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The Spotlight Report

The Spotlight Report

By The Spotlight Report
The Spotlight Report is a podcast in which we discuss science, research, and other topics with the goal of educating and critically exploring different topics. Additionally, the human side of science is often under appreciated and not discussed, thus, it is a huge effort to capture and explore the less talked about joys and struggles of the sciences with a focus on the humanity that powers the cutting edge discoveries of our world. Take a listen and leave a comment!
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Dr Kris Ford on Plasma Physics, Analytical Chemistry, and Life After Graduate School

The Spotlight Report

Dr Kris Ford on Plasma Physics, Analytical Chemistry, and Life After Graduate School

The Spotlight Report

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Erin McDermott on creating Odd Engineer, overcoming obstacles, and determination
This week we spoke with Erin McDermott, who has most recently created Odd Engineer, a service for companies to find experts in a field who they can quickly speak to for expert advice. Erin discusses how she got into optics, the many obstacles she faced along her career, and the stunning determination she has cultivated and maintained to get to where she is at now; namely being her own boss, and creating her own career. She also discusses her recently published book, Freelancer’s Framework, where she discusses how engineers of physical products can succeed as freelancers. I have had the pleasure of working with Erin in a professional role, and her knowledge of how to succeed and thrive in the world of optics, which she shares here, has been invaluable. I am sure listeners will find this episode to be a great resource. Video version of this episode. Episode forum, where you can comment and discuss this episode further and leave us feedback.  Additional Links: * Odd Engineer, Erin’s platform securing expert engineering advice. *  Freelancer’s Framework, Guidebook 1, Erin’s recent publication. * College Co-Op programs article from 2020. * Bi-directional Reflectance Distribution Function (BRDF) pdf explaining the general concept. * Youtube video of a Goniophotometer in action. 
01:23:26
March 18, 2021
Henry Quach on how COVID has affected graduate research.
In this episode, Henry Quach, who is in his third year of the Wyant  College of Optics graduate program, discusses how his research has been  affected by COVID-19. This is a fascinating topic as we discuss how this  period of graduate school is already typically one of the more  challenging yet formative phases of a graduate program, and Henry  explores how the unique constraints have required creative inspiration  on the student's part to maintain forward progress. We discuss mental  health, research, and the meta-purpose of graduate school; and if all of  that doesn't meet the science/engineering expectations for this  podcast, Henry also shows off some very cool home built devices and 3D  printed tools he has created. For updates on Henry's, and the LOFT group's, research, see: http://www.loft.optics.arizona.edu/  For the full video of the episode, please visit: https://youtu.be/WsofGJlQ1IY 
01:01:22
February 1, 2021
Julius Muschaweck on Illumination and Education
Our guest this week is Julius Muschaweck, who has an extensive and impressive background in illumination. He discusses his prior work in the field, the importance of LEDs, and his current work on fostering education on this overlooked area of physics and creating an active illumination community. I greatly enjoyed this conversation, Julius is clearly an expert in illumination, and is excellent and teaching about these topics.  I strongly encourage listeners to explore is personal page, his announced courses (I intend to attend them), and his free webinars, shared in the related resources section. Related Resources: Julius' Personal Website Julius' LinkedIn Page Julius' Illumination Course Announcement OSRAM Company Arri Cameras Company Communities of Practice Introduction Julius' Webinar "What is Etendue and Why is it Important?" Julius' Webinar "Source Modeling in Illumination Optics" Data Format Standard for Sharing Light Source Measurements Discuss on the forum Watch the youtube video of the discussion: https://youtu.be/YmOZ7lGkXPU
01:28:38
September 30, 2020
Dr. Araceli Venegas-Gomez on Qureca, Quantum Optics, and the future of quantum industry
