Faculty of Science

Undergraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2013 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

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FacultyFaculty of Science
Organisational UnitSchool of Physics
OfferedClayton First semester 2013 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Dr Alexis Bishop


This unit provides part of a major in experimental physics. It consists of laboratory work and three 8-lecture sub-units:

  1. Photonics: lasers and coherent light, modulation devices, optical waveguides, interference and holography, fibre optic communications, transmission and coupling to hardware and software devices, applications;
  2. Synchrotron physics: radiation from moving charges and charge distributions, generating a synchrotron beam and enhancing its emission characteristics, experimental areas and beams, detectors and analyser, image formation, and
  3. Optics: wave propagation and image formation, plane waves, diffraction, angular spectrum, phase contrast, interferometry, holography, focussed fields and the singularity hierarchy.


On completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. Recall fundamental concepts from the sub-unit of Synchrotron Physics, which include relativistic Doppler Effect, emission and observation of synchrotron radiation, accelerator types and radiation spectral characteristics, insertion devices, optical properties of undulator and wiggler radiation, outline of a synchrotron radiation facility, time structure of the electron beam, main component of a beamline, X-ray interaction with matter, X-ray optics and detectors, applications of Synchrotron radiation including spectroscopy, scattering and crystallography, imaging, and introduction to X-ray free electron lasers;

  1. Recall fundamental concepts from the sub-unit of Modern Optics, which include vacuum wave equations for electromagnetic field, D'Alembert wave equation, Helmholtz equation, transition to scalar theory, interpretation of wave function, intensity, phase, surfaces of constant phase, wavefronts, plane waves in 1, 2 and 3 dimensions, rlements of Fourier analysis, Fourier integrals, Fourier harmonics, Fourier transforms, Fourier theorems, convolution, angular spectrum formulation of wave diffraction, Fresnel and Fraunhofer diffraction, interferometry, differential interference contrast, Fourier holography, focused fields, and the singularity hierarchy;

  1. Recall fundamental concepts from the sub-unit of Photonics, which include optical communication, integrated photonics, plane wave approximation, reflection from a boundary, total internal reflections, waveguide modes, non-linear optics, resonant absorption, harmonic generation, non-linear refractive index, semiconductor physics, energy bands, P-N junction, LED, semiconductor laser, quantum well laser, light detectors, optical amplification, optical switching, electro-optic effect, and photonics applications;

  1. Solve new problems in physics related to the core concepts of the unit by drawing on the theoretical underpinnings that illustrate the physics;

  1. Perform measurements and analysis on experiments that demonstrate the theoretical physics described in this and other Physics units;

  1. Produce experimental reports that present results, analyse and discuss the implications and outcomes of experimental work.


Examinations (3 x 1 hour): 48%
Laboratory work: 34%
Assignments: 18%
Students must achieve a pass mark in the practical component to achieve an overall pass grade.

Chief examiner(s)

Contact hours

An average of 2 hours lectures, one x 1.5 hour tutorial/workshop and 2.5 hours of laboratory work per week