Single-Course Danish 5 ECTS

Introduction to optics and photonics

Overall Course Objectives

The course provides a broad and fundamental introduction to classical optics. The aim is to give the student an understanding of the physics behind both the ray description and wave description of light. The course is divided into three areas: 1) Light sources, how light is measured and characterized and how the human eye will experience light. 2) Geometrical optics in mirrors, lenses and materials. 3) Polarization, interference and diffraction of light.

Learning Objectives

  • Calculate and measure the radiometric and photometric parameters for light generally
  • Design and characterize optical light sources with regards to color and radiation
  • Use the Fresnel’s equations to calculate energy relations of light propagating through an interface between two dielectric media
  • Describe the principle of propagation of light in an optical wave guide
  • Calculate paraxial ray matrices to describe simple as well as complex optical systems
  • Discuss the different aberrations and the influence of apertures on imaging systems
  • Discuss optical principles behind ray tracing software
  • Discuss the functionality of the eye
  • Describe polarization and the different states of polarization with the Jones matrices, and discuss how polarized light can be generated
  • Discuss the concept of interference and coherence, and calculate properties of different interferometric systems
  • Discuss the influence of diffraction on optical systems, and its application (e.g. spectroscopy)
  • Insight into real-life applications of optics and photonics – and innovative ways to bring these to the market in medical devices, communications, and other industries

Course Content

The following concepts and phenomena, and some of their most important applications: Radiometry, photometry, colorimetry, incoherent and coherent light sources, optical detection, Fresnel’s equations, ray optics, ray-tracing, paraxial ray optics, optical aberrations, polarization, interference, Michelson interferometry, Fabry-Perot interferometry, coherence, optical coherence tomography, diffraction, spectroscopy

Recommended prerequisites


Teaching Method

Lectures, group work and exercises


See course in the course database.





13 weeks




DTU Lyngby Campus

Course code 34021
Course type Bachelor

7.500,00 DKK