Another Wavelength: Craig Draper

    Date Posted: 
    Wednesday, January 15, 2020

    This month in Another Wavelength, we chat with B.S. Student Craig Draper, currently mentored by Pierre-Alexandre Blanche.

    Where are you from? 

    I was born in Tucson, AZ but when asked where I am from originally, I say northern Arizona on the Navajo Reservation. There is a canyon called Canyon del Muerto which is part of Canyon de Chelly. This is where my roots reside.

    What brought you to study optics? 

    I get asked this question a lot when I tell of my former career. I was formerly a welder and went back to school after my second son was born. I heard that optics was a very challenging but rewarding career with many directions that can be pursued. After my experiences so far with research, internships and the community, I feel I’ve made the right choice.

    Who is your hero in science? 

    My hero is Galileo Galilei. Not just for his contribution to science and optics, but for his integrity in standing for what he knew was right.

    Describe your research in 20 words or fewer. 

    Design and fabricate head up display systems and near to eye systems using holographic waveguide methods.

    Describe your research in 200 words or fewer. 

    A head-up display has many benefits over traditional head-down displays such as increased situational awareness and reducing reaction time by displaying vital information at the location of the road. Current head-up display technologies have limited field of view and eye box size. We have used holograms to provide a reasonable field of view with an expanded eye box using holograms to continually recirculate an injected image and extract it multiple times. We model the system using Zemax ray tracing software supplemented with coupled wave analysis to find the optimal geometry. We fabricate the HUD by interference lithography on photosensitive photopolymers to create holograms on a waveguide substrate. The edge-lit holograms are clear with high transparency and only diffract light which satisfies its angular and spectral requirement making them great for see through applications. The holograms can be multiplexed to increase the field of view and make full color displays. We have applied this method to 3 different HUDs and look to form a curved combiner for better integration into existing systems and satisfy aesthetic appeal.

    Name three neat facts about you. 

    1. I have 3 boys: Caleb, Isaac and Preston. (Picture at right is youngest, Preston.)
    2. I have played guitar since I was a kid.
    3. I am a descendent of 3 Navajo Code Talkers who fought during World War II: Alfred Tah, Teddy Draper, and Nelson Draper.