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Syllabus for

Academic year
FFY091 - Optics
Syllabus adopted 2015-02-20 by Head of Programme (or corresponding)
Owner: TKTFY
6,0 Credits
Grading: TH - Five, Four, Three, Not passed
Education cycle: First-cycle
Major subject: Engineering Physics
Department: 16 - PHYSICS

Teaching language: Swedish

Course module   Credit distribution   Examination dates
Sp1 Sp2 Sp3 Sp4 Summer course No Sp
0194 Examination 4,5 c Grading: TH   4,5 c   15 Mar 2016 pm SB,  08 Apr 2016 pm SB,  22 Aug 2016 pm SB
0294 Laboratory 1,5 c Grading: UG   1,5 c    

In programs



Docent  Jörgen Bengtsson

  Go to Course Homepage


In order to be eligible for a first cycle course the applicant needs to fulfil the general and specific entry requirements of the programme(s) that has the course included in the study programme.

Course specific prerequisites

EEF031 or equivalent course and basic knowledge of Matlab programming.


Aims to introduce optics, as an important part of physics, in the Engineering physics programme.

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

After completion of the course, the participant should be able to

numerical propagation
- identify and translate Fourier integrals in optics to FFT-based calculations in Matlab.
- recognize results that are influenced be numerical errors.
- propagate through compound systems containing multiple optical components.
- compare propagation based on plane wave decomposition (PAS) and Huygens-Fresnel's principle (HFM).
- explain how the beam propagation method (BPM) for thick components uses PAS and the thin-component formalism.
- predict qualitatively, without calculations, how optical phenomena are influenced by changes in geometrical and physical parameters based on experience from numerical simulations.

analytic rules of thumb for propagation
- use HFM to show that the Fourier transform is obtained in the far field and in the focal plane of a lens, respectively.
- use HFM to derive the rules of thumb for smallest spot size (size of focus) and smallest beam divergence, and how well they relate to the exact results for a Gaussian beam and abeam with a circular top hat intensity in the starting plane.

thin optical components
- derive the transmission functions for important components such as the lens and spherical mirror.

- know how the intensity in different diffraction orders of a grating can be controlled.
- use the grating equation to determine the periodicity of an illuminated object, or the wavelength of the light to be analyzed (spectroscopy).

polarization-changing components
- explain the origin of the refractive index of a substance, and how some substances can exhibit birefringence.
- extract Jones matrices for important optical components and multiply them together for a compound system.
- explain how the 3D movie and the twisted nematic liquid crystal display work, respectively.

- explain the requirements to obtain a high-quality image.
- explain the methods used to gain information about the image, and what information is obtained:
i. geometrical optics
ii. point-source-by point-source propagation from object to image plane.
iii. convolution with the point spread function (PSF).
iv. "showers" of temporally coherent fields
- use the construction rules in geometrical optics for a system with one or more lenses/mirrors, and thus obtain the system magnification and position of image plane.
- explain how aberrations can influence the image quality.

- explain the meaning of field correlation in terms of predictability in time and space and how this comes into the definition of coherence.
- estimate coherence time and spatial coherence length for an optical field from a given source, and thus predict the outcome of a measurement with a Michelson interferometer or a Young's double slit, respectively.
- describe why using light of lower quality (less coherent) can sometimes be an advantage.
- explain stellar interferometry.

thick optical components and waveguiding
- explain the principles of waveguiding in typical waveguides for microwaves and for light.
- explain what modes are, and how the field in the waveguide automatically becomes a mode (or superposition of several modes).
- explain single and multimode waveguides, GRIN fibers, and multimode interference (MMI).
- explain what is meant by a nonlinear effect in optics, in what respect the Kerr effect is nonlinear, and how this effect influences the propagation.

- assemble an optical system with lenses for focusing and collimation of light from a laser source or a conventional light source.
- create the far field of gratings and different apertures, and measure and evaluate these fields.
- create different types of polarized light and analyze light with an unknown state of polarization.
- determine concentration of some substances by using optical activity.

- derive the critical angle for total internal reflection and the Brewster angle, and give examples of their practical use.
- explain how multiple reflections enable antireflection treatment and distributed (DBR) mirrors, and some practical applications.
- explain the basic function and essential parts of a laser.
- explain the advantages and disadvantages of considering light as a stream of particles (photons).


Review of EM field theory, plane wave decomposition including the numerical method Propagation of Angular Spectrum (PAS), Huygens-Fresnel's principle with the four rules of thumb for propagation, thin optical components, reflection and transmission at material boundaries, diffraction, polarization, imaging with four different methods e.g. geometrical optics, coherence, waveguiding including the numerical method Beam Propagation Method (BPM), optical fibers, light sources, lasers, and the photon picture of light.


Home assignments/numerical labs (5), laboratory exercises (2), tutorials (5) and lectures (14).


Physics of Light and Optics, J. Peatross and M. Ware, 2013 edition, freely downloadable from the Internet.


To pass the course all the laboratory exercises and home assignments must have received a pass. A written exam must also receive a pass; the exam consists of questions related to the home assignments and the laboratory exercises, and discussion and problem solving tasks of the type that is treated at the tutorials.

Page manager Published: Mon 28 Nov 2016.