Polytechnic faculty listed as leads on newly-granted optics patent

Bravo, left, and Newell, coauthors of the recent patent.

Jose Garcia Bravo and Brittany Newell—Purdue Polytechnic faculty in engineering technology—are the recipients of a new patent, issued on April 9 of this year.

The patent deals with the manufacturing process for “optical diffraction gratings,” which are the carved pieces of glass used in devices such as spectrometers to separate out different wavelengths of light.

Data from light diffraction does more than create the famous “Pink Floyd” effect by separating visible light into the rainbow spectrum—it can be used by researchers to discover the density of materials used in research experiments among many other technical uses.

The patents abstract states that in most cases, “commercial diffraction gratings are expensive, difficult to manufacture, and utilize surface treatment of the lenses which can be easily damaged.” The Purdue team (which also includes Ronald Reifenberger from the physics and astronomy department and Laura Vallejo-Melgarejo from the Office of Technology Commercialization) states that they have reimagined the manufacturing process to avoid these issues.

The new patent uses a process that requires no coating to achieve light diffraction; rather, they have successfully built this property into the lens itself. They have done this while simultaneously simplifying the machining process, making the manufacturing stage for these research-critical lenses both more efficient and cheaper.

Read more about the team’s patent at the Office of Technology Commercialization’s page.

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