Introduction to Optics

Physics 2311





††††††††††† The study of optics is very old. Indeed, Isaac Newton published his Optiks in 1704. In spite of this long history, the demands of modern science and technology have required an even deeper understanding of light and its interaction with matter and there are many world-class institutes where the study of modern optics is pursued in earliest. Diverse application in medicine, astronomy, communications and various branches of physics have brought both advances in science and benefits to our daily lives. The Hubble Telescope and innovative optical design applied to land based telescopes have vastly improved our understanding of the cosmos extending backward in time to the beginning of the universe. At the other end of the length scale, modern microscopy has given us insight into the cellular and molecular word. Fiber optics, only few years ago a curiosity taught in standard courses on Optics, now forms the backbone of most modern telecommunications networks.


††††††††† In our study, we will begin by examining the nature of light, a theme which has been a leading force in the development of modern day physics and which has led too much of our fundamental understanding of the workings of nature at the atomic and molecular level. We will study classical optics as a means of understanding how optical instruments work. One tool of interest is the use of modern matrix methods for analyzing paraxial optical systems. Practical applications will include cameras, telescopes and microscopes, important optical instruments. Since light has the properties of a wave, we will look at phenomena that depend on the wave nature of light. This include interference and diffraction, both of which have important consequences in he design of optical instruments.As time permits, we will have a closer look at lasers and holography.



Prerequisites: Physics 1101 or 1113/1133


Text: Optics, 4th Edition, Eugene Hecht


Reference Text: Fundamentals of Physics, Halliday, Resnick, Walker. (Chapters 34-37)




Dr. G. Das,

Office: CB 4027

Phone: 346-7810

E-mail: Gautam Das

Office hours:

Tuesday and Thursday: 9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.

Location: CB4027




Assignments: 10% (Approximately 10 assignments)

Laboratory work: 10% (Laboratory work is an integral part of this course)

Midterm exam: 30% (Tuesday, 22 nd October 2013)

Final Exam: 50% (TBA)




Chapters 1-4: These chapters give a brief history, talk about wave motion, electromagnetic theory, photons, light and propagation of light. We will give these chapters a very brief survey.Sections 4.3, 4.4 and 4.5 cover reflection, refraction and Fermatís Principle. These topics form the basis of geometrical optics.


Chapter 5: We will cover most of the material, which includes lenses, stops, mirrors, prisms and fiber optics, optical systems.


Chapter 6: Covers thick lenses, ray tracing, aberrations and GRIN systems.


Chapter 7: Section 7.1, deals with the addition of waves of the same frequency.


Chapter 8: Section 8.1 and 8.2 give a short description of polarized light.


Chapter 9: Covers interference phenomena-slits, interferometers and thin films.


Chapter 10: Covers diffraction-Fraunhofer and Fresnel.


Chapter 13: Modern optics (If time permits)