PHYC 302 Optics

To see me in my office, please make an appointment (call or email).

Optics by Eugene HechtClass meeting times: Tuesdays/Thursdays, 11:00- 12:15;   Physics and Astronomy, Room 5

Textbook: Optics by Hecht (4th Edition). The course will cover Chapters 1-13.
Teaching Assistant: Zhou Yang

Pre-requisites: Calculus, Knowledge of Differential Equations, Complex Algebra, (Phys 152, 160 and 161).

Assignments: Homework problem sets will be assigned on a regular basis throughout the semester, most likely one set per week. The overall HW grade will count as 20% of the final.

Tests:   There will be two in-class, closed-book tests (each counting 20% of final grade) at regular intervals during the semester and a comprehensive final exam (40% of final grade) at the end.

Tentative Test Dates (subject to change):  Thursday February  26th and Thursday April 9th.

See deadlines for grade options.   Final exam is currently scheduled for Tuesday May 12th, 12:30-2:30 p.m.

Grading:   The final grade is weighted as follows:
Midterms: 20% each (40% total)
Final: 40%
Homework: 20%

Midterm Exam I

Thursday Feb. 26


  1. Introduction
  2. Waves (properties of harmonic waves, complex representation, superposition,..)
  3. Electromagnetic Theory of Light (basic laws, energy and momentum, photons, radiation spectrum, light-matter interaction, dispersion, ..)
  4. Propagation of Light (Fermat's principle, Fresnel laws of reflection and refraction, Maxwell's equations, ..)
  5. Geometric Optics (spherical surfaces, thin lenses, mirrors, imaging, prisms, fiberoptics, ray tracing, aberrations..)
  6. Optical Systems (human eye, camera, telescopes, microscopes,..)
  7. Wave Optics (superposition, wave packets, pulses, group velocity ..)
  8. Polarization of Light (polarizers, birefringence, waveplates, ..)
  9. Interference (principles, interferometers, single and multilayer films,..)
  10. Diffraction (Fraunhofer diffraction, Fresnel diffraction, implications for imaging systems..)
  11. Modern Optics (lasers, holography, ..)

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