Pre-university educators and technician/trade college outreach programs continuously look for ways to supplement their photonics and optics curriculum to improve student learning, make it relevant to current industry trends, and decrease the cost of educational materials. Luckily, there are good hubs for Open Educational Resources developed and maintained by companies, professional, and government agencies. 

In this feature, below are resources available from Edmund Optics, MKS instruments, and Thorlabs.  

Resource excerpt shared by LASER-TEC and the Optics and Photonics College Network.

Edmund Optics

Edmund Optics hosts a wide range of resources on their Knowledge Center page:

The company made it easy to navigate and locate resources in optics, imaging, laser optical systems, microscopy, optomechanics, and testing and detection. One can search resources on the website either by type or topic of interest. Resources are accompanied by informative and clear graphics, demonstrations and simulations, applications, and further reading suggestions.  

In addition, to build public awareness and community engagement, the company launched its TikTok account:

Various optical phenomena are demonstrated and explained in short, under one-minute videos. This channel is a great way to supplement colleges’ youth outreach programs.

Edmund Optics YouTube channel:

MKS Instruments

MKS provides an extensive library of photonics and optics resources that can complement your college curriculum materials.   

The tutorials are very well suited for AS and AAS levels:

Don’t forget to download the free handbook Principles and Applications in Photonics Technologies:

The application notes discuss the common and most recent applications in biomedicine, sensing, imaging, manufacturing, telecommunications, and more, and will help build relevance and emphasize the importance of the field of photonics to your students. The MKS instructional videos share procedures and tips in optical handling and cleaning, laser alignment, and more:

MKS Instruments YouTube channel:


Thorlab’s technical resources page hosts organized materials: tutorials, application notes, white paper, labs, and programming notes on various topics in optomechanics, optics, fiber optics, light analysis, imaging, and others. The materials are succinct and are accompanied by good schematics and graphic elements:

Pay special attention to their Insights section, where the company shares best practices, lessons learned, tips, and tricks gained through experience:; Students will find their instructional videos helpful as well.

Thorlabs YouTube channel: