Aidan Griffin is entering his fourth year at Washington State University, pursuing a B.S. in computer science. He grew up on Maui, attending Kihei Charter High School. Aidan constantly strives to grow in the field of computer science. At school, he is eager to lead and contribute in team activities. He is a Voiland College peer mentor and participates in the Association for Computing Machinery and Cougs in Space. In his free time, Aidan enjoys playing pickup basketball and working on technical projects.

Home Island: Maui

High School: Kihei Charter High School

Institution when accepted: Washington State University

Akamai Project: Automating the Remote Control of Optical Shutters in a Benchtop Quadrature Polarization Interferometer

Project Site: University of California Observatories, Santa Cruz CA

Mentors: Reni Kupke and Daren Dillon

Project Abstract:

The Laboratory for Adaptive Optics at the University of California, Santa Cruz includes a benchtop Quadrature Polarization Interferometer that is used to characterize the shape of optical devices by measuring the phase difference created by dividing a source of light into separate paths.  The output light beams are captured by a pair of polarization imaging cameras at the rear of the setup.  Before each digital image can be analyzed, it must be flat-fielded to remove optical imperfections (dust specks, stray or scattered light, etc.) in the system.  Flip-mounted shutters are used to block or admit each individual light path, allowing the creation of normalized and flat-fielded calibration images.  Currently, these shutters must be operated manually via electronic switches, a process that is slow and sometimes prone to human error.  This project transforms the opening and closing of the shutters into an automatic process performed remotely using Linux command-line executables.  These commands have been integrated into existing imaging software, allowing for rapid and accurate shutter operation during the imaging process.  This calls for a retooled GUI that integrates an image evaluation pipeline with improved real-time polarized-light image displays.