Optical Science Club Mission Statement:

The purpose of the Optical Science club shall be to promote the discipline of Optical Science and Engineering through the organized efforts of its members on campus and in the community; to further the technical and professional development of its members; to serve as a casual social center for its members.

2005 SPIE Annual Report UC Davis Chapter


July 18, 2005 Our new Grinding Lab

  • Okay, website will be up in about a week. hopefully. I'm now in my turbo workaholic mode.
  • Also, feast your eyes on our new grinding lab.

Jon making Optics.

July 17, 2005

  • The Optics Club website layout is done (minus some missing pictures). It would be great if anyone can email pictures to ucd.optics.club@gmail.com.

July 13, 2005

  • Optics & Photonics Conference in San Diego: (July 30- August 4) All expenses paid. Attendance so far: 9.
  • We will be putting up a new website in a few weeks! Our URL is http://opticsclub.engineering.ucdavis.edu/. Please check back for updates.

April 27, 2007

  • Website updated. SPIE's Optics & Photonics Conference in San Diego: (August 26-30) All expenses paid. Attendance: TBD
  • OSA's Frontiers in Optics Conference in San Jose: (September 16-20) All expenses paid.

Events of the Year

Lunch Time Speaker Series

  • Canceled till further notice.

Guest Speaker/Seminar

  • Oct 9th, 2006: Nick Fontaine (UCD) - Laser Maze design and schematics session.

Engineers having fun??? Impossible!! Lab Tours

  • Jan 19th: Tinsely Labs. Attendance: 13
  • March 15th: LLNL and NIF. Attendance 14

Outreach/Preview Day/Picnic Day

  • Oct 21st: Preview Day. Members from the Optics Club were in The Pavilion at UC Davis showcasing the Optics Club and offering information about the OSE program. There they also talked about geometrical optics, diffraction gratings, lasers, polarizers and the annual Laser Maze held during Picnic Day.
  • Feb. 24th: The Explorit Center, Davis,CA.
  • April 7th: Members built a float to promote the UC Davis Optics Program. The float was supposed to represent a laser engraving machine, a play on words of the Picnic Day theme "Make your mark."
  • April 7th: UC Davis Welcome Week. Members of the Optics Club promoted the Optical Science and Engineering undergraduate program. Members also explained basic optics prinicipals and displayed a miniature laser maze.
  • April 14th: Laser Maze for UC Davis’s Picnic Day. Approximately 500 people ran through the maze this year.

Members of the Optics Club enjoying a BBQ Other Events

  • Aug 13: SPIE Leadership Conference and Optics & Photonics Exhibition
  • Jan 11: Optics Club new logo design contest voting. Thank you winner Haemi Yoon! (View winning logo at top, left corner of page)
  • Jan 23-25: SPIE Conference - Photonics West
  • Mar 27-29: OSA Conference - Optical Fiber Communication Conference and Exhibition
  • Apr 13-15: Optics Club Cabin Trip - South Lake Tahoe
  • May 4: Optics Club Meeting with Stanford and Berkeley Chapters
  • May 31: New Member BBQ
  • Aug 26-30: SPIE Leadership Conference and Optics & Photonics Exhibition
  • Sept. 16-20: OSA Leadership Conference and Frontiers in Optics Exhibition

General Meetings

  • Oct 9. Attendance: 12
  • Nov 13. Attendance: 12
  • Dec 4. Attendance: 13
  • Jan 11. Attendance: 16
  • Feb 16. Attendance: 14
  • March 7. Attendance: 12
  • May 23 Attendance:10

Everyone Loves Our Laser Maze

The laser maze is a music integrated laser system built for UCD hosted or sponsored events. Its components are a CD player, a long-range low power laser diode with modulator, a series of reflective mirrors, a detector, and regular music speakers.

