Tagged Division

Engineering Physics & Physics

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.957.1 - 24.957.6



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Paper Authors


Scott Ryan Kirkpatrick Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

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Scott Kirkpatrick is an Assistant Professor of Physics and Optical Engineering at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. He teaches physics, semiconductor processes, and micro electrical and mechanical systems (MEMS). His research interests include heat engines, magnetron sputtering, and nanomaterial self-assembly. His masters thesis work at the University of Nebraska Lincoln focused on reactive sputtering process control. His doctoral dissertation at the University of Nebraska Lincoln investigated High Power Impulse Magnetron Sputtering.

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Maarij M. Syed Rose-Hulman Institute of Tech

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Dr. Maarij Syed has been actively involved in the area of magneto-optics. His background is in the magneto-optics of quantum heterostructures and magnetic bulk materials. During his time here at Rose-Hulman he has focused on building a magneto-optics lab and developing various magneto-optics experiments for research and for student projects and classes. Dr. Syed has also used other reflection based techniques (e.g. ellipsometry) in his work, especially in the area of polymer film characterization.
On the pedagogical side, Dr. Syed has been involved in evaluating the studio style format for physics courses. He has been teaching the introductory sequence in this format where students learn through hands-on activities. He has also served as a judge for the Indiana State Science and Engineering Fair for the last eight years.

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Richard W. Liptak Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

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Engineering Physics (EP), at its core, is a multidisciplinary approach to solving problemsthat require insights from various traditional disciplines. The EP curriculum at Rose-HulmanInstitute of Technology strives to foster this multidisciplinary approach by incorporating studentprojects that require integrating concepts and principles from various fields into a meaningfulapproach toward a realistic solution. These projects, ideally involve a design / problemstatement, a fabrication step, and a testing or characterization stage. As an example of such anapproach, a new lab is proposed to provide students with an understanding of optics, thin filmdepositions and real world constraints. Students are presented with the concept of a Fabry-Perot(FP) filter, and are asked to create a metal-dielectric-metal multilayer film to produce filters inthe visible spectrum. The filters are then analyzed with reflectance spectroscopy andellipsometry. The results are then analyzed for consistency and to gain insights into the details ofthe fabrication process and the resulting structure. The project involves fabricating and analyzing a metal-dielectric-metal (MDM) film.MDM is a thin layer of a highly reflective metal (Cr), then a layer of highly transparent dielectricmaterial (SiO2), and finally a thin layer of a highly reflective metal. When light enters an MDMfilm, it can reflect off of the first layer of metal, or it can pass through the metal and dielectric,and reflect off of the second layer of metal. When white light enters an MDM film, it acts muchlike a FP etalon; the light interferes constructively and the reflectance of the film peaks at acertain wavelength. The peak reflectance wavelength, like a Fabry-Perot etalon, is dependent onthe optical path length, e.g., the thickness of the dielectric material, the index of refraction, andthe angle of incidence. By carefully controlling the thickness of the dielectric material, one canchange the reflectance peak of the film. This can be visible to the naked eye, depending upon thethickness of the film, as changing the color of the film. By adding more layers, the width of thereflectance peak can be decreased. Also, as more layers are added, the peak reflectance increases.The fabricated structures are also analyzed by reflectance and spectroscopic ellipsometry tounderstand how the actual sample differs from the ideal structure that is proposed. We alsodiscuss how this project can be incorporated into different classes with varying emphasis.Examples of possible courses that can benefit from such a project include senior project, opticsof materials, Advanced MEMs, etc.

Kirkpatrick, S. R., & Syed, M. M., & Liptak, R. W. (2014, June), Optical Filter Design, Fabrication and Characterization; A Multifaceted Approach to Project- Based Curriculum Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--22890

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2014 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015