This week I had the pleasure of speaking with Dr. Araceli Venegas-Gomez. Araceli received her doctorate in Quantum Optics from the University of Strathclyde, and is the founder and CEO of Qureca, a company leading the way on creating and strengthening bridges between companies and the workforce in Quantum. We spoke in depth about how Araceli entered into quantum optics from being an aerospace engineer, why she created a quantum company, and what she views as the future of quantum industry and key skills needed by companies now. This was a very enjoyable conversation for me, and I learned quite a bit about an and field of quantum, which was previously very opaque and confusing. Dr. Venegas-Gomez's insight on the diversity of workforce needed for quantum, and the various avenues to enter the field were refreshing and eye opening to me for a field traditionally considered extremely esoteric and confined to the highest reaches of academia. Highly recommended. Related Reading and Links: Qureca Building The Quantum Workforce Of The Future Quantum Optics and Quantum Many-body Systems- Andrew Daley's Research group at the University of Strathclyde The U.S. National Quantum Initiative: From Act to action A list of courses offered by Qureca in the fall, for anyone interested I strongly recommend reaching out (I for one may be looking into Quantum for everyone!): Quantum for everyone (introductory course and quantum technologies overview). Quantum Computing algorithms for Finance  Finance introduction for quantum algorithms Applications in Quantum Chemistry Quantum and AI QKD technology Quantum computing hardware
57:50
August 14, 2020
Dr. Patrick Hagar on Material Chemistry, Films, Adhesives, and Finding Success and Innovation in Industry
We were extremely fortunate to have Dr. Pat Hagar sit down with us for this episode. Pat received his doctorate in polymer material science, which provided him with a strong science background for his 30 year career at the 3M Corporation. Pat discusses some of the applications of films and adhesives that he worked on during his time at 3M, what driving factors motivate innovation and product development, and what optical considerations exist with respect to films and adhesives. Pat also speaks about his personal experience inside of a corporation, and how he found success and growth in his role and how to collaborate in industry, as team centric work becomes essential. Overall, I just want to say Pat is a hugely impressive scientist and engineer, and a fantastic person; I highly recommend this episode. Related Readings: Tony Kinlock (Material Scientist): https://www.imperial.ac.uk/people/a.kinloch Fracture Mechanics (Introduction, MIT): https://web.mit.edu/course/3/3.11/www/modules/frac.pdf John Scalzi (Sci-Fi Author): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Scalzi The Long Earth (Recommended Sci-Fi Book): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Long_Earth Robert Johnson: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Johnson Reverend Gary Davis: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reverend_Gary_Davis Archeology Southwest: https://www.archaeologysouthwest.org/
01:15:58
March 12, 2020
Dr Kris Ford on Plasma Physics, Analytical Chemistry, and Life After Graduate School
This week Dr. Kris Ford sat down to talk about his dissertation topic on plasma physics, and his life after graduate school. Dr. Ford received his PhD in nuclear physics studying plasma diagnostic methods. After graduating, he has gone on to lead an analytical chemistry lab studying and classifying cannabis products. Dr. Ford shares interesting insight regarding receiving feedback that your dissertation topic may not be novel, how to complete a thesis, and what challenges exist in industry post graduation.  We have also shifted to a new format with the podcast, and we have a new host! Please let us know what you think of the new format. Related Reading: Plasma (Wikipedia): a high-level overview of plasma physics. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plasma_%28physics%29 Pulse Plasma (UT Dallas): an older report on the uses and methods to pulse plasma. Probably outdated at this point. https://personal.utdallas.edu/~overzet/Puls_97/ Effective Altruism: the website for a group that supports effective altruism. Not necessarily meant as the definitive guide on it. https://www.effectivealtruism.org/ Peter Singer TED Talk on Effective Altruism: a brief TED talk discussing the merits and methods for effective altruism. https://www.ted.com/talks/peter_singer_the_why_and_how_of_effective_altruism Why introductory chemistry lab is boring by Trevor Klee: an article discussing why intro chem lab is boring and may not serve us well when learning chemistry. Highly recommend. https://get21stnight.com/2019/12/27/why-introductory-chemistry-is-boring-a-long-term-historical-perspective/ Golijov: La Pasión según San Marcos: Lating/African contemporary classical music. Absolutely beautiful and highly recommend. https://www.amazon.com/Golijov-Pasi%C3%B3n-seg%C3%BAn-San-Marcos/dp/B0036OC9ME/ref=pd_sbs_15_1/135-5854595-2558859?