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(NS) Modern Optics - PHY00054H

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  • Department: Physics
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Jing Wu
  • Credit value: 10 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2019-20

Related modules

Pre-requisite modules

  • None

Co-requisite modules

  • None

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Spring Term 2019-20

Module aims

This course will introduce the modern optics beginning with a description electromagnetic radiation and the use of Fourier techniques to describe optical systems. A central theme is a description of phase and coherence that enables a discussion of applications of modern optics including interference, diffraction and polarisation, by introducing interferometers, interference in multilayer films, diffracting gratings, holography, confocal microscope, and optical activity.

Module learning outcomes

  • Quantitatively describe the nature of electromagnetic radiation
  • Differentiate between coherent and incoherent sources of electromagnetic radiation
  • Calculate the propagation of electromagnetic radiation using Fourier techniques
  • Understand the principle of interferometers; be able to determine interference - fringes.
  • Understand the principle of antireflection coating; be able to design and analyse multi-layer antireflection systems.
  • Understand the principal of a cavity and be able to describe the operation of a Fabry-Perot interferometer
  • Understand the principle of holography; determine configurations of formation and reconstruction of a hologram; determine transverse and axial magnifications.
  • Understand principle of diffraction grating; determine diffraction patterns, resolving - power, and spectrums by diffraction gratings.

Module content


  • Fourier optics (3 lectures)
    1. Paraxial approximation of the Helmholtz equation
    2. Diffraction - Fresnel and Fraunhofer approximations
  • Coherence - (3 lectures)
  1. Superposition of incoherent and coherent sources
  2. Coherence in Young's slits (intro to coherence)
  3. Temporal coherence
  4. Spatial coherence
  5. The optical transfer theorem
  • Interferometry (4 lectures)
    1. Mirrored interferometers
    2. Multi-beam interference
    3. Antireflection coating and multilayer periodic systems
    4. Radar Interferometry
    5. Standing waves
    6. The Fabry-Perot interferometer
  • Holography (3 lectures)
    1. Recording amplitude and phase
    2. The recording media
    3. Reconstruction of the original wavefront
    4. Linearity of the holographic process
    5. Image formation by holography
  • Diffraction gratings: (3 lecture)
    1. N-slit diffraction
    2. Grating spectrometers
  • Confocal and phase contrast microscopes: (2 lectures)
  1. Basic concept
  2. Variants and resolution


Task Length % of module mark
N/A 14
Online Exam
Modern Optics
N/A 86

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Online Exam
Modern Optics
N/A 86

Module feedback

Physics Practice Questions (PPQs) - You will receive the marked scripts via your pigeon holes. Feedback solutions will be provided on the VLE or by other equivalent means from your lecturer. As feedback solutions are provided, normally detailed comments will not be written on your returned work, although markers will indicate where you have lost marks or made mistakes. You should use your returned scripts in conjunction with the feedback solutions.

Exams - You will receive the marks for the individual exams from eVision. Detailed model answers will be provided on the intranet. You should discuss your performance with your supervisor.

Advice on academic progress - Individual meetings with supervisor will take place where you can discuss your academic progress in detail.

Indicative reading

Born, Max and Emil Wolf, Principles of Optics

Haken H and Wolf H C: The Physics of Atoms and Quanta (Springer).

Hawkes J and Latimer I: Lasers: Theory and Practice (Prentice-Hall).

Hecht, Eugene, Optics

Smith, F Graham, Terry A King and Dan Wilkins Optics and Photonics: An Introduction

Pedrotti, Pedritti, -Introduction to Optics

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.