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Unit of study_

PHYS5121: HDR Advanced Electrodynamics and Photonics

2024 unit information

The electromagnetic force is the only one of the four fundamental forces of nature that is compatible with the four realms of mechanics (classical, quantum, relativistic and relativistic quantum mechanics) and therefore, the study of electrodynamics is fundamental to understanding how the laws of physics may be unified, but also to identify gaps in our knowledge. Drawing upon the foundations of classical electromagnetism and optics laid in the undergraduate physics major, this unit provides an advanced-level treatment of topics in electrodynamics and photonics underlying cutting-edge modern research. Starting with the mathematically elegant covariant formalism of the Maxwell equations, from which special relativity derives, the unit covers topics such as the origin of radiation from relativistic particles and from atoms, which are important in astrophysics and particle physics as well as optical and quantum physics. This then introduces the theme of light-matter interactions, which reveals how light can be manipulated and controlled, leading to fascinating phenomena such as optical tweezers, topological insulators and metamaterials. The unique properties and applications of confined electromagnetic waves and their nonlinear interactions are studied in depth, followed by the physics of laser light. The unit is completed with the contemporary research topic of quantum optics. In studying these topics, you will learn advanced theoretical concepts and associated mathematical methods in physics, including tensor calculus, Greens function method, multipole expansion in field theory, and coupled mode theory. Assessment for this unit includes the preparation of a literature review. By doing this unit, you will be able to synthesise your knowledge of physics and gain new insights into how to identify and apply relevant aspects of physics-based concepts and techniques to solve modern research problems.

Unit details and rules

Managing faculty or University school:

Physics Academic Operations

Code PHYS5121
Academic unit Physics Academic Operations
Credit points 6
Assumed knowledge:
A major in physics including third-year electromagnetism and third-year optics

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

  • LO1. Integrate knowledge of electromagnetism and optics from the undergraduate syllabus to develop an advanced level of understanding of physical phenomena in modern research applications of photonics.
  • LO2. Describe the electrodynamic physics underlying light-matter interactions and their applications in photonics research.
  • LO3. Apply physics knowledge and mathematical skills to solve problems in electrodynamics and photonics.
  • LO4. Analyse observed electromagnetic phenomena to elucidate key components of the underlying physical mechanisms and their manifestation into photonics applications.
  • LO5. Review relevant current research literature on a selected topic.

Unit availability

This section lists the session, attendance modes and locations the unit is available in. There is a unit outline for each of the unit availabilities, which gives you information about the unit including assessment details and a schedule of weekly activities.

The outline is published 2 weeks before the first day of teaching. You can look at previous outlines for a guide to the details of a unit.

Session MoA ?  Location Outline ? 
Semester 1 2024
Normal day Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney
Session MoA ?  Location Outline ? 
Semester 1 2022
Normal day Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney
Semester 1 2023
Normal day Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

Modes of attendance (MoA)

This refers to the Mode of attendance (MoA) for the unit as it appears when you’re selecting your units in Sydney Student. Find more information about modes of attendance on our website.