Single-Course English 5 ECTS

Optics and photonics

Overall Course Objectives

The course provides a broad introduction to both classical and modern optics and photonics. The aim is that the students obtain a physical understanding of what light is, how it interacts with matter, and how light is used in measurement techniques and information technology.

Learning Objectives

  • Identify whether a ray optics, a scalar wave optics, an electromagnetic wave optics, or a photon optics description is required in a given situation
  • Derive the wave equation from Maxwell’s equations in a medium and understand the different solutions and their characteristic properties
  • Describe the superposition principle and apply it to electromagnetic waves
  • Describe the concept of interference and calculate the properties of different interferometric systems
  • Explain Fourier analysis of optical waves
  • Explain the concept of polarization, describe several polarization states of light and how they can be generated and transformed
  • Describe and calculate the propagation of light in simple optical waveguides in terms of modes, dispersion relation and effective index
  • Explain the concepts of Fraunhofer and Fresnel diffraction and calculate the diffraction patterns of different apertures
  • Derive the Fresnel equations and describe how light is transferred at an interface of two materials, and through multilayer films
  • Describe the interaction between light and matter and explain the basic principles of a laser
  • Apply and recognize professional terminology in English

Course Content

The following concepts and phenomena, and some of their most important applications: Light rays, Maxwell wave equations, vector fields and polarization properties, wave diffraction, wave interference and superposition of waves, Fresnel relations, periodic media and multilayers, waveguide optics, optical resonators, light-matter interactions, laser amplification and lasers

Recommended prerequisites

10009/10013/10036/31400, not later that at the same time

Teaching Method

Lectures and problem solving


Please note that this course is part of the BSc in Physics and Nanotechnology.

See course in the course database.





13 weeks




DTU Lyngby Campus

Course code 34020
Course type Bachelor
Semester start Week 5
Semester end Week 19
Days Thurs 13-17

7.500,00 DKK