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Graduate courses

Departments' graduate courses for PhD-students.


Syllabus for

Academic year
TIF116 - Physics of electromagnetic materials  
Syllabus adopted 2017-11-06 by Head of Programme (or corresponding)
Owner: MPAPP
7,5 Credits
Grading: TH - Five, Four, Three, Fail
Education cycle: Second-cycle
Major subject: Engineering Physics
Department: 16 - PHYSICS

The course round is cancelled. For further questions, please contact the director of studies MPAPP: APPLIED PHYSICS, MSC PROGR, contact information can be found here

Teaching language: English
Open for exchange students
Block schedule: A

Course module   Credit distribution   Examination dates
Sp1 Sp2 Sp3 Sp4 Summer course No Sp
0114 Examination 7,5 c Grading: TH   7,5 c   Contact examiner,  Contact examiner

In programs

MPAPP APPLIED PHYSICS, MSC PROGR, Year 1 (compulsory elective)


Professor  Mattias Marklund


TIF115   Functional materials


In order to be eligible for a second cycle course the applicant needs to fulfil the general and specific entry requirements of the programme that owns the course. (If the second cycle course is owned by a first cycle programme, second cycle entry requirements apply.)
Exemption from the eligibility requirement: Applicants enrolled in a programme at Chalmers where the course is included in the study programme are exempted from fulfilling these requirements.

Course specific prerequisites

The student is expected to have a basic understanding of electromagnetism and solid-state physics. In particular, the student should be acquainted with the propagation of electromagnetic waves in vacuum. Knowledge of condensed matter physics on the level of a typical undergraduate course is useful. This course involves mathematical modelling, so a suitable level in algebra, calculus and differential equations is expected.


The aim of this course is to give the student a clear physical picture of the electromagnetic and optical properties of materials. The emphasis will be on a macroscopic description of the propagation of electromagnetic waves in various media, but the connection between the macroscopic properties and the microscopic electronic structure will be discussed too. Electromagnetic waves are conceivably the most widespread concept of physics in our modern society - enabling fundamental scientific breakthroughs like the detection of elementary particles as well as being the foundation of numerous industrial, medical, and consumer applications. Hence, the course will enable the student to understand state-of-the-art electromagnetic and photonic applications and prepare the student to participate in the design of next-generation electromagnetic and photonic technology.

Learning outcomes (after completion of the course the student should be able to)

  • Understand the importance of electromagnetic wave propagation in science and technology;

  • Describe the propagation of electromagnetic waves in various optical media and make quantitative predictions of electromagnetic wave propagation;

  • Understand the basic properties of electromagnetic materials, including dielectrics, anisotropic crystals, metals, semiconductors, nonlinear optical media, etc.

  • Understand how electromagnetic radiation can be manipulated with electro-optic, magneto-optic, acousto-optic materials;

  • Relate the macroscopic properties of media to their internal microscopic properties;

  • Discuss the structure and properties of man-made electromagnetic structured media, e.g., metamaterials, photonic crystals, or semiconductor heterostructures; Describe how such media may be used to realize desired optical, electric or magnetic properties not commonly found in traditional materials;

  • Discuss under what conditions electromagnetic wave propagation can be described by ray optics by deriving the eikonal equation (ray optics) from Maxwell's equations (wave optics) through application of the WKB approximation;

  • Apply the theoretical models to practical devices and experimental setups;

  • Read literature on theoretical end experimental research in related subjects;

  • Demonstrate written and oral abilities to explain and discuss scientific and technological subjects. 


  1. Electrodynamics of continuous materials; from microscopic to macroscopic

  2. Propagation of electromagnetic waves in linear, isotropic materials

  3. Propagation of electromagnetic waves in anisotropic crystals

  4. Microscopic models for the electromagnetic properties of materials

  5. Artificial materials and structured media: metamaterials, photonic crystals, heterostructures

  6. Modification of electromagnetic properties: electro-optics, magneto-optics, acousto-optics

  7. Nonlinear media

  8. Ray optics, eikonal equation


The course consist of a series of lectures covering the topics listed above and a series of problem-solving sessions. During the problem-solving sessions, you will work on homework problems while you have the possibility to discuss the problems with a lecturer.


Required material: Syllabus and notes handed out during the lectures.

Recommended textbooks:

  • A. Yariv and P. Yeh, "Optical Electronics in Modern Communications, Sixth Edition" (Oxford University Press, 2006); ISBN: 978-0195179460.

  • J. D. Jackson, "Classical Electrodynamics, Third Edition" (Wiley, 1998); ISBN: 978-0471309321.

  • S. R. de Groot and L. G. Suttorp, "Foundations of electrodynamics" (North-Holland, 1972); ISBN: 978-0444103703.


Exam at the end of the course. The exam will consist of an oral part (theory) and a written part (problems to be solved). A passing grade requires satisfactory performance in both examination forms.

Page manager Published: Thu 04 Feb 2021.