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Alan Cheville
Professor
alan.cheville@bucknell.edu
Department of Electrical Engineering
Bucknell University
A Classic Case of Serial Murder: Forensics Meets Photonics

In this case study, a newly appointed medical examiner uncovers an unusual trend in drowning cases, which she suspects may be the work of a serial murderer. To prove that she is right, she must rely on instrumentation designed and tested by a team of students from the local university. Students read the case, then design and build a device for the detection of blood stains. The case was developed for use in an undergraduate laboratory course sequence in photonics for junior and senior level students. It would be suitable for any undergraduate course in physics, chemistry, or electrical engi eering that covers topics in optics, photonics, or spectroscopy.


An Electrical Storm on the Horizon: Can Technology Stimulate Reasoned Debate on Waste Containment

In this fictional case study, the state of Oklahoma has profited by giving incentives for companies to build power plants in rural areas of the state. The "scrubbing" systems used to minimize air pollution create potentially hazardous solid waste. To contain this waste, an impoundment facility has been built on unsuitable land from which water-soluble toxins can leach into groundwater. Student teams design a prototype sensor capable of measuring dissolved oxygen and fluorescein dye in water in order to analyze the runoff from the impoundment facility for toxins. The case was developed for an undergraduate laboratory course in photonics for junior- and senior-level students.


The Zoom Lens: A Case Study in Geometrical Optics

A motion picture company (circa 1950) is having problems with antiquated equipment. The director, actors, and crew all want the CEO of the company, who is notorious for being tight with money, to invest in a newly developed zoom lens. Students are asked to take the part of an engineering design team and design a zoom lens that meets certain specifications. They first write a proposal for the project, then build the lens in the lab.  The final activity is a written report with supporting data, models, and measurements.  The case was developed for use in an undergraduate laboratory course sequence in photonics for junior and senior level students.