Pegard Lab Teaching activities at UNC-Chapel HillAPPL 430 Optical instrumentation for scientists and engineersAPPL 110 Introduction to Design and Making
APPL430 Optical instrumentation for scientists and engineersAPPL 430 Optical instrumentation for scientists and engineersI developed a course on "Optical instrumentation for scientists and engineers" that I highly recommend for students who consider joining the lab.
The course includes Matlab-based homework with a simulation toolkit for Fourier Optics that is very easy to use both for basic simulations of well-known optical systems, and for research. Optical instrumentation for scientists and engineers (Spring 2019).
This course introduces fundamental principles of optical system design, covering a broad variety of imaging and microscopy instruments. The material will span beyond physical optics to include computational methods for optical signal processing, as well as basic principles governing light-matter interactions. The course will include theory, and hands-on experience to implement and test methods on inexpensive hardware. We will discuss recent publications and state-of-the-art optical systems which are task-driven, controlled by computers, tailored to specific applications, and optimized to monitor or manipulate complex systems such as biological tissue with extreme temporal and spatial resolution.
PREREQUISITESMath 383 (Ordinary differential equations & introductory linear algebra) or permission from the instructor.
The course and homework will include simulations. Students are encouraged to install Matlab (with the Image acquisition toolbox add-on), available at : https://software.sites.unc.edu/software/matlab
Students taking this course will be able to:
  • Understand the design and capabilities of most commercial optical systems.
  • Identify the bottlenecks limiting performance in any specific application.
  • Implement optical system design methods to tailor software and hardware for a given task, and improve performance in efficient and cost-effective ways.
  • Process optically encoded information using computer simulation.
  • Propose better optical instrumentation for research, medical or industrial applications that currently rely on suboptimal technologies.
This course does not require students to purchase any particular book. However, additional reading material may be found in: Fundamentals of Photonics, by Bahaa E. A. Saleh, Malvin Carl Teich (ISBN: 978-0-471-35832-9). We will discuss research papers published on open-source platforms.
Written assignments 30 % , Presentations and participation/preparedness for discussions 20 %, Midterm 25 %, Final Exam 25 %.
The first part of the course will introduce fundamental principles for optical system design also known as "Ray optics".
W1 Thin lenses: Descartes (Snell)'s law. Lens equations, image-forming systems.
W2 Sampling the Light field: Ray Transfer matrices and applications to linear optical system design.
W3 Processing the Light field: Plenoptic imaging, digital refocusing for 3D image reconstruction.
The second part of the course will focus on wave optics: (With lab demos and computational MATLAB simulation homework sets.)
W4 Optical waves: phase, coherence, interferences.
W5 Wave propagation and simulation. Phase Imaging and Computer-Generated Holography.
W6 Optics at the microscopic scale: Diffraction, resolution limits.
W7 Dielectric Interfaces: Optics through thin films, optical filters.
The third part of this course will discuss light-matter interactions as they occur at all ends of any optical instrument, either at the level of a light source, within the sample, or on the detector.
W9 Scattering & aberrations: Optics in biological tissue.
W10 Simple models for light-matter interactions: Absorption & fluorescence.
W11 High power optics: Nonlinearity and multiphoton processes.
W12 Lasers & sculpted light: A brief introduction to light sources and structured illumination.
W13 Noise in optical systems: Cameras, detectors, signal processing & image enhancing methods.
W14 Super-resolution. Beyond Abbe’s resolution limits.
W15 Computational imaging & optical instrumentation. A review of the newest technologies, and future research directions.
In-person lectures will include live demos with inexpensive optical hardware, and simulations. Homework will begin with problem sets and will later include simulations and problems to be solved by editing Matlab code (with examples and online tutorials).

This recorded lecture summarizes the contents we would discuss in weeks 4-5, wave optics and computer-generated holography. In these lectures, we also discuss simulations written in Matlab that are published on our lab GitHub.

APPL110 Introduction to Design and Making 

Design thinking is a popular buzz term in this age of Kickstarter, instant turnaround, and short time-to-market. But what is design thinking really all about? In many ways, it is a process that most of us were quite familiar with in our preschool years. Observe an opportunity. Take an action. Assess the results. Laugh at the failures. Repeat. But how do we get back to that pure form of design thought? In this class we will dissect the process through an integrated format of discussion and making. Starting with the most basic of materials, we will exercise our latent creativity muscles and exorcise the constrained thinking and other obstacles engrained in us by “traditional” education. In this class, “failure” is an important concept that will be embraced and even celebrated. Science, entrepreneurship, and life itself is a process of try and try again. We must accept and learn from failure in order for “try” to become “do” and for “do” to lead to success.

Instructional time will center around team exercises in ideation, brainstorming, and the creation of physical prototypes. Concepts and process in design will be presented and discussed throughout class sessions with concurrent mentored activities that illustrate the discussion material. In simple terms, we’ll talk about the important elements of design and prototype development and, at the same time, you’ll be doing and making things that will illustrate what we’re talking about. A typical class session will start with a brief synthesis of the previous sessions and project work. We will then introduce the concept or expansion for the current session. We will frequently work in groups through a guided design activity that incorporates the creation of physical objects. These exercises will be actively facilitated by the instructor and TA mentors and feedback will be provided throughout the class period. In many cases, the classroom activity will extend into a homework assignment that will be completed by the team prior to the next class meeting.

Students will need to meet in teams outside of class time in order to complete assignments. For certain assignments, the teams will have access to mentors and instructors during their team meetings. Our students are expected to make extensive use of the BeAM makerspace network. BeAM is the perfect environment to continue your growth as an ideator and to make connections with fellow makers. BeAM is a safe zone for skills development, self-expression, and productive failure!

Prof. Pégard's previous teaching experience

ELE453 (2010) Optics and Optoelectronics
EGR 191(2012) Introduction to Engineering
ELE 206 (2012) Introduction to VLSI and logic design
COS 226 (2013) Algorithms and Data Structures