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B0036OC9ME&pd_rd_r=d55f40a5-bb93-495f-99ee-206472608ff3&pd_rd_w=F8snG&pd_rd_wg=yqtOp&pf_rd_p=bdd201df-734f-454e-883c-73b0d8ccd4c3&pf_rd_r=07CAMTV3BK24DAJN8K4T&psc=1&refRID=07CAMTV3BK24DAJN8K4T Electrostatic Chromatography: an intro to electrostatic chromatography on Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrophilic_interaction_chromatography Conversations with Tyler: a podcast hosted by economist Tyler Cowen which covers a truly stunning array of topics. Recommend for just about anyone as there is almost assured a guest you will find interesting. https://conversationswithtyler.com/
01:31:03
February 4, 2020
Dr Heejoo Choi On Large Astronomical Optics
This month Dr. Heejoo Choi sat down to discus active and adaptive optics measures utilized in a range of astronomical telescopes. Specifically, Dr. Choi’s work brings him into frequent contact with a unique subset of astronomical optics known as ‘extremely large telescopes’, which are designated as having a clear aperture larger than 10 meters. Dr. Choi explains what some of the tools and devices are that allow for keeping such massive optics and structures aligned throughout long exposure sessions and in variable environments. Related Reading: Dr. Heejoo Choi Profile: http://www.loft.optics.arizona.edu/members/post-doc/heejoo-choi/ Nonlinear Optics: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nonlinear_optics Large Binocular Telescope Observatory (LBT): http://www.lbto.org/ What are Active and Adaptive Optics: https://www.eso.org/sci/facilities/develop/ao/what_ao.html Telescope Seeing Limit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Astronomical_seeing Reference laser star-ARGOS for LBT: http://www.mpe.mpg.de/ir/argos Econtalk Gerd Gigerenzer on Gut Feelings: https://www.econtalk.org/gerd-gigerenzer-on-gut-feelings/ European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT): https://www.eso.org/sci/facilities/eelt/ Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT): https://www.tmt.org/ NASA Space Borne Balloon Telescopes: https://asd.gsfc.nasa.gov/balloon/ Wikipedia on Space Balloon Telescopes: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balloon-borne_telescope
54:13
December 31, 2019
Henry Quach On 3D Printing
Henry Quach is in the graduate program for optical sciences, where he is pursuing his PhD. Henry has been an avid learner and fabricator in the 3D printing realm, both as a hobby and for research projects. He walks us through some of the cutting edge 3D printing technologies that have emerged, and explores what this means for rapid prototyping both in a research and industry application. Finally, Henry comments on the possible future trends for 3D printing. Related Reading: 1) FDM 3D printing: https://www.stratasys.com/fdm-technology 2) Thingaverse.com- free 3D models: https://www.thingiverse.com/ 3) Prussa I3 KM3: https://www.prusa3d.com/original-prusa-i3-mk3/ 4) Stereolithography: https://www.livescience.com/38190-stereolithography.html 5) Digital Light Processing: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_Light_Processing 6) CLIP-Continuous liquid interface production: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Continuous_Liquid_Interface_Production 7) The Maker Movement: https://time.com/104210/maker-faire-maker-movement/ 8) Addressing Ethics of Synthetic Human Organs: https://elifesciences.org/articles/20674 9) 3D Printing a Miniature Human Heart: https://www.thenakedscientists.com/articles/interviews/3d-printing-mini-heart 10) A Swifter way of Printing Organs: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/09/190906172436.htm 11) 3D Printing for Bioengineering: https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-08/cp-fwb081116.php
01:05:10
December 3, 2019
David Vega on Falloposcope Design and Biomedical Optics
