This project is designed to apply the mathematical principles of precision measurement, units and unit conversion, algebra, and trigonometry by constructing a working optical spectrometer, explained Steve Hunter, Faculty in Residence, Sierra Makerspaces.
Hunter has been working with a Photography professor to deploy this exercise in his classes. Additionally, Katie Lucero, Math professor, Sierra College and Hunter hosted a Flex activity in August 2017 at the Sierra College makerspace in Rocklin, CA. Faculty and staff made and tested this spectrometer using the laser cutter at Hacker Lab powered by Sierra College to prepare the parts.
“Once completed, the spectrometer can be used to investigate the visible optical spectrum of various lights, filters, and reflectors,” said Hunter. “Visible light occupies a small portion of the electromagnetic spectrum between 700 and 400 nanometers in wavelength and comprises the full rainbow of colors red through purple. This spectrometer will display the wavelengths correctly on an internal nanometer scale. The information, in turn, has direct impact on energy efficiency in lighting and perceived color in areas such as clothing and architecture. Spectrometers are also used in industry for analyzing the properties of matter.”
In this curriculum, Hunter explains that linear and angular precision measurements are required to layout the spectrometer top, bottom and baffle from supplied CAD drawings. “Unit conversions, algebra and trigonometry are required to produce the internal nanometer wavelength scale,” said Hunter. “Careful construction techniques are necessary to complete the spectrometer. This project can be also be supplied in kit form, eliminating some or all the mathematics rigor, when the investigation of emitted, reflected or filtered light is the primary application.”
“It can be built in various maker formats from all parts supplied to designing and fabricating each part from an engineering drawing,” said Hunter.
“Louisa Hunter created a Corel Draw file which includes three entire sets of the required cardboard parts,” said Hunter. “This file was then loaded into the laser cutter at Hacker lab powered by Sierra College with the correct cut and etch speed and powers settings. In a brief time, there are three complete part sets ready to assemble.”
Below are the curriculum files: