Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Laser and Optics Applications Modules

The applications of lasers, optics and fiber optics in energy, manufacturing, telecommunications, medicine, defense, environmental control and consumer products have expanded enormously in the last decade - and new applications (such as displays and solid-state lighting) are emerging daily. For this reason, Photonics (lasers, optics and fiber optics) is regarded as a critical “enabling technology”. And because of this role, the need for new photonics technicians has grown to an annual rate of more than 2,100 jobs in 2009. (OP-TEC Industry Survey)

Some of these jobs are being filled by recent graduates of the 30+ photonics colleges in the U.S. Others are being filled by the infusion of photonics education/training in these photonics-enabled fields. Some colleges that offer technician programs in these other fields are adding photonics education to their existing curricula. Others are restructuring their technical curricula into an “electronics systems core” with specialties in emerging fields like photonics. And many colleges are beginning to offer photonics courses to employed technicians that have been reassigned to jobs using photonics equipment and processes.

OP-TEC has responded to these educational needs in photonics by creating flexible curriculum and teaching modules that can be used to adapt programs and courses to the variety of education and training requirements needed by industry. These modules are configured in two categories:

Two Foundation Courses in Photonics: “The Basics”
  • Fundamentals of Light and Lasers (six modules)
  • Elements of Photonics (six modules)

Nineteen Application Modules in Lasers, Optics, Electro-Optics and Fiber Optics: "The Photonics Enabled Technologies (PET)"

Applications in Manufacturing:

  • Laser Welding & Surface Treatment
  • Laser Material Removal: Drilling, Cutting & Marking
  • Lasers in Testing & Measurement: Alignment, Profiling and Position Sensing
  • Lasers in Testing: Interferometric Methods and Nondestructive Testing

Applications in Defense and Homeland Security:

  • Lasers in Forensic Science & Homeland Security
  • Infrared Systems for Homeland Security
  • Imaging System Performance for Homeland Security Applications

Applications in Biomedicine:

  • Lasers in Medicine & Surgery
  • Therapeutic Applications of Lasers
  • Diagnostic Applications of Lasers

Applications in Environmental Monitoring:

  • Basics of Spectroscopy
  • Spectroscopy & Remote Sensing
  • Spectroscopy & Pollution Monitoring

Applications in Optoelectronics:

  • Photonics in Nanotechnology
  • Photonic Principles in Photovoltaic Cell Technology
  • Photonics in Nanotechnology Measurements: A Study of Atomic Force Microscopy

Other Applications:

  • Principles of Optical Fiber Communications
  • Photonic Devices for Imaging, Storage & Display
  • Basic Principles & Applications of Holography

These modules, based on The National Photonics Skill Standards for Technicians, have been reviewed by industry experts and tested in classes/labs. They are being used in a variety of technical education curricula to support the photonics content needed in areas that are enabled by photonics. They will also be used by faculty and others to learn about these new applications of photonics in their particular field of interest.

OP-TEC will continue to add to these PET modules as the needs arise. In 2010, we will be focusing on energy and solid state lighting applications.

For more information about OP-TEC’s PET modules or to obtain review copies, please click here to visit our website. If you have any questions or comments, please e-mail us at

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