Popescu publishes new book on biophotonics used in new ECE 398 class
ECE ILLINOIS Professor Gabriel Popescu has recently published the first volume of a six-volume book called "Principles of Biophotonics" that aims to provide readers with basic concepts of optics and methods used in the biomedical optics field. Biophotonics operates at the intersection between optics and biomedicine, advancing the optical sciences and technology to solve biomedical problems. This field also relies on the productive interaction between experts in both optics and biology.
However, the major breakthroughs in this field have happened primarily due to how deep researchers delve into their respective fields while working together. With that interdisciplinary approach in mind, Popescu structured the book so that the first three volumes go heavily into optics and feed into the following three volumes which are dedicated to methods. As he says, "The tendency of the Biophotonics field is to become ever more fragmented. It is very easy for the student to get tangled in the myriad of different techniques and miss the common principles that many of them share."
Popescu's book also ties in with one of the courses that he is teaching this semester. "Throughout the years I have noticed that the student's progress is seldom hindered by the inability to understand the physical phenomenon, but because of difficulties with the mathematics to describe that phenomenon. My solution to this problem is to rely heavily on the linear systems and the Fourier transform as efficient tools to cut through calculations."
A new class called ECE 398 - "Fourier Optics" aims to encourage an early interest in Optics right after ECE 210, but potentially before ECE 329. Taking this new course will allow students to go deep into 1D, 2D and 3D Fourier transform and learn how their properties allow for optics problems to be solved efficiently. This class will use Volume 1 as its textbook, but will also reference parts of Volumes 2-3.
"At a time when Google can point us to answers to most of our questions, one of the teacher's missions must be to provide the structure and the context for all these bits of information. My goal with this volume series is to present a unifying set of principles and descriptions for the various methods in the biomedical optics field. As the student is handed information brick by brick, by Google or otherwise, I am hoping that this book will help him/her end up with a beautiful building rather than a pile of bricks."