Silicon Carbide, Optical Sensors, Gaussian Beams, Laser Beam Measurements, Confocal Microscopy, Variable Focus Lenses


Proposed are novel sensors for extreme environment power plants, laser beam analysis and biomedicine. A hybrid wireless-wired extreme environment temperature sensor using a thick single-crystal Silicon Carbide (SiC) chip embedded inside a sintered SiC probe design is investigated and experimentally demonstrated. The sensor probe employs the SiC chip as a Fabry-Perot (FP) interferometer to measure the change in refractive index and thickness of SiC with temperature. A novel temperature sensing method that combines wavelength-tuned signal processing for coarse measurements and classical FP etalon peak shift for fine measurements is proposed and demonstrated. This method gives direct unambiguous temperature measurements with a high temperature resolution over a wide temperature range. An alternative method using blackbody radiation from a SiC chip in a two-color pyrometer configuration for coarse temperature measurement and classical FP laser interferometry via the same chip for fine temperature measurement is also proposed and demonstrated. The sensor design is successfully deployed in an industrial test rig environment with gas temperatures exceeding 1200 C. This sensor is proposed as an alternate to all-electrical thermocouples that are susceptible to severe reliability and lifetime issues in such extreme environments. A few components non-contact thickness measurement system for optical quality semi-transparent samples such as Silicon (Si) and 6H SiC optical chips such as the one used in the design of this sensor is proposed and demonstrated. The proposed system is self-calibrating and ensures a true thickness measurement by taking into account material dispersion in the wavelength band of operation. For the first time, a 100% repeatable all-digital electronically-controlled pinhole laser beam profiling system using a Texas Instruments (TI) Digital Micro-mirror Device (DMD) commonly used in projectors is experimentally demonstrated using a unique liquid crystal image generation system with non-invasive qualities. Also proposed and demonstrated is the first motion-free electronically-controlled beam propagation analyzer system using a TI DMD and a variable focus liquid lens. The system can be used to find all the parameters of a laser beam including minimum waist size, minimum waist location and the beam propagation parameter M2. Given the all-digital nature of DMD-based profiling and all-analog motion-free nature of the Electronically Controlled Variable Focus Lens (ECVFL) beam focus control, the proposed analyzer versus prior-art promises better repeatability, speed and reliability. For the first time, Three Dimensional (3-D) imaging is demonstrated using an electronically controlled Liquid Crystal (LC) optical lens to accomplish a no-moving parts depth section scanning in a modified commercial 3-D confocal microscope. The proposed microscopy system within aberration limits has the potential to eliminate the sample or objective motion-caused mechanical forces that can distort the original sample structure and lead to imaging errors. A signal processing method for realizing high resolution three dimensional (3-D) optical imaging using diffraction limited low resolution optical signals is also proposed.


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Graduation Date



Riza, Nabeel


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Optics and Photonics


Optics and Photonics

Degree Program









Release Date

November 2010

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)