Faculty Mentor: David McGee
Student: Dacoda Nelson & Jan Brauburger
Nonlinear optical materials are integral to applications in spectroscopy, medical diagnostics, and telecommunications. Novel high performance materials generate nonlinear optical effects through controlled alignment of highly conjugated dipolar molecules. Spatially probing this alignment on a material surface is critical to the development of these materials, yet is possible only through techniques such as second harmonic generation (SHG). In this project, physics students Jan Brauberger and Dacoda Nelson worked with faculty mentor David McGee to develop a scanning optical imaging system to map the SHG generated by a nonlinear optical material pumped by a high intensity pulsed laser beam. The system was controlled by computer and preliminary results using calibrated nonlinear optical crystals indicate that the SHG over a 1 cm2 area can be mapped with a resolution of 1 mm2. Future work will involve the addition of imaging optics to increase the resolution and total mapped area.