This week we sat down with optical scientist David Vega, who performs optical design in Dr. Jennifer Barton’s tissue optics lab at the University of Arizona. David discusses how he found his way into the optical design field, and specifically biomedical optics. From there, we discuss the challenges that endoscopy imposes on optical design, and the unique additional challenges encountered when designing endoscopes for ovarian cancer detection. Further Resources: 1) Dr. Barton’s Lab: http://bmeoptics.engr.arizona.edu/ 2) Ovarian Cancer Wikipedia Page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ovarian_cancer 3) Histology Wikipedia Page, offers excellent images showing what a histologist will typically have to look through to make a diagnosis. :https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Histology
58:60
December 3, 2019
Dr. Hannah Grant on Opportunities and Challenges in Silicon Photonics
This week we spoke with Dr. Hannah Grant, who completed her PhD at UCSD with a focus on photonics on silicon. We last spoke with Hannah about her prior research on optical switches. Today, Dr. Grant walks us through her dissertation, titled “Opportunities and Challenges in Silicon Photonics Systems”. In addition, Dr. Grant shares her outlook on the graduate process, advice for the job search, and where the future of optical communication may be. As always, we thank our guest Dr. Hannah Grant look forward to our listeners comments! References Dr. Hannah Grant’s Dissertation (Draft Version): http://www.airyinsights.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/HRG_Thesis_DraftVersion.pdf Optical Switches : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Optical_switch Photonics: https://www.rp-photonics.com/photonics.html Crosstalk: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crosstalk
01:02:08
December 3, 2019
Lisa Li on Vision, Computer Science, and Culture
This week we spoke with Lisa Li, who is a Ph.D. student at the College of Optics as University of Arizona. She completed her MSc at Newcastle University, where her thesis, title ‘Colour constancy modelling with a biologically-inspired neural network structure’ was jointly done between the Computer Science and Neuroscience departments, under advisers Prof. Marcus Kaiser and Prof. Anya Hurlbert. Lisa briefly discussed her past work at Newcastle. Additionally, she comments about the cultural differences she witnessed between graduate schools, and some of the unique experiences she has encountered as a woman in the sciences. Lisa Li shed light on a fascinating field of science which we all have intuitively experienced and provides valuable insight on how to navigate a career in the sciences! As always, we thank our guest Lisa Li and we eagerly look forward to our listeners comments! References: 1) Dr. Marcus Kaiser Dynamic Connectome Lab: https://www.dynamic-connectome.org/ 2) Dr. Anya Hurlbert Academic Profile: https://www.ncl.ac.uk/ion/staff/profile/anyahurlbert.html#background 3) Cell Q&A with Dr. Hurlbert and Matt Ridley 4) Introduction to Neural Networks: https://www.explainthatstuff.com/introduction-to-neural-networks.html 5) Youtube video on Neural Networks: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GvQwE2OhL8I 6) Neural networks and back propagation explained in a simple way: https://medium.com/datathings/neural-networks-and-backpropagation-explained-in-a-simple-way-f540a3611f5e 7) National Geographic’s ‘The Dress’ : https://www.nationalgeographic.com.au/science/blue-or-white-dress-why-we-see-colours-differently.aspx 8) What #theDress reveals about the role of illumination priors in color perception and color constancy :https://eprint.ncl.ac.uk/file_store/production/242764/A390CDB3-9ADA-442C-96FB-7877D8745520.pdf 9) Guggenheim’s Piet Modrian Profile: https://www.guggenheim.org/artwork/3014
48:04
December 3, 2019
Dr. Maham Aftab on Modal Integration
In this weeks episode we sit down with Maham Aftab, who has an extensive background in the sciences as well as activism for a variety of causes. We discuss her most recent publication, in which she used Chebyshev gradient polynomials as a basis set for modal integration. She discusses the recursive nature of the polynomial set which allowed for her method to generate a high number of fitting polynomials. The integration’s ortho-normality is discussed, as well as its unique benefits and how it fits into the general universe of integration methods for slope data. Additionally, Maham speaks about her academic experience and her work in activism. Resources: Aftab’s Paper: Maham Aftab, James H. Burge, Greg A. Smith, Logan Graves, Chang-jin Oh, and Dae Wook Kim, “Modal Data Processing for High Resolution Deflectometry,” Int. J. of Precis. Eng. and Manuf.-Green Tech. (2018). (in press) Southwell Integration Paper: https://www.osapublishing.org/josa/abstract.cfm?uri=josa-70-8-998
50:48
December 3, 2019
Round Table 2: What is your reason for doing?
