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Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty of Science
December 3, 2016
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Physics & Computer Science

Bluevale Collegiate Physics Students attend Photonics Demonstrations

Nov 27/06

Twenty-five grade 12 physics students and three science teachers from Bluevale Collegiate attended photonics lectures and demonstrations at Laurier's Department of Physics and Computer Science.

Bluevale Collegiate has a very vibrant grade 11/12 physics program. Regardless of the strength of a high school physics program,  photonics is not common high school terminology.

The teachers from Bluevale used the talks to expand the optics concepts covered in the high school physics program to introduce their students to the concepts of photonics, the applications of photonics, and the career possibilities.  Laurier faculty also talked about their research in photonics and Laurier's undergraduate program in photonics. 

Lab demonstrations covered concepts and applications such as

  • visible and invisible light
  • total internal reflection
  • grating diffraction
  • spectrometer
  • optical time domain reflectometer (OTDR)
  • holograms
  • fibre optic cable splicing
  • laser communication

What is Photonics?

Photonics is a rapidly emerging discipline associated with the generation, manipulation, transmission and detection of light and energy. The word photonics is derived from “photon”, an individual particle of light or packet of electromagnetic energy. Consequently, photonics is the study of how photons behave and is commonly used to describe the technology associated with the manipulation, generation, flow and capture of photons.

Opto-electronics and electro-optics are terms used for devices that use electrical fields or currents to directly generate, manipulate or detect light. The development of opto-electronic technologies such as the semiconductor laser have opened up new photonics applications.

Light is fundamental physical phenomena. Combine light with electronics and algorithms and you have an amazing number and variety of applications for photonics. Accordingly, photonics is influencing many industry sectors, including: information technology and telecommunications, health care and life sciences, optical sensing, lighting and energy, manufacturing, defence, fabrication of optical components and systems, pure research and education, space exploration and environmental monitoring.

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