Invented and developed the Prism Light Guide System
In 1978, while still a student at UBC, Whitehead made a key discovery which led him to begin work on the light pipe. He showed theoretically that the `total internal reflection’ effect used in optical fibres could be harnessed in large hollow pipes, if they could be coated with precise gem-like prisms. His research on structured surface physics — the study of interfaces containing precision structures on a scale of 0.1 to 100 micrometres — led to the prism light guide. His system is important because it can make use either of sunlight or electric light as a source and carry it with very little loss to a distant room or object. His physics research continues to generate innovations in lighting, image display technology, optics, electromagnetic filters and thin flexible sound sources.
Sources: The Manning Awards; Science Council of British Columbia; Canadian Association of Physics; Image: Canadian Association of Physics website
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