Hands-On Laser Training Opportunity
by Alice Sobczak, CLSO
Need some hands on laser training or a good review of laser and optics principles?
I recently completed some on-line class work and attended a capstone laser lab experience, Fundamentals of Light and Lasers presented by OP-TEC, the National Center for Optics and Photonics Education and the National Science Foundation. The goal of this class is to address the growing need for trained laser technicians by providing training to educators. This course is designed for college faculty who are interested in developing a photonics program.
Fundamentals of Light and Lasers is part one of a two-part series. This course includes six modules, all presented on-line with accompanying math videos, lab videos, tutorials, and excellent applets to explain the ideas presented in the text. Participants proceed through the modules at their own pace, and then attend a 2.5-day, hands-on lab session at one of several different colleges around the country. The only cost to participants is for travel, food and lodging while attending the lab session.
The on-line text presents in depth coverage of basic laser topics ranging from particle and wave theories of light to geometric optics, polarization of light, and many other photonics principles. The lab videos follow along with the text and help in understanding the material presented in the text.
Indian Hills Community College in Ottumwa, Iowa hosted the lab session that I attended. This community college offers a 21-month Laser Electro Optics program with 100% job placement for graduates. Students earn an Associates of Applied Science degree and go on to work at Raytheon, Northrop Grumman, Lawrence Livermore National Labs and many other companies.
This is a great course for laser safety officers who may not have a strong background in lasers, or as an excellent review for experienced laser users. The staff at Indian Hills is very enthusiastic about the field of photonics and offer many resources to help faculty establish laser electro optic programs at their colleges, and are always available for support along the way. Check out OP-TEC’s website under Faculty Development to learn more.