Dr. Metcalf has been assisting me in my research. In fact, assisting would be a rather weak word to use. He's been invaluable to me. All of this is uncharted territory for me, and he is an excellent guide. As you read this diary, you can always assume that he's had a hand in the results.
7/4 - 7/6
To start with, I need fiber bundles...not particular ones, but any I can lay hands on. Wih enough randpom cables laying around, it shouldn't be too hard to pick out some of the stranger properties of the cable I'm trying to study. And besides, I could always use the general practice at examining these things.
Some of the companies I've contacted and the results:
Myriad Fibers: Nothing...these guys were happy to make a custom cable for me, and at custom prices. No thanks.
Dolan-Jenner: Ignoring the fact that I accidently ended up coming across as if I wanted a custom cable (never ask to speak to an engineer or an expert), in the end a pair of cables were ordered from these guys.
Schott: How could I not order a 'Schott glass' from these people? Terrible puns aside, they've agreed to send misfit parts, things that failed QA and such, to me for a low price.
Edmund Scientific: Again, never ask for an engineer. With difficulty, it was concluded that these folks, despite what their engineers claim, do in fact offer coherent bundles. On the other hand, they seem to be of the 'heat and bend' variety. None too flexible. We're holding off on Edmund. After Schott's and Dolan-Jenner's products arrive, we may revisit Edmund Scientific for more goods.
This is a partial list of the companies I contacted. The companies I've omitted offered results indistinguishable from Myriad Fiber.
Dr. Metcalf took me 'shopping' today over at the Laser Teaching Center. Dr. Noe gratiously lent me a laser, a protractor, a ruler, the coherent cable that constitutes my project, and a few other things of use. I went to the University Bookstore to purchase an additional protractor, as well.
I spent the day getting a feel for my corner of Dr. Metcalf's laboratory. I learned where things were, and how they could be used on an optical bench. By the end of the day, I had a stable setup that would let me shine a laser into a fiber cable and measure the results with a photometer.
I met Matt, one of Dr. Metcalf's graduate students who works in the lab and seems to be a rather pleasant guy. Matt's been glued to his computer all day, debugging a stubborn Fortran program, among other things. Once or twice I asked him where I could find things, and he was all too happy to tell me...but I don't want to bother him any further.
I also met the 'other' Matt (There are two in this lab), though only fleetingly. He walked in, he grabbed something, and he walked out, again.
I spent today testing the supplied laser. Upon being plugged in, intensity immediately plummets. After that, it slowly and steadily increases, again. I spent over an hour taking intensity measurements, one every 10 seconds, and found the increase to be almost linear. After an hour of taking data, I needed a walk. And besides, I might get the chance to see the laser in its steady state if I let it go for another hour. So, I walked off.
When I returned with Dr. Metcalf from my walk, I found that someone (probably a grad student) placed a stopper between the laser and the photometer, and turned off the photometer. I think I got the message: "Don't do that. You'll burn out the detector."
Unfortunately, it's possible that the setup was moved either when the photometer was turned off, or when I turned it back on. The intensity reading seemed stable enough, but it was higher than I remembered it being even from the start. On the other hand, the intensity drops so quickly in the beginning that it could've actually been this high at the start.