Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Concepts in Physics
Academic Year
Intended for use in future years
Mutually Exclusive
Normal entry requirements for part 1 Physics
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Continuous Assessment: 2 Tests  100%

Learning Outcomes

After taking this module students should be able to:

  • recognise and demonstrate the application of a wide range of physics modules to any physical concept
  • recall the relative frequencies or wavelengths of the various regions in the electromagnetic spectrum
  • appreciate the application of the various parts of the electromagnetic spectrum in everyday life.

Brief description

In this synoptic module, the electromagnetic spectrum will be taken as a concept, and a wide range of problems will be tackled with examples taken from this concept.


The Electromagnetic Spectrum is taken as an overall concept. The syllabus will be divided up into four sections:

The Electromagnetic Spectrum.
Propagation of electromagnetic energy - the wave and photon picture.

a) optical spectrum
Sources of visible light.
The LASER and the special properties of laser light
Types of laser with some practical demonstrations of argon ion and semiconductor systems.
The coherence of light.
Use of coherence properties of lasers - speckle phenomena and holography.
Optical waveguiding - optical fibres, integrated optics and the route to optical computers.
Introduction to geometrical optics.

b) high energy electromagnetic spectrum (x-rays and gamma-rays)
properties of x-rays and gamma-rays (energy, wavelength, ionisation, attenuation)
production of x-rays (x-ray tubes, synchrotron radiation)
production of gamma-rays (radioactive decay, annihilation)
detection of x-rays and gamma-rays (gas ionisation and solid state detectors)
application of x-rays and gamma-rays (diffraction, spectroscopy, imaging,

c) Infra-red spectrum
Sources of infra-red radiation
Detectors of infra-red radiation
Thermal imaging

d) radio spectrum
radio transmission, modulation and demodulation
radio astronomy
radio sources in the universe


This module is at CQFW Level 4