This project involves studying optical beams that have been prepared in peculiar spatial distributions and polarizations. It is likely that it will follow our current work on "pendulum beams," where the light simulates the quantum solution of the physical pendulum (due to a coincidental sililarity between the light's wave equation and the quantum Schrodinger equation). The work involves preparing light beams with a "spatial light modulator" and studying the beam that is produced and comparing it to the expectation. We may proceed into studying "autofocusing" beams, or beams that without a lens collapse quickly due to an accumulation of wavefronts, also known as a caustic. The student will do mostly lab work, learning to align optical beams, program spatial light modulators, and analyze data. Most of the programming involves Matlab.
Basic knowledge of quantum physics and experience with Matlab or Mathematica.