Bulletin of the American Physical Society
APS March Meeting 2018
Monday–Friday, March 5–9, 2018; Los Angeles, California
Session L60: Poster Session II
Wednesday, March 7, 2018
LACC Room: West Hall A
Abstract: L60.00224 : Light, Imaging, Vision: An interdisciplinary undergraduate course*
Students in physical and life science, and in engineering, need to know about the physics and biology of light. In the 21st century, it has become increasingly clear that the quantum nature of light is essential both for the latest imaging modalities and even to advance our knowledge of fundamental processes, such as photosynthesis and human vision. But many optics courses remain rooted in classical physics, with photons as an afterthought. I'll describe a new undergraduate course, for students in several science and engineering majors, that starts from the rudiments of probability theory to modern methods like fluorescence imaging and Förster resonance energy transfer. After a digression into color vision, students then see how the Feynman principle explains the apparently wavelike phenomena associated to light, including applications like diffraction limit, subdiffraction imaging, total internal reflection and TIRF microscopy. Then we see how scientists documented the single-quantum sensitivity of the eye seven decades earlier than `ought' to have been possible, and finally close with the remarkable signaling cascade that delivers such outstanding performance. A new textbook embodying this course has been published by Princeton University Press.
*NSF Grant PHY-1601894.
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