Optics: Fundamentals and Applications (PHYS*3000)

Code and section: PHYS*3000*01

Term: Winter 2017

Instructor: Xiaorong Qin


Course Information

Calendar Descriptions

This course will introduce students to the fundamental principles of wave and geometric optics, with an emphasis on applications. Topics will include reflection, refraction, diffraction, interference, and polarization, as well as fibre optics, imaging systems and lasers.


PHYS*2340, PHYS*3130


Lecturer Office Extension Email
Xiaorong Qin MacN 449 53675 xqin@uoguelph.ca


Day  Time Location
Tuesday, Thursday 1:00 – 2:20 pm ALEX Room 028

Course Materials

Required Text

“Optics”, Ajoy Ghatak, McGraw-Hill.


“Optics” (4th Edition), E. Hecht, Pearson Education, 2002. (ISBN 0-8053-8566-5)


Assessment Weight
Participation 5%
Assignments (late submission = -10% per day) 25%
Mid-term (Feb 28) 30%
Final Exam (April 19, 7pm) 40%

Major Lecture Topics

  • Nature of light --- traveling waves, 1D and 3D harmonic waves, wave equations, EM waves, superposition of harmonic waves (phasor/vector expression), dispersion effect (e.g. wave pulse broadening);
  • Reflection and refraction of light --- Snell’s Law, Huygens’ and Fermat’s principles, geometrical optics in brief (e.g., lenses); Fresnel equations, E-field polarization, Brewster’s angle, reflectance and transmittance, total reflection (e.g., fiber optics), evanescent wave, birefringence;
  • Interference of light --- vector model, wavefront-splitting interferometer, fringes of equal inclination, fringes of equal thickness, multiple-beam interference, the Fabry-Perot interferometer (e.g., laser cavity modes);
  • Coherence properties for light sources;
  • Fraunhofer diffraction --- single-slit diffraction, beam spreading, rectangular and circular apertures, resolution, double-slit diffraction, diffraction by N-slits, gratings;
  • Fresnel diffraction; Fourier optics;
  • Lasers --- energy levels, cavity, population inversion, stimulated emission, laser cavity modes, and mode locking.

Course Policies

Medical Certificate

Not generally required. However, if you miss a TEST or EXAM, then you should see your College Counselor and get a note from him/her.

Collaboration versus Copying

You are encouraged to discuss with others as you learn the material and work on the assignments. However, the work you submit must be your own (your understanding written independently) and not a copy of someone else's work.

Academic Misconduct

The University of Guelph takes a serious view of academic misconduct and will severely penalize students, faculty and staff who are found guilty of offenses associated with misappropriation of others' work, misrepresentation of personal performance and fraud, improper access to scholarly resources, and obstructing others in pursuit of their academic endeavors. Each student is assumed to be familiar with the regulations surrounding academic misconducts, as spelled out in the Undergraduate Calendar.