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ME925 (Formerly MSM905)
Optical Methods of Measurement

3 semester credits

Fall semester 2004

Scheduled meeting times and location: 2:40-4:00 Tue, Thur; but the time can be changed to accommodate the needs of participants;
Classroom: 1202EB
Approx. 10 experiments at average of 2 hours each; open lab basis.
Laboratory: Most of the experiments are done in 3500EB.

Note on enrollment process:

The computer enrollment process will probably tell you that the course is not open or that it does not exist. Do not believe it.

Because this course is open to students from other fields, such as physics, the enrollment process might involve an extra step. Students will probably be required to obtain an "over-ride form" from the student advisor, Gail Griffore, in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, room 2418 Engineering Building. This form is to be filled out and then your name will be entered into the computer. This is a nuisance, but it is routine and it takes only a few minutes. I am working to fix this problem

Frequency of offering and level

According to the current arrangement, this course is given only every second year. This course is taken primarily by MS and PhD students in engineering, although students from other disciplines and at other levels also have taken it successfully.


Gary Cloud, Professor
Materials Science and Mechanics Department,
Michigan State University


Optical Methods of Engineering Analysis
by Gary Cloud
Cambridge University Press, 1995 (Hardback); 1998 (Softbound)
Note: The second-printing soft-bound edition of the textbook is readily available and costs about $35.00. The hardbound version is sold out.

Note: The textbook will be available from the instructor beginning July 2004


Grading basis will be roughly 50% exams, 50% laboratory.

SIR Results

Overall average SIR score for past presentations of this course is about 3.9 out of 4.


Given recent advances in computer-based speckle and holographic techniques, rapid whole-field optical methods of displacement, shape, and strain measurement are replacing more conventional sensing methods such as resistance strain gages and transducers in many applications involving measurement of deformation, strain, and motion, and also for nondestructive inspection.
Optics and optronics has, for the past several years, been the fastest growing field in science, engineering, and technology (SPIE; Optics News.) Industrial demand for persons having knowledge of optics is far exceeding supply.


This course should be of interest to persons who are interested in experimental mechanics, physics, optical physics, machine vision, motion measurement,engineering design, structural testing, metrology, nondestructive inspection, contour measurement, and similar fields.

Coverage and approach:

The syllabus will follow the textbook quite closely, although it will be necessary to skip some topics owing to time constraints.

The course begins with basics optics phenomena including interference and general diffraction. Studies of methodology and applications emphasize optical  methods of measurement, including holography and holographic interferometry, laser speckle, electronic speckle pattern interferometry (video holography), moire interferometry, Digital image correlation, geometric and enhanced moire, photoelasticity, laser Doppler velocimetry, and some classical interferometry. Topics in elementary optics and interferometry are covered as needed. General diffraction theory and applications in optical Fourier processing are also studied.

The instructional paradigm interleaves study of the necessary optics theory with study of the optical techniques. This approach facilitates learning theory and laboratory applications in one semester.

Laboratory experience with this technology is included in the course. Laboratory experiments are listed below. The approach is specifically designed to accommodate students of various backgrounds, including but not limited to physics and engineering.

For most of the experiments, digital image acquisition is used, so the students gain familiarity with these techniques including the hardware and the software.

Supplies and materials for the course will be ordered during the summer. It would be most helpful to the instructor if persons interested in taking the course indicate their interest to him soon.

Prof. Gary Cloud
Materials Science and Mechanics Dept.
College of Engineering
Michigan State University East Lansing, MI 48824 USA
email Prof. Cloud

phone: 517-355-9574

Laboratory experiments:

Note: Typically, the class meets periodically in the lab for demonstrations related to the experiments. The experiment stations are left set up, so that students can perform the experiments singly or in pairs at any time.
Some flexibility in choice of experiments is provided to accommodate students from areas other than solid mechanics.

Created: 21 March 1998 by Gary Cloud
Last Updated: 2 July 2004