Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Physical Optics

LEVEL 03 - Years 2, 3, 4 in Modular Undergraduate Course



DESCRIPTION This study-unit builds on concepts introduced in PHY1145 (Electricity, Magnetism, and Optics), introducing the student to physical optics. Topics covered in this unit include:

The particle interpretation of light; Summary of Fourier Analysis; Further Geometric Optics: Ray Transfer Matrix Analysis with examples; Aberration theory; Interference: Spatial and Temporal Coherence; Interferometers; Single and double slit diffraction, Near and far field diffraction theory; Gaussian beam examples; Grating examples; Babinet’s principle and applications; Polarization (linear, circular and elliptical); Laser physics (holography, quantum optics, metrology, medical applications, environmental sensing, etc. depending on available time); Telescopes (refractors, reflectors, catadioptric); Point Spread Functions and response of imaging systems; Adaptive optics; Gravitational lensing: strong, weak and micro, cosmic telescopes, etc.

Study-unit Aims:

This unit aims to provide students with the opportunity to appreciate the nature of light (with an emphasis on its particle nature) and gain a quantitative understanding of its interaction with matter. It is also envisaged that students will acquire a good foundation of the principles of physical optics and become familiar with calculation of ray transfer matrices as well as describing the diffraction outcome for a general aperture set-up. A wide range of applications will be explored via numerous examples, both descriptive and quantitative. The concepts covered in this unit will also provide a solid basis for students opting to further their studies in astrophysics and astronomical instrumentation (amongst others).

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- appreciate the nature of light (with an emphasis on its particle nature) and gain a quantitative understanding of its interaction with matter;
- calculate ray transfer matrices;
- calculate the diffraction outcome for a general aperture set-up;
- describe the nature of light and produce different approaches to describing some of the well-known properties of light;
- understand the interaction of light and matter in a quantitative way;
- describe scatter theory.

2. Skills
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- apply fourier analysis to optics and understand their wider application; Quantitatively tackle a wide range of problems in physical optics.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

- Hecht, E., Optics, Addison-Wesley, 2011.

ADDITIONAL NOTES Pre-Requisite Study-unit: PHY1145


Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Assignment SEM2 Yes 25%
Examination (2 Hours) SEM2 Yes 75%
Important - Due to the COVID19 Pandemic the information regarding the method of assessment indicated above may have been changed. Further details have been provided by your F/I/C/S.

LECTURER/S Joseph Caruana

The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the study-unit description above applies to the academic year 2019/0, if study-unit is available during this academic year, and may be subject to change in subsequent years.