In this round table we discuss the idea of equity and meaning behind a degree, specifically a higher education degree in optics (which I will come back to). The central question is whether or not there is a problem with the amount of work, or quality of work, behind the same degree between two people. It is assumed that this is an actual occurrence (with many anecdotal pieces of evidence offered). The conversation transitioned and two clear view points arose. On one hand, the idea that you determine the value of your degree, and outsiders values should not meaningfully impact your reason for a degree or how you go about achieving the degree. The counter view was that to some extent the college and its alumni affect one another, such as a alumni can promote or dissuade groups from hiring from your college or academic group, thus impacting your future employment. A final undercurrent throughout is the idea that there is some, undefined, threshold that students should achieve before they can graduate, although due to how hard it was to pin down this seems to be a likely culprit for why comprehensive exams, orals, and defenses are so hated; making a test that everyone agrees defines some threshold beyond which you are an expert is extremely difficult. Finally, I realized after listening again we entirely missed the mark by considering a wider scope, namely, outside of higher education, or optics, etc. This topic bears coming back to which we will hopefully do soon. Note: Image Credit Jeremy Perkins
01:10:39
December 3, 2019
Nirantha Balagopal on Industry, Optics, and Math
This week we sat down with Nirantha Balagopal to discuss her current work in industry at Edmund Optics. She also talked about her prior masters work at the University of Arizona as well as her studies in math and its ongoing application towards everyday life. For all of our optical engineers out there this is a really great episode, as Balagopal provides extremely interesting thoughts about the transition and difference from academics to industry and very practical tips to know when interfacing with an optical component provider to make your project more likely to succeed. References: 1) Balagopal’s Master Thesis : https://www.optics.arizona.edu/sites/optics.arizona.edu/files/nirantha-balagopal-ms-report.pdf 2) Momsom on SPECT Imaging 3) The ABCs of Fluency: https://www.aubreydaniels.com/sites/default/files/ABCsofFluency_2015.pdf 4) SPIE Women in Optics Survey 2017: https://spie.org/about-spie/advocacy/women-in-optics/women-in-optics-survey?SSO=1 5) Society of Women Engineers: http://societyofwomenengineers.swe.org/ 6) Edmund Optics Youtube for Tutorials and Lessons: https://www.youtube.com/edmundoptics
01:04:52
December 3, 2019
Discuss, don't Lecture-Optics Roundtable No. 1
This is the first optics roundtable conversation. The roundttable format is a new thing we are trying out, in which a group of scientists will gather over beers to discuss some interesting current topic in science. In this week’s episode Edward LaVilla and Neil Momson joined the conversation to discuss two interesting topics. First, what is the best approach to discussing science with someone who holds a view on some scientific topic that you deem to be irrational? Do you tell them they are wrong, scoff, lecture to them what you hold to be right? Edward LaVilla proposed engaging all people in a scientific conversation, holding all curious and engaged parties as equals, and only making a prerequisite demand that rational and honest ideas be presented and generally to hold a scientific conversation. Building off of this concept, we then moved on to discussing Aumanian conversations, and how we arrive at defending absolute truths and generally what science is. Resources and Links from this Episode: Common Knowledge and Aumann’s Agreement Theorem: https://www.scottaaronson.com/blog/?p=2410 Note: Image Credit to Nadine Shaabana
01:10:40
December 3, 2019
Dr. Edward LaVilla on Visual Optics, Inspiration, and the Spirit of Learning
In this episode we sit down with the extremely dynamic Edward LaVilla, who is working on obtaining his doctorate in optical engineering. His work focuses on visual optics, although he has done research in a variety of other sub-fields inside of optics. Further, he brings the unique perspective of an entrepreneur, participating in the McGuire Entrepreneurship program at the University of Arizona and starting a small business. This is easily one of the most exciting and thought provoking interview we have done and I hope our listeners will enjoy. References: 1) Ibn al-Haytham “The Father of Optics”: https://www.photonics.com/a36717/Before_Newton_there_was_Alhazen 2) Roorda Lab: http://roorda.vision.berkeley.edu/ 3) Multmodal Retinal Imaging: https://www.amazon.com/Multimodal-Retinal-Imaging-Amresh-Chopdar/dp/1907816607 4)Statistical Model for Normal Eyes: http://iovs.arvojournals.org/article.aspx?articleid=2188017
59:37
December 3, 2019
Dr. Shuang Wu on Biostatistics
This week we spoke with Dr. Shuang Wu, who received his doctorate in research relating to embryonic stem cell work. He decided to slightly alter his research focus and began working on bio-statistics. Dr. Shuang Wu shares his insights on what bio-statistics means for the average person, the nuances in statistical work with applications in biological systems, and the ethical consequences of bio-statistics work in the real world.
