Research

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    The Laboratory for Lightwave Devices is home to educational laboratory exercises for undergraduate and graduate courses in addition to research activity related to fiber optic sensor development. Students can gain an intuitive understanding for the fundamental theories of optics and experience hands-on training on industry relevant equipment.

    We aspire to provide an exciting research environment that promotes academic growth, the exchange of information and innovative ideas in the areas of photonics, fiber optic devices and sensors. Our research interests are in developing fiber optic sensors based on microstructured optical fiber technology for chemical sensing and biomedical applications. Microstructured optical fibers are an alternative to the standard cylindrical shaped optical fiber waveguide. These fibers can be used either as transmission fibers or as sensors.

    The group consists of Ph.D, M.S. and B.S. level researchers and research assistants performing basic and applied research, led by Dr. Rosalind Wynne, Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering in the College of Engineering at Villanova University.

    • Teaching Interests: Introduction to Optoelectronics, Introduction to Photonics, Optical Communications

    • Research Interests: Photonics, optics, fiber optic devices and sensors, microstructured optical fiber sensors for chemicals, biomaterials and hazardous materials

     

    Microstructured Optical Fiber Sensors

    photo of Dr. Wynne in lab
    Dr. Wynne at a 24ft. Nextrom™ Optical Fiber Draw Tower with a Centorr™ furnace

    Dr. Wynne is excited to contribute to technological advancements that have the potential to take fiber optic devices to the next frontier. Microstructured optical fiber evanescent-wave sensor devices with novel lattice structures for chemical sensing will be designed and developed in her research work to guide the future development of nano-structured optical sensors. Primary applications for Dr. Wynne's sensors include detecting DNA markers, detectors for intelligent buildings and controlling robotic instrumentation for both surgical and manufacturing industries. Evanescent-wave sensors have applications in chemical, biomaterial and hazardous material detection.

    These types of sensors based on microstructured optical fiber technology can be used to detect unknown materials in gas, aqueous and solid phases. Microstructured optical fibers are specialty optical fibers in which a series of carefully spaced periodic micron-sized cavities within an air-silica lattice in the cladding of the fiber provide extraordinary waveguide characteristics not demonstrated by standard optical fibers. Microstructured optical fiber evanescent-wave sensors can be robust, compact chemical sensors that have the potential to benefit military, homeland security and biomedical interests.

    This research will be conducted in Villanova's Center for Engineering Education Research. Students will be responsible for fabrication of prototype sensors, sensor calibration and characterization and other experimental activities. These students will learn photonic and electromagnetic wave principles, guided-wave-optics fundamentals, fiber-optic characterization techniques and spectroscopy methods.