Projects I’d Love to Do

I’ve neglected this site for a bit, and will try to revive it by dumping the contents of my growing list of things I’d love to do if I could make 24 more hours in the day. Why share this? Because if someone else out there wants to work on one of these too, then that serves as extra motivation for me. Also, putting it out in the universe makes it a bit more real than if it sits in my head all the time. I’ll probably revise and will hopefully provide updates as warranted. These are not things that have to be done for the sake of humanity, or things that would even merit a paper or other substantial scholarship (which is probably why they keep getting pushed further down my list). That doesn’t mean they aren’t worth doing. Some lean toward personal projects, others are obviously aligned with my work. Here goes, in total random order:

  • Build a spatial light modulator from an old projector. Note: this has been done before, but I want one, and it sounds like a really fun project that touches on re-use, optics, electronics, and hacking (four of my favorite things!)
  • Directly image the output of a parametric down conversation crystal. Sure, we’ve seen pictures and this isn’t really new knowledge, but I think it really helps students understand what’s going on if you can watch it live. There are a lot of tricks to get this to work, but doing it on the cheap and easy would be sweet.
  • Demonstrate laser-to-RF mediated by at atomic medium. It’s all just E/M radiation, there has to be a fun demo in here somewhere. Are there four-wave mixing transitions that would generate RF that you could tune a radio to? I’ve yet to check this, but it would be cool if it worked.
  • Get my HAM license. I’ve studied up and everything, but just need to get to an exam session and do it.
  • 3D-print a working external cavity diode laser. I have some partial designs, just need to print and test the darn thing.
  • Part out an old argon laser system. I salvaged a laser slit lamp system from our college of optometry. It has all sorts of fun electronics, lasers, optics, and other parts. It doesn’t work anymore, but lots of it’s parts surely do.
  • Other stuff… to be added when I think of it, I’m sure it’s in my head somewhere.

In the meantime, feel free to comment on any of this. If you’d also like to work on something here, let me know.

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One thought on “Projects I’d Love to Do

  1. I’d be interested in helping with the spatial light modulator. I’m still interested in some of the wavefront measurement and modification topics we discussed when I was working on my research project at Pacific. It would be nice if we could leverage some of my training in statistics, but not necessary. I’ve also had some luck to acquire a few lenticular arrays with a higher resolution which could possibly be useful to us (I forgot the exact number of lenses but they may be 20×30?). What do you think about the practicality of using a diffraction pattern observed through an SLM to observe properties of the wavefront? Would there be a benefit to using two SLM stacked in order to increase resolution or observe the double-diffraction pattern?

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