Simply put, the laser maze is more like an obstacle course than a maze. The iPod sends a digital signal to the laser diode through a standard audio cable. The music is then converted to a modulated AM signal with a modulator custom made by UCD students. Once the signal is converted, it is integrated into the beam and dispersed across the room. The beam is reflected off a series of mirrors that are strategically placed at different locations and heights on both sides of a marked off corridor around the room. The corridor is for volunteers to walk, crawl, or roll through with the goal of making it to the end without getting in the way of any of the reflected beams. The last mirror in the series sends the light into a converging lens that focuses the beam onto a photo-detector that converts the AM signal into analog. The converted signal is then sent to a set of speakers with another audio cable. If a volunteer steps in the way of the beam, the signal to the photo-diode will be broken and the music will stop playing. To aid the volunteers with their goal, a fog machine is used to refract a small part of the beam and make it slightly easier to get around.

Laser maze always draws huge crowds every year at Picnic Day (UCD’s open house) and just recently we have started bringing a scaled-down version to our Outreach events to demonstrate to students fun and inventive ways of using optics.


The purpose of this program is to demonstrate the use of Optics and its practical applications in communication, imaging, computers, even Hollywood! to local Colleges, High School, and Middle School students. To have the Optics Club come to your school, simply email the Outreach Chairs, or any one of us and we'll get back to you shortly.

Some experiments are (but are not limited to):

  • physical optics - using various concave, convex and Fresnel lenses, we illustrate the basics of physical optics such as the focal point, radius of curvature, converging and diverging rays, and ray tracing. Students will have a chance to look through each lens and see how light travels through it.
  • michelson interferometer - An ether is essential for the propagation of a wave... or is it? Water waves propagates by water, sound waves propagate by air, is it essential then, for light waves to propagate through a certain medium as well? We answer this with the help of our Michelson Interferometer, and demonstrate the Interferometer's application in the industry.
  • waveguides with jello molds – We make a shallow dish of jello ahead of time, cut strips of jello to demonstrate how waveguides work - need the light to go from a higher index medium to a lower index medium in order to have total internal reflection . In the case of jello, jello has the higher index of refraction than light so the beam of light propagates internally throughout the jello - like fiber optics! This also works with continuous streams of water and a laser pointer.
  • polarization – We have two identical square sheets of polarizers from our optics suitcase – line them up and show how we can look through. Slowly turn them perpendicular to one another and watch the kids go "ooh" and "aah" while watching the polarized squares go dark. Then, put another smaller square of polarized material in the middle at a 45 degree angle and show that that they can see through that small window even though nothing else can be seen through the other polarizers. We will draw out how it works with simple diagrams and demonstrate usefulness with sunglasses and LCD phone or computer screens!
  • Laser Maze - Everyones favorite. (see section above)

New Officers:

Presidents: Camile Magno ctmagno@ucdavis.edu

William Yee wjyee@ucdavis.edu

Treasurers: Aaron Gong acgong@ucdavis.edu

Secretary: Aaron Gong acgong@ucdavis.com

Outreach Chairs: Nick Antipa naantipa@ucdavis.edu Shayna Khatri sskhatri@ucdavis.edu Brandon Miller bmiller@ucdavis.edu

Laser Maze Chairs: Nick Antipa naantipa@ucdavis.edu Shayna Khatri sskhatri@ucdavis.edu Brandon Miller bmiller@ucdavis.edu

EJC Representative: Brandon Miller bmiller@ucdavis.edu

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2005-07-14 14:18:41   yay!! =] Am i cool or WHAT? —WinnieTong

2005-07-14 15:42:50   Not as cool as Liquid Helium —EvanPrast

2005-07-14 19:21:20   definitely rock hard if anything —EileenHo

2005-07-19 11:08:03   OooOOo new pictures of the new grinding lab! How exciting. Too bad I never went to the old one. :| I'll make it sometime! —SarahHsia

2005-08-30 04:01:39   we got the best major by far. —MikeMele

2006-04-14 11:22:53   That lens lab is awesome ... I had a seminar there. —TusharRawat

2006-04-14 11:32:01   So is your club open to members of the community who have no ties to UCD? —GrumpyoldGeek

2007-06-05 14:14:18   The club is open to anyone. —MikeMele