01:08:07
December 3, 2019
Spencer on Podiatry
Daniel Spencer is a medical student who will be receiving his doctorate in podiatric medicine in May. This is an often overlooked field of medicine, which focuses on the foot, ankle, and lower leg area. Daniel sheds light on the field, current important topics in podiatry, as well as general insight and advice regarding medical school. Episode Resources 1) Neuropathy : https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Fact-Sheets/Peripheral-Neuropathy-Fact-Sheet 2) Ford on plasma research and nuclear engineering : https://soundcloud.com/user-981189121/ford-on-plasma-research-and-nuclear-engineering
01:02:34
December 3, 2019
Dr. Abdullah Zafar on plasma diagnostics for nuclear fusion
This week we spoke with Abdullah Zafar, whose work focuses on diagnostics of plasma. Zafar discusses how optical spectroscopy can be used to study plasma effects and dynamics, which leads to a more robust understanding of plasma. There is some very interesting and cutting edge engineering at play in Zafar’s work, allowing him to attain extremely high resolution high accuracy spectroscopic results of scans of a plasma field in only two dimensions. Further, we discuss current and future plasma applications, graduate school, and Zafar shares words of advice for those considering or in the early stages of their research career. References and Resources for this episode: 1) ITER: https://www.iter.org/
01:05:15
December 3, 2019
Dr. Kris Ford on Plasma Research and Nuclear Engineering
Dr. Kris Ford sat down to discuss plasma research, higher education, and motivation. At the time of this interview, Dr. Ford was a Ph.D. candidate in nuclear engineering, specifically plasma research. He discusses the intricacies of his current work, including the ultra high precision fabrication capabilities and the statistical uncertainties related to the methods used. Further, we explore the motivations and challenges of remaining mentally healthy when engaged in high demand work, and some approaches to overcome the challenges associated with such a situation. References: 1) 4-START:Fourth State Applications Research Group (Research group Mr. Ford is currently part of): http://www4.ncsu.edu/~scshanno/index.html 2) Mindset: The new psychology of succes by Dr. Carol S. Dweck: https://read.amazon.com/kp/embed?asin=B000FCKPHG&preview=newtab&linkCode=kpe&ref_=cm_sw_r_kb_dp_QcAQAb3FR107Y 3) Vasimr plasma engine: http://www.spaceflightinsider.com/conferences/humans-to-mars/vasimr-plasma-engine-earth-mars-39-days/ Note: Photo Credit: Kris Ford. An oxygen plasma is created, which should have a cylindrical shape due to the powering coil shape. Ionization occurs in the power deposition region. In this case, an ‘orb’ forms however, a phenomenon currently unexplained.
01:13:52
December 3, 2019
Dr. John Koshel on Illumination, the Century of Light, and Academics
Dr. John Koshel, the Associate Dean as the College of Optical Sciences at the University of Arizona sat down to discuss illumination, the Century of Light, and academics. Dr. Koshel has a long background in optical sciences, ranging from laser based research in graduate school at Rochester to illumination engineering in industry, and most recently as a researcher and Associate Dean. Dr. Koshel expands on what illumination engineering is, his current research, the century of the photon and what we can expect in the future from optics, and his perspectives on graduate school and research. We really enjoyed speaking with Dr. Koshel and think that our listeners will get an enormous amount of knowledge and wisdom from this episode. Relevant material to this episode: Century of Optics: https://www.osapublishing.org/books/bookshelf/osa-century-optics.cfm
57:03
December 3, 2019
Oliver Spires on Optical Fabrication
This week Oliver Spires sat down to discuss optical fabrication. This is a topic often taken for-granted by optical scientists, as optical fabrication is the conversion of a theoretical component to a real and usable piece. Oliver discusses techniques and methodologies such as diamond turning and mold pressed optics. Additionally, some of the difficulties and limitations of these methods are covered. Related Reading: 1)Science Direct on Diamond Turning: https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/engineering/diamond-turning 2)Edmund Optics on Diamond Turning Optics: https://www.edmundoptics.com/capabilities/diamond-turning/ 3) Wikipedia Article on Glass Moulding: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Precision_glass_moulding
01:05:14
December 3, 2019
Samuel Nerenberg on Bose Einstein Condensates and Creativity in the Sciences
