UW Physics


Physics 325

Wave motion and optics

spring semester 2017

MWF 2:25 - 3:15 pm in 2425 Sterling,

Final Exam Sunday May 7, 10:05am - 12:05 pm

Office hours: T,W,Th 9-10 in 5330 Chamberlin.

Or by appointment (send an email), or just stop by. 

Mark Saffman
Department of Physics
office: 5330 Chamberlin
tlf: 265 5601
email: msaffman@wisc.edu
web: hexagon.physics.wisc.edu

This course will give an intermediate level treatment of waves and wave motion, primarily electromagnetic and optical waves. Techniques for producing, modifying and measuring optical waves as well as applications to imaging, sensing, and communications will be discussed.

Catalog course description: Wave phenomena with specific applications to waves in media and electromagnetic phenomena. Wave equations, propagation, radiation, coherence, interference, diffraction, scattering. Light and its interactions with matter, geometrical and physical optics. Experiments for this course are covered in Physics 308.

Prerequisites Physics 205, 241, or 244, and Physics 311. Physics 322 or concurrent enrollment recommended.

The course textbook is J. Peatross and M. Ware Physics of light and optics. Available as a free download from optics.byu.edu/textbook.aspx

It can be purchased in a printed bound form from http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/physics-of-light-and-optics/14241717.

The textbook will be supplemented by material from Optics for Physicists (OfP) which will be provided as a download from this webpage.

O.f.P. - Optics for Physicists (updated 2017.02.20)

Optics books and physics library course reserves

Syllabus (updated 2017.02.20)

week lecture   date topic

reading in P&W

reading in O.f.P. HW out HW due
1 1 introduction W Jan 18 Introduction, Optics Waves & photons, periodic waves Ch. 0,1,2,3 skip 0.4, 2.3, 2.4 Ch. 1    
  2 F Jan 20 wave equation, Poynting vector, energy and momentum transport, start refractive index     1  
2 3 M Jan 23 negative refractive index, polarization, polarizers, waveplates, angular momentum, start Fresnel coefficients Ch. 6      
  4 W Jan 25 beamsplitter, Brewster's angle, start total internal reflection        
  5 F Jan 27 total internal reflection, tunneling, optical components, Dove prism Ch. 4 Ch. 2 2 1
3 6 M Jan 30 interference of plane and spherical waves, visibility, interferometers        

7 FP resolution

W Feb 1 Fabry-Perot interferometer, Finesse, resolution, a little on LIGO        
  8 Sagnac F Feb 3 Etalon, Sagnac interferometer, practice problems, math quiz     3 2
4 9 M Feb 6 Fourier analysis math, broadband fields, FT Spectrometer Ch. 0.4 Ch.13    
  10 W Feb 8 antireflection and high reflection coatings, multilayer coatings        
  11 F Feb 10 Ray propagation, ray matrices, imaging, concave mirror Ch. 9 Ch. 3 4 3
5 12 M Feb 13 compound lens, principal planes, brightness        
  13 W Feb 15 aberrations, imaging instruments: the eye, microscope        
  14 F Feb 17 telescope, solid angle, eikonal equation Ch. 10 Ch. 4 5 4
6 15 M Feb 20 Fourier optics, Fresnel diffraction, impulse response        
  16 W Feb 22 Fraunhofer diffraction, beyond Fresnel theory        
  17 F Feb 24 Square aperture, Cornu spiral, lens and Fourier transform, Hankel transform Ch. 11 Ch. 5   5
7 18 M Feb 27 Airy disk, spot of Arago, Fresnel zones, zone plate, Talbot effect        
  19 W Mar 1 Fourier tansform of a repeated object, midterm review        
    F Mar 3 In class midterm     6  
8 20 M Mar 6 Solve midterm, Diffraction grating, resolving power   Ch. 6    
  21 W Mar 8 Gaussian beams: basics, H-G, L-G modes        
  22 F Mar 10 Gaussian beam lens transformation, imaging     7 6
9 23 M Mar 13 Gaussian beam at aperture and focusing, zoom lens        
  24 W Mar 15 optical resonators, stability conditions Ch. 8      
  25 F Mar 17 optical coherence - time domain     8 7
10 26 M Mar 27 optical coherence - spatial domain, Michelson stellar interferometer Ch. 13 Ch. 7    
  27 W Mar 29 Sources of radiation, thermal blackbody radiation        
  28 F Mar 31 Equilibrium of radiation and matter, Einstein A,B coefficients     9 8
11 29 M Apr 3 Absorption cross section, lineshape, refractive index        
  30 W Apr 5 Fields from moving charges, start refractive index calculation        
  31 F Apr 7 finish refractive index calculation, start intensity dependent refractive index Ch. 12   10 9
12 32 M Apr 10 holography Ch. 7 Ch. 9, 10    
  33 W Apr 12 nonlinear optics        
  34 F Apr 14 spatial soliton, modulation instability, quadratic nonlinearity, second harmonic generation     11 10
13 35 M Apr 17 fiber optics, modes in 1D slab waveguide, mirror boundary conditions        
  36 W Apr 19 modes in 1D and 2D dielectric waveguides, fiber link design   Ch. 11    
  37 F Apr 21 signals and noise, photodetection, direct and heterodyne,     12 11
14 38 M Apr 24 Light modulation, piezo, AOM        
  39 W Apr 26 AOM time bandwidth product, EOM        
  40 F Apr 28 finish EOM, PDH locking       12
15 41 M May 1 t.b.d.        
  42 W May 3 t.b.d.        
  43 F May 5 t.b.d.        
    S May 7 Final Exam Sunday May 7, 10:05am - 12:05 pm        

Grading: HW 50%, midterm 15%, final 35%

Notes on various topics:

Physical constants (updated 2015.09.03) if you want all the details here are the CODATA 2010 recommended values

Conversion between Gaussian and SI units (updated 2009.01.20)

Mathematical formulae (updated 2015.11.09)

Fourier analysis

Ray matrices

Some interesting papers related to the course:

Mendelson Story of c 2006

Taylor feeble interference 1909

Michelson stellar interferometer 1921


Homework will count for approximately 50% of your grade. You are encouraged to work with others on solving the HW problems but you must turn in your own work - not a copy of work done by others. It is encouraged to use software such as Mathematica or Matlab for the homework. It is perfectly acceptable to turn in your homework solutions in the form of a Mathematica notebook. Homework is due printed on paper at the beginning of class on the assigned date. Late homework will only be accepted if you have received prior permission to turn it in late.

Most homework problems are worth 3 points which will be awarded as follows:

3 - Correct solution or minor errors.

2 - Substantial effort but missing some important parts of the solution.

1 - Limited effort, far from correct.

0 - No effort, or insignificant attempt.

Assignments and solutions will be provided via email.

Links to useful information:

Optics on the web:

Daniel Steck optics notes

Optical Society of America

European Optical Society


Other resources:

Math World

Wolfram function site

Digital library of mathematical functions

Abramowitz & Stegun Handbook of Mathematical Functions

Integrals on the web

Matrix solver for linear equations on the web

Clebsch-Gordan calculator

6j symbol calculator

Periodic table

NIST Physical reference data

Wikipedia - optics

Physics World