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Physical Optics Lab
Optical image processing and Fourier Transform project kit

With Industrial Fiber Optics' Physical Optics Lab, the study of image processing and Fourier Transforms of optical formations can be practical studies for most high school and undergraduate physics classes. By adding any HeNe laser*, this product enables instructors to provide turnkey exercises to give students an efficient and exciting learning experience in lasers and optics. Using this unique collection of laser accessories with the instruction booklet can show students:

  • How double exposures, or even multiple exposures, on photographic slides can be separated into individual photographs
  • How noise or other unwanted information can be eliminated from a transparency
  • How diffraction patterns can be manipulated to form new images through the process of spatial filtering
  • How optical noise is removed from a laser beam by a spatial filter
  • How optical components are manipulated to produce a collimated (parallel) beam of light
  • How to create and compare Fresnel and Fraunhofer diffraction patterns
  • How spatial frequency information is displayed in a Fraunhofer diffraction pattern
  • How physical optics can serve as an excellent introduction to the study of Fourier series and Fourier Transforms in optics and math courses

Included is a 61-page, fully-illustrated instruction guide containing six activity modules structured to develop an experimental setup for demonstrating Fourier Transformation. The manual represents a series of optical laboratory activities typically not covered by introductory physics courses in high schools and universities. The goal of the activity series is to demonstrate Fourier Transformation in a way that bridges the gap between mathematical theory and real world application. The manual also includes information about laser safety, optical and Fourier Transforms and additional reference material.

  Physical Optics Lab

Part Number: 45-688 
Price: $229.00
Instruction Guide

* Diode lasers or pointers are not recommended for completing these experiments. This type of optical experimentation requires a very narrow optical spectrum.

Class IIIa He-Ne lasers in the range of 1.5 to 2.0 mW are recommended for this lab.

Replacement Parts are available.

Suggested helium lasers to use with this product:

CT Series He-Ne 2.0 mW Laser ML 869A He-Ne 1.5 mW Laser

One key aspect of this lab is its simple optical bench system that consists of metal components and carriers that magnetically attach to a steel table. The mounting system allows for x, y and z axis positioning of all lenses and mirrors. Experiment set-up is easy and intuitive. The lab's cost is exceptionally low when compared to that of many conventional optical rails and benches.

The Physical Optics Lab contains four mounted lenses, eight magnetic mounts with magnetic tape, two mounted front surface mirrors, eight steel "L" mounts (to hold optical components), one 50-micron pinhole, a +15 mm focal lens in threaded cell, two Mylar viewing screens, one set of 26 transparencies, instruction booklet and padded carrying case.


All manufacturers of lasers used in the United States, must conform to regulations administered by the Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH), a branch of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. CDRH categorizes lasers as follows:

 Class 1

A laser or laser system which does not present a hazard to skin or eyes for any wavelength or exposure time. Exposure varies with wavelength. For ultraviolet, .2 to .4m exposure is less than from .8 or near IR, the exposure is < 200w. Consult CDRH regulations for specific information.

 Class 2

Any visible laser with an output less than 1 mW of power. Warning label requirements yellow caution label stating maximum output of 1 mW. Generally used as classroom lab lasers, supermarket scanners and laser pointers.

 Class 3a

Any visible laser with an output over 1 mW of power with a maximum output of 5 mW of power. Warning label requirements red danger label stating maximum output of 5 mW. Also used as classroom lab lasers, in holography, laser pointers, leveling instruments, measuring devices and alignment equipment.

 Class 3b

Any laser with an output over 5 mW of power with a maximum output of 500 mW of power and all invisible lasers with an output up to 400 mW. Warning label requirements red danger label stating maximum output. These lasers also require a key switch for operation and a 3.5-second delay when the laser is turned on. Used in many of the same applications as the Class IIIa when more power is required.

 Class 4

Any laser with an output over 500 mW of power. Warning label requirements red danger label stating maximum output. These lasers are primarily used in industrial applications such as tooling, machining, cutting and welding. Most medical laser applications also require these high-powered lasers.