Fall 2022 - PHYS 855 G100

Modern Optics (3)

Class Number: 1982

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Mo, We, Fr 10:30 AM – 11:20 AM
    SSCP 8445.2, Burnaby

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Dec 14, 2022
    12:00 PM – 3:00 PM
    WMC 3511, Burnaby

  • Prerequisites:

    Permission of the instructor.



Optical physics, including geometrical and physical optics, waves in anisotropic media, coherence, image formation and Fourier optics, guided wave optics and selected advanced topics such as lasers, nonlinear optics, photonics and quantum optics.


The primary purpose of tutorials will be for you to practice problem solving, which can include in-class problems and discussion of assigned problems.

Topic Sequence
• Historical introduction and review of basic wave phenomena
• Geometrical optics
• Fourier analysis
• Electromagnetic waves
• Polarization and anisotropic media
• Diffraction
• Interferometry
• Introduction to lasers and laser beams
• Coherence
• Imaging and (super)-resolution

Course Objectives

Optics is a vast field, and it will be impossible for you to master it all in a one-semester course. Some of the primary objectives of this course are as follows:
• Given an optical instrument, experiment, or phenomenon, you should be able to identify the optical principles that are relevant to its understanding, and articulate them in mathematical language.
• Given an application, you should be able to design an optical system to address it.
• You should be able to describe how light interacts with matter, and discuss the consequences of this interaction.
• You should be able to discuss the consequences of optical polarization and coherence, and predict how these properties of light affect the behavior of simple optical systems. You should be able to predict interference and diffraction patterns.
• You should possess working knowledge of Fourier analysis and its associated mathematical machinery; that is, you should be able to calculate Fourier integrals, convolutions, and correlation functions, and know how to use these tools for predicting optical phenomena.
• You should be able to use mathematics, including analytical, approximate, and numerical methods, to reason about optical phenomena. Also, your physical understanding of optics should help you reason about mathematics.


  • Assignments 20%
  • Midterms (2x15%) (oral (X2) dates TBD) 30%
  • Final Exam (oral, date TBA) 30%
  • Final Written Project 20%



A. Lipson, S. G. Lipson, and H. Lipson
Optical Physics 4th edition
An electronic version is also available electronically through the library. As access is limited to eight simultaneous users,
please log out when you are finished.

*Students can purchase textbooks from online retailers if e-book not available at SFU Bookstore.

Other resources:
At a similar level:
E. Hecht, Optics
F. L. Pedrotti, L. M. Pedrotti, L. .S Pedrotti, Introduction to Optics.
(Very) advanced:
M. Born and E. Wolf: Principles of Optics.


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

Graduate Studies Notes:

Important dates and deadlines for graduate students are found here: http://www.sfu.ca/dean-gradstudies/current/important_dates/guidelines.html. The deadline to drop a course with a 100% refund is the end of week 2. The deadline to drop with no notation on your transcript is the end of week 3.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating. Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the university community. Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the university. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the university. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html