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MPhys Physics / Course details
Year of entry: 2022
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Course unit details:
Introduction to Photonics
|Unit level||Level 2|
|Teaching period(s)||Semester 2|
|Offered by||Department of Physics & Astronomy|
|Available as a free choice unit?||No|
Introduction to Photonics
|Unit title||Unit code||Requirement type||Description|
|Vibrations & Waves||PHYS10302||Pre-Requisite||Compulsory|
This course introduces the concepts of photonics (the application and use of light in modern technologies) by discussing 4 broad themes, that of the properties of light, the production of light, the detection of light and how information is encoded using light and different applications of these technologies. The course builds on the foundations laid in the 1st year and leads onto more advanced courses in lasers and photonics in later semesters. Short and long questions on various aspects of the course (with solutions) will be given during the course. All material will be available on Blackboard and on the school teachweb pages.
‘This course unit detail provides the framework for delivery in 21/22 and may be subject to change due to any additional Covid-19 impact. Please see Blackboard / course unit related emails for any further updates.’
On completion of the course students should understand:
• the nature of light and how to manipulate it for applications in photonics and related disciplines
• how light can be produced and how the properties of light can be determined
• how light can be used in communications systems
• application examples which have evolved from photonic techniques.
Syllabus (lectures not necessarily in this order)
1. Nature of light and how it is manipulated (7 lectures) Wave descriptions (spectrum, superposition, interference effects), photon effects (photoelectric effect, momentum, interaction with matter). Characteristics of light (polarization, coherence, monochomaticity), ways to define these mathematically (Stokes parameters, Jones vectors & matrices) and how to determine these characteristics.
2. How light is produced – the LASER and LED (8 lectures) Einstein A and B coefficients, rate equations, gain and losses, optical feedback, laser threshold, 3 and 4 level lasers, cavity stability, cavity modes, Gaussian beams. The LED and laser diode, p-n junction, heterojunction and stripe geometries.
3. Detection of light radiation (3 lectures) Light detectors: photomutiplier tubes, photodiodes. Generic system issues: sources of noise and signal-to-noise ratio, limitations on temporal response and effective bandwidth.
4. Transmission and modulation techniques (3 lectures) Delivery methods. Basics of optical fibre techniques: step index fibre; acceptance angles, single and multimode fibres, dispersion limitations, transmission characteristics. Acousto-optic and electro-optic techniques, LED switching, analogue and digital techniques using lasers, AM, FM, phase modulation techniques.
5. Applications (2 lectures) A selection of the following applications will be discussed: Digital communications Display systems (LCD’s, plasmas etc) Range-finding systems and applications (LIDAR etc) More exotic applications (laser trapping, laser tweezering, different forms of measurements) Trends and new directions in photonic applications.
Feedback will be available on students’ individual written solutions to examples sheets, which will be marked, and model answers will be issued.
Milloni, P.W. & Eberly, J.H. Lasers
Smith, F.G. & King, T.A. Optics and Photonics: An introduction (Manchester Physics)
Wilson, J. & Hawkes, J.F.B. Optoelectronics: An introduction (Prentice Hall)
|Scheduled activity hours|
|Assessment written exam||1.5|
|Independent study hours|
|Darren Graham||Unit coordinator|