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Session: 2022/23

Last modified: 17/05/2022 10:32:01

Title of Module: Advanced Optics

Code: PHYS09001 SCQF Level: 9
(Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework)
Credit Points: 20 ECTS: 10
(European Credit Transfer Scheme)
School:School of Computing, Engineering and Physical Sciences
Module Co-ordinator:Carlos  Garcia

Summary of Module

This module is an optional module at Level 9. It builds on the optics covered at Level 8 of the programme (PHYS08002). The teaching includes tutorials and laboratory work in order to develop the student’s skill in applying the learning outcomes.

The following topics will be included.

Review of Maxwell's Equations. Harmonic Time Dependence. Absorptive and Dispersive media. Fourier Integrals. TE and TM Polarizations. Fresnel equations for oblique incidence. Brewster angle. Optics of Thin Films. Transfer Matrix Method.

Review of Interference. Some Aspects of Diffraction.

Crystal optics. Anisotropic Media Birefringence. Uniaxial and Biaxial Media.
Analysis of Polarised Light. Quarter and Half-Wave Plates. Nonlinear Optics. Kerr, Pockels, Faraday Effects.

Natural Line Width. Spontaneous Emission. Einstein’s equations. Stimulated emission rate equations. Population inversion. The threshold of lasing. Lasing gain. Laser cavities. Cavity loss and gain. Modes of cavities. Coherent length, linewidth, and modes. Selection of modes. Gas, Solid State, and Semiconductor Lasers. Applications of lasers in medicine, telecommunications, industrial machining, distance measurements.

We have defined a set of Graduate Attributes that are the skills, personal qualities, and understanding to be developed through your university experience that will prepare for life and work in the 21st century ( The Graduate Attributes relevant to this module are listed below.

  • Academic: critical thinker; analytical; inquiring; knowledgeable; digitally literate; problem solver; autonomous; incisive; innovative

  • Personal: effective communicator; influential; motivated

  • Professional: collaborative; research-minded; enterprising; ambitious; driven

Module Delivery Method
Face-To-FaceBlendedFully OnlineHybridCHybridOWork-based Learning
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Term used to describe the traditional classroom environment where the students and the lecturer meet synchronously in the same room for the whole provision.

A mode of delivery of a module or a programme that involves online and face-to-face delivery of learning, teaching and assessment activities, student support and feedback. A programme may be considered “blended” if it includes a combination of face-to-face, online and blended modules. If an online programme has any compulsory face-to-face and campus elements it must be described as blended with clearly articulated delivery information to manage student expectations

Fully Online
Instruction that is solely delivered by web-based or internet-based technologies. This term is used to describe the previously used terms distance learning and e learning.

Online with mandatory face-to-face learning on Campus

Online with optional face-to-face learning on Campus

Work-based Learning
Learning activities where the main location for the learning experience is in the workplace.

Campus(es) for Module Delivery
The module will normally be offered on the following campuses / or by Distance/Online Learning: (Provided viable student numbers permit)
Paisley:Ayr:Dumfries:Lanarkshire:London:Distance/Online Learning:Other:
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Term(s) for Module Delivery
(Provided viable student numbers permit).
Term 1


Term 2check markTerm 3


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Learning Outcomes: (maximum of 5 statements)

On successful completion of this module the student will be able to:

L1. Demonstrate understanding of the theory of light propagation in absorptive and dispersive media

L2. Demonstrate understanding of the theory and applications of the optics of thin films

L3. Demonstrate understanding of the theory and applications of crystal and non linear optics

L4. Demonstrate broad knowledge of the lasers and their applications

L5. Perform laboratory experiments appropriate to the content of the topics covered in lectures

Employability Skills and Personal Development Planning (PDP) Skills
SCQF Headings During completion of this module, there will be an opportunity to achieve core skills in:
Knowledge and Understanding (K and U) SCQF Level 9.

The theory underpinning various optical techniques and instruments

Practice: Applied Knowledge and Understanding SCQF Level 9.

Application of the theory to solving problems; performing lab experiments, recording, analyzing and communicating the results.

Generic Cognitive skills SCQF Level 9.

Problem solving skills

Communication, ICT and Numeracy Skills SCQF Level 9.

Communicating complex ideas; calculations appropriate to theory

Autonomy, Accountability and Working with others SCQF Level 9.

Developed during laboratory classes

Pre-requisites: Before undertaking this module the student should have undertaken the following:
Module Code:
Module Title:
Optics & Electronics
Oscillations, Waves & Fields
Properties of Matter
Mathematics for Physicists
Classical Mechanics and Special Relativity
Mathematics for Physicists 2
Other:or equivalent
Co-requisitesModule Code:
Module Title:

* Indicates that module descriptor is not published.

