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Undergraduate Optoelectronics Laboratories

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1997 Annual Conference


Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Publication Date

June 15, 1997

Start Date

June 15, 1997

End Date

June 18, 1997



Page Count


Page Numbers

2.448.1 - 2.448.6

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Paper Authors

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Susan M. Lord

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 1526

Undergraduate Optoelectronics Laboratories

Susan M. Lord Bucknell University

ABSTRACT This Instrumentation and Laboratory Improvement project focuses on providing undergraduates with experience in optoelectronics, an important multidisciplinary technology. An Optoelectronics Laboratory facility has been established at Bucknell University. This enabled the development of laboratory experiments for first-year students and for juniors, seniors, and masters students in an elective course.

A laboratory experiment was performed by 215 first year engineering and other interested students in the fall of 1996. This exercise included five inexpensive and transportable modules which provide a hands-on introduction to optoelectronics.

In the spring of 1996, students in “Optoelectronic Materials and Devices” performed five new laboratory experiments. These experiments included determining the lattice parameters of semiconductors from X-ray diffraction data, comparing white light sources, gas and semiconductor lasers, and light emitting diodes (LEDs), characterizing materials for detectors and comparing photodetector device structures. The final two experiments focused on fiber optics and were developed by a student as her senior design project. Students coupled light from a HeNe laser into an optical fiber in one lab. In “Creating Optical Communication Links”, students investigated digital and analog modulation using plastic fiber, glass fiber, and free space. Finally, students multiplexed two stereo signals: one using an external modulator and one using a directly modulated LED.

INTRODUCTION Optoelectronics involves using electrons (electricity) and photons (light or optical energy) to perform useful functions. Optoelectronics is an area of growing importance in engineering and in the consumer market. A multidisciplinary endeavor combining elements of physics, electrical engineering, and materials science, optoelectronics is also a good forum to introduce students to the need to bring together information from many different technical fields. Although many people observe optoelectronics in action in remote controls or compact disk (CD) players, most undergraduates do not get much exposure to optoelectronics in engineering curricula. This is particularly true at the freshman level. However, it is possible to introduce students to this area with a modest amount of expense.

An Optoelectronics Laboratory has been established and several laboratory experiments have been developed for undergraduates at Bucknell University with funding from an NSF Instrumentation and Laboratory Improvement (ILI) grant and the College of Engineering. One effort focused on an exercise for first year students. Another centered on adding a laboratory component to an upper level elective class in Optoelectronic Materials and Devices. The goals and level of these experiments varied and will be described in this paper.

Lord, S. M. (1997, June), Undergraduate Optoelectronics Laboratories Paper presented at 1997 Annual Conference, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

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