Click on the Challenge partner name to access the Challenge. Teacher Resources are available in each Challenge but they are password protected. Teachers may contact firstname.lastname@example.org using their school email account to obtain the passwords for the resources and for the protected Challenge sections. For implementation assistance, see the Classroom Implementation Page
In this PBL Challenge, you will investigate an incident of a laser targeting an aircraft.
Laser divergence, Irradiance, Maximum permissible exposure, Laser safety
A team of graduate students need to determine the starting exposure time for a DNA microarray fabricator
Reflective imaging systems, Transmissive and reflective losses, Photochemistry, Lens systems, Maskless photolithography, Math with percents
Does a 26 watt fluorescent has the same light output as a 100 watt incandescent?
Spectral output of light sources, Optical power measurements, Radiometry and photometry, Area under a curve
Can technology be used to make a cranberry bog more energy efficient?
Biological effects of:
–Pesticides and fertilizer on plant growth and water resources,
–Heat and cold on plant growth,
–Drought and flooding on plant growth,
CIRTEC needs to ramp up production of power packs for an implantable medical device from 300 per year to 5000 per year.
Manufacturing process flow, Lean manufacturing principles
(now Nanoramic Laboratories)
FastCAP’s carbon nanotubes need a uniform thin film layer for even growth, but the sputtered coating is bunching into clusters.
Energy storage, Nanotechnology, Thin film sputtering, Surface chemistry
Hypertherm is experiencing too many defects in its wave solder process. How can the data be analyzed to make recommendations for improvement?
Wave soldering, Printed circuit board manufacturing, Lean manufacturing – Pareto Diagrams, Cause and Effect Diagram
(now Global Foundaries)
IBM has a problem with a thin film etching process causing an area at the edge of the wafer to be under-etched
Semiconductor fabrication, Photolithography, Fasteners, Torque
What dangers does a pilot face when an aircraft is targeted by a laser pointer?
Laser divergence, Irradiance, Maximum permissible exposure, Laser safety, Trigonometry
IPG Photonics 2007
(Burn in testing)
IPG Photonics needs a way to run 100-hour unattended burn-in tests on a 2-kw laser.
Fiber lasers, Laser beam output parameters, Optical system design, Laser power measurement, Laser spectral output measurement, Laser safety
IPG Photonics – 2015
(Laser surface cleaning)
A customer requests a system to rapidly laser clean aluminum surfaces prior to welding in an automotive application.
Fiber lasers, Laser beam output parameters, Optical system design, Laser materials processing, Energy density determination, Surface tension
A J&J team needs to develop a new treatment for eczema using plant-derived active ingredients.
Chemistry, Skin biology, Cosmetic design
A customer needs to have the coating stripped from 50 micron wire
Excimer & CO2 lasers, Laser beam output parameters, Optical system design, Laser materials processing, Energy density determination
RSLF is designing an ergonomic and energy efficient lighting system for submarines.
Biological effects of lighting, Circadian rhythms, Illumination sources, Fiber optics, Unit Conversions, Decibels, Percent
Can metal be cut and bent beyond existing metal and machine standards without increasing the failure rate?
Sheet metal fabrication, Properties of Metals, Root cause analysis, Tolerancing
Can the problem of urban stormwater be addressed by local communities without investing in huge infrastructure projects?
Area and volume, Unit conversion, Stormwater management
Can optics provide a non-contact measurement method as part of a UPenn McKay Orthopaedic Research Lab project to study the healing of tendons?
Geometric optics, CCD linear arrays, MATLAB modeling of volume from area “slices”
These are in the original format and are no longer being updated. For these Challenges, the solutions are now readily available on the web, or the company no longer manufactures the product (or longer exists).
Students need to design a new way to extract electrical energy from a wind turbine.
Energy conversion, Electromagnetics
Two boys are lost in deep woods in rough terrain. What is the best technology to locate them?
Digital imaging, Electromagnetic spectrum
“Can technology provide a safe and effective portable home treatment for newborn jaundice.
Spectral output of LEDs, Irradiance, Scattering, Jaundice therapy
The city of Tucson needs to put a solar array on a large building but the roof is not strong enough to support a traditional panel array.
Solar Irradiance, Architectural load limits, Voltage, current, power, DC to AC conversion
Student teams are asked to design small houses for the homeless
Drawing blueprints, Creating a budget, Model building, Presentation skills