LILLINGTON - Second-year students in the Laser and Photonics Technology program at Central Carolina Community College's Harnett Main Campus recently attended the 2019 SPIE Photonics West Convention in San Francisco. SPIE is an international society promoting an interdisciplinary approach to the science and application of light. Photonics West is one of the world's largest photonics exhibitions with over 1,300 companies presenting and over 23,000 professionals attending.
Attending from the Laser program were students Brandon Pasley and Kilvet Zalavarria from Harnett County; Cameron Wiedholz from Chatham County; Robert Strickland from Moore County; Ian Washburn and Jamie Turner from Wake County, and Laser program Lead Instructor Gary Beasley. Touring exhibits at Photonics West, they were able to observe the latest technology in the Laser and Photonics industry. At each booth, companies would spend time discussing their new products in great detail, explaining how it worked and how it could be used.
While in San Francisco, the group also took time to tour the National Ignition Facility (NIF) at Lawrence Livermore National Labs (LLNL) in Livermore, Calif. At NIF, research is ongoing to create self-sustaining fusion energy using 192 laser beams housed in an area the size of three football fields. The 192 laser beams focus on a target smaller than a BB-gun pellet to create the fusion energy. Joining the tour with current CCCC Laser students were previous CCCC Laser graduates, who are presently employed by LLNL, Daren Hart (2006), Al Delong (2015), David Pope (2016), Darin Anderson (2018), Seth Kuenzler (2018), and Derrick Kuhl (2018).
This year the students were also able to tour two additional R&D labs at LLNL. They toured the Diode Pumped Alkaline Laser (DPAL) and Special Fiber Draw Tower R&D labs. Each of these labs is doing cutting edge research in "High Energy Lasers." David Pope and Seth Kuenzler, who work in the DPAL Lab, led the tour of their area.
During lunch after the tour, the previous laser graduates discussed with the current Laser students what it is like working at the LLNL national ignition facility, and how much they enjoy working at LLNL.
Central Carolina Community College has a student chapter of SPIE in its Photonics curriculum. The conference trip was partly funded through the student chapter, and through LASER-TEC, a National Science Foundation (NSF) ATE grant in which the CCCC Laser program participates. Photonics is the study of the use of light, such as lasers, for industrial and other purposes.
In addition to attending the conference, participants had opportunities to network with colleagues, conference speakers, and vendors, and to expand their knowledge and understanding of the field of optics and photonics, as well as new and exciting photonics technologies.
To learn more about Central Carolina Community College's Laser & Photonics Technology program, contact Beasley at (910) 814-8828 or by email at email@example.com. To learn more about SPIE, visit spie.org.
Second-year students in the Laser and Photonics Technology program at Central Carolina Community College's Harnett Main Campus attended the 2019 SPIE Photonics West Convention in San Francisco. Pictured are, left to right: Ian Washburn, Gary Beasley (Lead Instructor), Brandon Pasley, Cameron Wiedholz, Jamie Turner, Kilvet Zalavarria, and Robert Strickland.
Second-year students in the Laser and Photonics Technology program at Central Carolina Community College's Harnett Main Campus toured the LLNL NIF Facility in California. Pictured are, left to right: Chrysanthos Panayiotou (LASER-TEC Principal Investigator), Robert Strickland, Ian Washburn, Cameron Wiedholz, Jamie Turner, Brandon Pasley, Gary Beasley (lead instructor), Al Delong (2015 CCCC Laser Graduate with LLNL, who help lead the tour), Kilvet Zalavarria, and Brian Olejniczak (LLNL Laser Systems Engineering & Operations Director).