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OSE3052 - Introduction to Photonics

Introduction to light as rays, waves, and photons. Optical fibers. Interference and diffraction. Polarization. Image formation. LEDs and Lasers. Detectors. Optical systems (cameras, scanners, sensors)

Credits: 3 hours

Prerequisites: MAP 2302 Differential Equations, acceptance to PSE Major

Detailed course description:

This course introduces the basic descriptions of light as rays (geometrical optics), waves (physical optics), and photons.  Reflection and refraction of light rays and waves from planar and curved surfaces are introduced together with applications to basic optical systems such as single-lens imaging, microscopes, telescopes, scanning systems, concentrators, etc). Total internal reflection of rays is used to describe light propagation through optical fibers. Interference of optical waves is described along with interferometers and their applications to optical metrology and sensing. Diffraction of optical waves propagating through apertures is examined and the effects on the resolution of imaging systems and the spreading and focusing of optical beams are covered. Diffraction gratings and grating spectrometers. Polarization and polarization devices. Regarding light as photons, a brief introduction to absorption, emission, and luminescence phenomena is followed by a brief description of light emitting diodes, lasers and optical detectors. This course is being taught to satisfy the requirements of the optics Ph.D. curriculum and qualifying exam.

Learning outcomes:

Upon completion of this course, students should understand the basic principles of modern geometrical and physical optics and photonics. They should be able to read the specifications of commercial optical instruments such as a scanner for a laser printer, a telescope, or a spectrometer, and determine how these specifications impact the intended application. They should also be able to solve analysis and design problems for basic optical systems such as the following examples:

  • Design an imaging system with prescribed magnification using a given lens, and determine the spatial resolution. 
  • Determine the critical angle for a given optical fiber and the angle of the cones of the incident and transmitted rays at the input and output of the fiber.
  • Determine the changes in the Young’s double-slit interference pattern that result from bringing the slits closer by some factor.
  • Determine the changes in the Michelson interferogram that result from moving one of the mirrors or inserting a thin glass slab in one of the arms.
  • Design an optical modulator by use of two polarizers and a wave retarder with variable retardation. 
  • Design an optical communication link.

Topics: (A detailed schedule with dates follows at the end of this document.)

  • Geometrical optics: Optical rays. Refractive index. Fermat’s principle. Reflection and refraction from planar mirrors and boundaries between media of different refractive indexes. Total internal reflection. 

Applications:  single-lens imaging, microscopes, telescopes, prism scanning systems, concentrators, optical fibers.

  • Physical optics: Wave propagation. Planar and spherical waves. Reflection and refraction from planar mirrors and planar boundaries between media of different refractive indexes. Comparison between geometrical and wave optics.
  • Interference of light and optical interferometers. Applications:  optical sensing and metrology.
  • Diffraction of light. Applications: resolution of imaging systems.  Angular spreading and focusing of optical beams.
  • Diffraction gratings and grating spectrometers.
  • Polarization and polarization devices (polarizers, retarders, rotators).
  • Light as Photons. Brief introduction to absorption, emission, and luminescence.
  • Optical devices: detectors, LEDs, and lasers.

Textbook: 
Introduction to Optics, 3rd ed., F. L. Pedrotti, L.S. Pedrotti and L. M. Pedrotti, Prentice-Hall, 2009.
Chapters covered: 1 through 11; 13; 15.

Recommended Reference:
Schaum’s Outline of Theory and Problems of Optics, Eugene Hecht, McGraw Hill, 1975.
Chapters covered: 1; 3; 4; 6; 7.

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