Lasers are ubiquitous in daily life, scientific research, and many applications. While the theoretical education in optics and photonics is well established at schools, universities and industrial settings, it is challenging to teach efficiently the practical and correct handling of lasers and optical experiments. Due to high cost, typically only limited hardware resources and teaching personnel are available. In addition, laser radiation is dangerous demanding the implementation of strict eye-safety protocols.
In cooperation with the Lehrstuhl für Informatik, we have developed the virtual-reality (VR) femtosecond laser laboratory femtoPro. Therein, users wear VR goggles and interact with optical elements on a VR laser table. Thus it is possible to learn how to position and align mirrors, lenses, iris apertures, and other mechanical or optoelectronic devices in an intuitive fashion. The effect of all optical elements on the laser beam is calculated and displayed in real-time allowing the training of procedures as in a real lab. Material dispersion and nonlinear optics phenomena are included, taking into account femtosecond pulse properties.
For more information and a demonstration video about femtoPro, visit the femtoPro website.