Two web-based educational tools have been developed for the Puerto Photonics Institute by undergraduate students of Computer Science at Universidad Metropolitana. These show how light propagates, refracts, and is reflected from different media. The first is a ray-tracing application to visually represent the propagation of light as a ray through diverse media. Beams can interact with multiple quadratic surfaces defined by the user. The second tool analytically and graphically studies the behavior of electromagnetic waves as they propagate through space and through an interface between two dielectric media. The animated simulation allows users to manipulate model parameters and acquire an intuitive understanding of how electromagnetic p- and s-waves propagate in a homogeneous medium and are modified as they are refracted and reflected at the material interface. Some interesting particular cases that can be modelled are: normal incidence, critical angle, Brewster angle, and absorptive/amplifying media. The development of these programs has brought research into the undergraduate curriculum for Computer Science students, who were introduced to the concepts of geometric and wave optics by taking a course in optics and through mentoring. These projects also address the gap of inadequate or overly costly software in these areas. These programs will be used in our Technical Certificate Program in Optics and Photonics and in our undergraduate optics courses, as well as being available as tools on our website.

© 2015 OSA, SPIE, IEEE Photonics Society

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