Samuel Nerenberg, a doctoral student at the College of Optical Sciences at the University of Arizona, sits down to talk about his work on Bose-Einstein Condensates as well as other quantum optic phenomenon. Samuel discusses what defines a BEC, the difficulties involved with creating such a state of matter, and what his group is studying in their behavior. Additionally, we discuss the idea of creativity in fields traditionally considered bereft of human expression, namely mathematics and physics. Tune in for a great discussion and we look forward to hearing your feedback as always! Resources mentioned in this weeks episode: 1) BECs from LiveScience: https://www.livescience.com/54667-bose-einstein-condensate.html 2) https://journals.aps.org/prl/abstract/10.1103/PhysRevLett.59.2631
01:01:17
December 3, 2019
Dr. Cooper-Sood on using Ketamine for Pain Management in Sickle Cell Anemia Patients
Dr. Johnathan Cooper-Sood sits down to discuss his research on novel pain management methods in patients who suffer from sickle cell anemia. These patients suffer extreme, chronic life long pain. Dr. Cooper-Sood discusses the current pain management protocol, which traditionally relies heavily on large opiate dosages, and how ketamine may provide an alternative pain management tool. Additionally, Dr. Cooper-Sood comments on some of the unique challenges human based studies carry, and what the future may hold for pain management in such cases. We hope you enjoy and as always we encourage our listeners to comment or email us! Related Reading: 1) Dr. Cooper-Sood on Seat Belts for Children: https://insights.ovid.com/crossref?an=00006565-900000000-98148 2) Dr. Cooper-Sood on Pediatric Pneumonia: https://europepmc.org/article/MED/30943363 3) Ketamine for Sickle-Cell Anemia: https://sicklecellanemianews.com/ketamine/ 4) Low Dose Ketamine for Adults with Sickle-Cell Anemia: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/15360288.2018.1468383?journalCode=ippc20
01:11:28
December 3, 2019
Dr. Chris Summitt on Optic Chip Interconnects
Dr. Chris Summitt talks about a new fabrication process of a polymer out-of-plane optical coupler by gray-scale lithography. Dr. Summitt discusses the motivation for optical chip interconnects, the limitations on fabrication methods, and his novel technique and results. Additionally, he comments on the fit of graduate school for students, as well as sharing some techniques for maintaining a healthy balance while a student. As always we look forward to your feedback and comments!
01:25:41
December 3, 2019
Hannah Grant on Characterizing Silicon Photonic Switches
Hannah Grant discusses her work which focuses on Silicon Photonics. Most recently she has developed and demonstrated a heuristic characterization of Si-Photonic switches. While Si-Photonics is impressive technology, a characterization method has been lacking. Hannah covers her recent work, the scope and uses of Si-Photonics, and the need for a characterization of optical switches. For a more detailed description of Hannah Grant’s most recent work, please see: https://doi.org/10.1364/PS.2017.PTu3C.1 Related Reading: 1) Heuristic Characterization of Photonic Switches : https://doi.org/10.1364/PS.2017.PTu3C.1 2)Photonics: Optical Electronics in Modern Communications by By Amnon Yariv and Pochi Yeh (https://www.amazon.com/Photonics-Electronics-Communications-Electrical-Engineering/dp/0195179463)
56:17
December 2, 2019
Neil Momsen on SPECT Imaging
Neil Momsen, a graduate student whose research focuses on biomedical imaging applications, explains the working concept for a SPECT imaging system. There is discussion covering the system components, theory, noise, and statics. Neil sheds some light on a device we take for granted in medical procedures but which is extremely complex both in the hardware and data processing. As always, please leave your feedback and comment on today's episode. Related Reading: 1) Anger Mathematics: http://mathworld.wolfram.com/AngerFunction.html 2)SPECT Imaging Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Single-photon_emission_computed_tomography
01:12:45
December 2, 2019
Dr. Christine Bradley on Spectropolarimetric Observations
Dr. Christine Bradley discusses her doctoral work on spectropolarimetric imaging, which was used to map the polarimetric BRDF of various Earth based zones. An alternative way to thinking about this is a mapping of the reflectance of various common zones on Earth. Dr. Bradley discusses some of the challenges she faced in her work and and outcome of her research. Additionally, she shares excellent tips about getting through research and dissertation writing. We hope you enjoy this weeks podcast, and as always we encourage our listeners to comment on this weeks episode. Related Reading/ Viewing: 1) Dr. Bradley's Dissertation Defense: https://www.facebook.com/10135028/videos/10106093474570012/ 2) Spectral Invariance Theory: https://www.spiedigitallibrary.org/conference-proceedings-of-spie/9613/96130U/Spectral-invariance-hypothesis-study-of-polarized-reflectance-with-Ground-based/10.1117/12.2187495.short 3) SpectroPolarimetric Imaging Observations by Dr. Christine Bradley: https://repository.arizona.edu/handle/10150/624499 Note: Image Credit to Chris Summitt.
