I find lasers and optics fascinating. Recently I have been studying the polarization of light. In particular polarized light is expected to be transmitted by a polarizer aligned parallel to the direction of polarization. A crossed polarizer should block the light. However, what happens if the light does not impinge on the polarizer perpendicular to the surface? It may seem like this is a simple problem of geometry but it is much more difficult than that. First of all, when the polarizers are crossed we expect to measure zero. With experimental uncertainty and other leaks in the system how good is the zero measurement? It takes significant sophistication and effort to measure small signals. Furthermore, we need to consider the actual makeup of each polarizer to determine the effect of changes in incidence angle.
Other areas related to the polarization of light include liquid crystal operation and response. Liquid crystals (an element of any LCD) have become commonplace in our lives. They are an interesting physical phenomenon whose details are a very rich area for study. How does the voltage on the liquid crystal relate to performance? How does the liquid crystal respond as a function of wavelength? These and other issues are being investigated in this area.
Another area of research has been thin film deposition. Eastern Illinois University obtained a thin film deposition system in 2005 and we have used it to look into dielectric and conducting film layers. Further study in these areas is planned.
BA Physics Swarthmore College
MS and PhD University of Maryland (91)
MBA Eastern Illinois University (08)
Plasma Physics, Laser Physics, Non-linear Optics