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Unit of study_

PHYS3035: Electrodynamics and Optics

The development of electrodynamic field theory laid the foundation on which all of modern physics is built, from relativity to quantum field theory. Its application to electromagnetic waves and optics underpins all of modern telecommunications, but also some of the most delicate physics experiments, from gravitational wave detection to quantum computing. This is a core unit in the physics major, which has three components: electrodynamics lectures, optics lectures, and experimental lab. In electrodynamics you will learn to manipulate Maxwell's equations in their differential form. You will apply the formalism to deriving properties of electromagnetic waves, including the interaction of waves with matter through reflection and absorption. This will lead to optics lectures in which you will investigate aspects of modern optics, using the laser to illustrate the topics covered, in combination with a discussion of the basic optical properties of materials, including the Lorentz model. You will investigate spontaneous and stimulated emission of light, laser rate equations, diffraction, Gaussian beam propagation, anisotropic media and nonlinear optics. You will carry out in-depth experimental investigations into key aspects of electrodynamics, optics, as well as other topics in physics, with expert tutoring.

Code PHYS3035
Academic unit Physics Academic Operations
Credit points 6
(PHYS2011 OR PHYS2911 OR PHYS2921) AND (PHYS2012 OR PHYS2912 OR PHYS2922)
PHYS3935 or PHYS3040 or PHYS3940 or PHYS3941 or PHYS3068 or PHYS3968 or PHYS3069 or PHYS3969 or PHYS3080 or PHYS3980
Assumed knowledge:
(MATH2021 OR MATH2921 OR MATH2061 OR MATH2961 OR MATH2067)

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. demonstrate an understanding of key concepts in two foundation areas of physics – electrodynamics and optics
  • LO2. apply these concepts to develop models, and to solve qualitative and quantitative problems in scientific contexts, using appropriate mathematical and computing techniques as necessary
  • LO3. carry out and analyse experiments to measure specific effects
  • LO4. compare and critique experimental approaches
  • LO5. communicate scientific information appropriately, through written work and an oral presentation
  • LO6. analyse a physical problem in electrodynamics and optics and develop a formalism appropriate for solving it
  • LO7. demonstrate a sense of responsibility, ethical behaviour, and independence as a learner and as a scientist.