01:02:58
December 2, 2019
Dr. Chase Salsbury on the Unspoken Challenges of Graduate School
This week we sit down with Chase Salsbury and have a candid conversation about some of the common challenges graduate students face, particularly ones that are not often spoken of outside of grad students. This is a topic that we think is extremely important to talk about and we hope you enjoy the podcast. As always if you have comments or feedback please let us know! Related Reading: 1) https://blogs.sciencemag.org/pipeline/archives/2018/03/26/depression-and-anxiety-in-graduate-school 2)https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/the-emotional-toll-of-graduate-school/
01:05:18
December 2, 2019
Dae Wook Kim on Large Optics
Dr. Dae Wook Kim is the head of the LOFT group at the College of Optics at the University of Arizona. While his original background was in astronom, he came to the University of Arizona and completed his PhD in optical sciences. His dissertation covered computer controlled surface figuring for fabrication of complex large extremely large optics. From there, Dr. Kim has contributed to a wide range of academic research projects as well as fabrications of various optics, including the 4.2 m DKIST primary mirror. We sit down with Dr. Dae Wook Kim to learn about his current deflectometry and fabrication research projects, what he finds most exciting in optics right now, and what projects he hopes to do in the future. To learn more about Dr. Dae Wook Kim’s recent work, we recommend reading his recent publication in Business Insider discussing how the world’s largest mirrors are created. The publication can be found at: http://www.loft.optics.arizona.edu/documents/journal_articles/TheConveration_BM_DKim_2016Jan.pdf
47:25
May 1, 2017
Graves on Infrared Deflectometry
This week we discuss infrared deflectometry and its applications towards large optics fabrication. By utilizing a long wavlength, surfaces that are not reflective in the visible are able to be tested using deflectometry. Some of the challenges that went into the IR deflectometry system, including source design, geometry considerations, and source errors are discussed. Additionally, Graves comments on his experience in being part of the team that performed metrology for the 4.2 m DKIST primary mirror. For more information on infrared deflectometry please read: http://www.loft.optics.arizona.edu/documents/journal_articles/IR_Deflectometry_SPIE_Newsroom_2015_DKim.pdf Thank you for listening to this weeks episode. If you have any questions or comments please let us know. Additionally, we are always looking for new topics to cover, so please email or comment to let us know who should be in the spotlight in the future.
43:53
April 24, 2017
The Large Optics and Fabrication Group
This week we introduce the first series for The Spotlight Report, which will be the LOFT Group. The LOFT Group (large optics and fabrication technology) focuses on metrology research, such as CGH’s and deflectometry, as well as fabrication breakthroughs, including polishing methods, materials, and control. Tune in to see what the LOFT Group is all about and to get an idea of the topics we will be covering in the coming episodes of this series! Also, this week we mentioned swing arm profilometry, which was indeed created in the LOFT Group. You can find the journal article discussing the swing arm profilometer at: http://www.loft.optics.arizona.edu/documents/journal_articles/Anderson%20Proc%20SPIE%202536.pdf
22:00
April 10, 2017
Trumper on Instantaneous Phase Shifting Deflectometry
We sit down this week with Isaac Trumper to discuss his new work on an instantaneous phase shifting deflectometry system he developed and deployed on an iPhone. His work allows for dynamic metrology of optical surfaces in an extremely low cost form. Background: Deflectometry is a specific method used to optically measure a surface shape. The concept is based on a simple principle, if a candle is lit and we hold it at a known position in front of a reflective surface, also at a known position, and then move our eye until we see the candle, we can calculate the slope of the mirror. By doing this for all points on a mirror, we can integrate the surface slopes to arrive at a surface profile. If instead of a candle we upgraded to a screen, we can now display very complex images to illuminate the entire mirror surface at once, allowing us to calculate all the surface slopes without moving our source. A source image used commonly is a sinusoidal pattern, which is phase shifted a number of times. This pattern is presented in the x and y orthogonal directions to obtain x and y slope maps, which allows for the calculation of a complete surface map. One previous limitation to this method is that the screen had to display each phase shifted sinusoid consecutively. This is no longer the case, as Isaac Trumper recently has proven that the phase shifts can be encoded into different color channels, red, green, and blue, of the screen. This allows for three simultaneous phase shifted sinusoids to be presented at once. Additionally, using Fourier transform techniques, Trumper was able to encode the x and y sinusoid patterns simultaneously, allowing for one screen to be showing a total of 3 unique patterns in the x direction, and 3 unique patterns in the y direction; i.e. 6 multiplexed channels at once. This allows for a single display and image capture to entirely capture all the required information to completely solve for the surface profile of your optic under test. For a complete description of the work done, please see Isaac Trumper’s recent paper, located at http://www.loft.optics.arizona.edu/documents/journal_articles/oe-24-24-27993_DKim.pdf .
57:26
March 19, 2017