student holding tech device

Peter's Story

Peter Williams interned at the Structured Light Lab studying optical trapping by generating vector beams.

“I had a set up where I was generating different vector beams. One thing vector beams are good at is something called optical trapping. You can trap and move individual cells or pieces or microchip. We currently have ways to transport internet access through lasers. We could cell towers that ‘shoot’ the internet to peoples’ phones. I had a lot over creative control as to what to experiment on and had the opportunity to be published alongside my coworkers in the lab. We demonstrated trapping and tweezing with customized arrays of Higher-Order Poincaré Sphere beams comprising scalar orbital angular momentum and cylindrical vector beams, including radially and azimuthally polarized beams simultaneously in the same trap."

  • Student and researchers looking at computer
“One of the biggest takeaways that I got from this opportunity is a new sense of pride in my own culture.”
Peter Williams '21
student in lab
Major & Class Year
Mechanical Engineering '21
Johannesburg, South Africa
MISTI Program
University of the Witwatersrand

Kevin Shum '19