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Learning and Teaching
This module is lecture based, supplemented by problem solving tutorials and laboratory based
practical classes. In the lectures the theory of advanced optics will be discussed. Students will be
encouraged to read the prescribed texts prior to the lectures so that they might engage in informed
questioning and discussion during the lecture sessions. During the problem solving sessions,
which allow the students to reflect on the theory and apply it to suitable numerical problems,
students will be encouraged to tackle problems independently, with support as required. The
practical classes are designed to supplement the lectures. Students will be supervised and will
work on their own in these labs, which will generally take place in a darkroom. Students will be
expected to maintain a laboratory logbook, which will be assessed. Students will therefore develop
skills in practical technique, data interpretation and analysis and scientific report writing. Outwith
the timetabled classes, students will be expected to supplement the lectures by their own private
study involving reading the prescribed texts and practicing problem solving. The face to face
teaching will be supplemented by a Moodle site giving students remote access to the teaching
materials and other resources. As mentioned above, students will be expected to consolidate their
learning by wider reading of the recommended texts, by independent study and by further
independent practice at problem solving.
Learning Activities
During completion of this module, the learning activities undertaken to achieve the module learning outcomes are stated below:
Student Learning Hours
(Normally totalling 200 hours):
(Note: Learning hours include both contact hours and hours spent on other learning activities)
Lecture/Core Content Delivery24
Tutorial/Synchronous Support Activity12
Laboratory/Practical Demonstration/Workshop12
Independent Study152
200 Hours Total

**Indicative Resources: (eg. Core text, journals, internet access)

The following materials form essential underpinning for the module content and ultimately for the learning outcomes:

E Hecht, Optics, Addison Wesley 2004.

J. Peatross and M. Ware, Physics of Light and Optics, 2015 edition, available at

F Graham Smith, Terry A King & Dan Wilkins, Optics and Photonics, John Wiley & Sons 2008

Kenyon IR, “The Light Fantastic: A Modern Introduction to Classical and Quantum Optics, Second Edition”, Oxford, 2011

Germain Chartier, "Introduction to Optics", Springer

Demtroder, "Atoms, Molecules and Photons", Springer

Thomas Brabec, "Strong Field Laser Physics", Springer

Jianquan Yao and YuYue Wang "Non-linear Optics and solid-state lasers"

(**N.B. Although reading lists should include current publications, students are advised (particularly for material marked with an asterisk*) to wait until the start of session for confirmation of the most up-to-date material)

Engagement Requirements

In line with the Academic Engagement Procedure, Students are defined as academically engaged if they are regularly engaged with timetabled teaching sessions, course-related learning resources including those in the Library and on the relevant learning platform, and complete assessments and submit these on time. Please refer to the Academic Engagement Procedure at the following link: Academic engagement procedure

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Supplemental Information

Programme BoardPhysical Sciences
Assessment Results (Pass/Fail) No
Subject PanelPhysical Sciences
ModeratorDavid Hutson
External ExaminerD Faux
Accreditation DetailsInstitute of Physics
Version Number


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Assessment: (also refer to Assessment Outcomes Grids below)
60% Assessment Category 1 (final exam)
40% Assessment Category 2 (coursework and laboratory work)
(N.B. (i) Assessment Outcomes Grids for the module (one for each component) can be found below which clearly demonstrate how the learning outcomes of the module will be assessed.
(ii) An indicative schedule listing approximate times within the academic calendar when assessment is likely to feature will be provided within the Student Handbook.)

Assessment Outcome Grids (Footnote A.)

Component 1
Assessment Type (Footnote B.) Learning Outcome (1) Learning Outcome (2) Learning Outcome (3) Learning Outcome (4) Learning Outcome (5) Weighting (%) of Assessment ElementTimetabled Contact Hours
Unseen closed book (standard)check markcheck markcheck markcheck mark 602

Component 2
Assessment Type (Footnote B.) Learning Outcome (1) Learning Outcome (2) Learning Outcome (3) Learning Outcome (4) Learning Outcome (5) Weighting (%) of Assessment ElementTimetabled Contact Hours
Laboratory/ Clinical/ Field notebook    check mark2012
Portfolio of written workcheck markcheck markcheck markcheck mark 200
Combined Total For All Components100% 14 hours

A. Referred to within Assessment Section above
B. Identified in the Learning Outcome Section above

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  1. More than one assessment method can be used to assess individual learning outcomes.
  2. Schools are responsible for determining student contact hours. Please refer to University Policy on contact hours (extract contained within section 10 of the Module Descriptor guidance note).
    This will normally be variable across Schools, dependent on Programmes &/or Professional requirements.

Equality and Diversity
An element of lab work is required to complete the module.
UWS Equality and Diversity Policy
(N.B. Every effort will be made by the University to accommodate any equality and diversity issues brought to the attention of the School)

2014 University of the West of Scotland

University of the West of Scotland is a Registered Scottish Charity.

Charity number SC002520.