Gwybodaeth Modiwlau

Module Identifier
Module Title
Modern Optics and Photonics
Academic Year
Semester 1
PH11010 or FG11010
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 22 x 1 Hour Lectures


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Coursework Deadlines (by week of Semester): Assignment (15%) in Week 8 (approx) Assignment (15%) in Week 11 (approx)  30%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   Written Examination  70%
Supplementary Exam 2 Hours   Written Examination  100%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

  • explain what is meant by laser light
  • calculate the population inversion necessary for laser action
  • describe the different pumping requirements of three- and four-level lasers
  • distinguish the longitudinal and transverse mode structures of laser cavities
  • describe the operation of different types of laser systems
  • explain what is meant by an optical fibre
  • determine the major causes of attenuation and dispersion of light in optical fibres and the means by which these can be minimised
  • design modulators of light based on the electro-optic and acousto-optic effect
  • design a frequency doubler for laser light

Brief description

This module will cover a number of topics in Modern Optics, with a particular theme of how photons can replace electrons as the principal information-processing agents. The module will discuss optical sources (including lasers in detail), optical fibres and waveguides, non-linear optical effects, optical modulation and signal processing, photonic structures, holography and optical storage.


Absorption, spontaneous emission of radiation and the Einstein relations.
Laser radiation theory leading to the necessity for population inversion.
Population inversion and three- and four-level systems.
Threshold condition for laser cavities and mode structure of laser light.
Examples of practical laser systems including solid state lasers, gas lasers, excimer lasers, dye lasers and semiconductor lasers.
Continuous wave and pulsed lasers; theory of mode-locking, ultra-fast lasers.

Snell's law, dispersion and attenuation in optical fibres.
Single mode and graded index fibres.
Materials for optical fibres, fibre manufacturing.

Polarisation effects in media, harmonic frequency generation.
Parametric generation of light, white-light continua.
Other nonlinear processes; e.g. Kerr effect, multi-photon absorption.

Birefringence and electro-optic modulators.
The acousto-optic effect.

The basics; periodicity in optical structures.
Optical band-gaps, group velocity dispersion and optical density of states.
Modeling of photonic crystals, plane-wave and FDTD simulations.
Practical realisations of photonic crystals, iridescence and structural colour, integrated optics.
Introduction to Plasmonics.

Basic principles.
Practical examples; the Gabor hologram, volume holograms.
Holographic lithography & optical data storage.


This module is at CQFW Level 6