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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: 2022-23

Related modules

Co-requisite modules

  • None

Prohibited combinations

  • None

Additional information

Students wishing to take Modern Optics should have taken Electromagnetism & Optics or the appropriate equivalent.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Spring Term 2022-23

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, and confocal microscope.

Module learning outcomes

  • Qualitatively describe the Hungens-Fresnel principle and Kirchhoff diffraction theory
  • Qualitatively describe the diffraction pattern 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 Gabor’s analytical method of holography; determine configurations of formation and reconstruction of a hologram
  • Understand principle of diffraction grating; determine diffraction patterns, resolving - power, and spectrums by diffraction gratings.

Module content


  • Kirchhoff Diffraction theory (7 lectures)
    1. Hungens-Fresnel principle
    2. Kirchhoff diffraction theory
    3. Diffraction - Fresnel and Fraunhofer approximations
    4. Fraunhofer diffraction from various apertures
    5. Fresnel diffraction from various apertures
    6. Fresnel zone plates
  • Interferometry (6 lectures)
    1. Mirrored interferometers
    2. Multi-beam interference
    3. Antireflection coating
    4. high-reflection coating
    5. Radar Interferometry
    6. The Fabry-Perot interferometer
  • Holography (2 lectures)
    1. Gabor’s analytical method: recording amplitude and phase
    2. Reconstruction of the original wave front
    3. Image formation by holography
  • Diffraction gratings: (2 lectures)
    1. N-slit diffraction
    2. Grating spectrometers
  • Confocal and phase contrast microscopes: (1 lectures)
  1. Basic concept
  2. Variants and resolution


Task Length % of module mark
Modern Optics Assignment 1
N/A 40
Modern Optics Assignment 2
N/A 60

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Modern Optics Assignment 1
N/A 40
Modern Optics Assignment 2
N/A 60

Module feedback

Our policy on how you receive feedback for formative and summative purposes is contained in our Department Handbook.

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.