This calendar provides the course’s lecture topics, assignments, and information on the in-class demonstrations. Labs given out during the week were generally due one week later.

Lec # Topics KEY DATES

Course Overview

Description of Content, Expectations and Requirements, Grading Policy, Exams, etc


Review of Properties of E&M Waves, Amplitude, Intensity, Phase, Polarization and Coherence


Wave Equation, Plane and Spherical Wave Solutions, Linear, Circular and Elliptical Polarization, Quarter and Halfwave Plates

In-class Demo: Polarizers, Magic Sheet

Problem set 1 out
3 Reflection, Refraction, Snell’s Law, Critical Angle, Brewster’s Angle, Reflection and Transmission Coefficients  

Geometric Optics, Ray-matrix Methods, Microscopes, Telescopes, Lens Waveguide

In-class Demo: Newtonian and Cassegrain Telescopes

Problem set 1 due

Problem set 2 out


Begin Lab 1

Safety, Polarization States, Dielectric Reflection, Geometric Optics



Temporal and Spatial Coherence, Two-beam Interferometers (Michelson and Mach-Zehnder)


Multiple-beam Interference, Finesse, Dielectric Mirrors, Fabry-Perot and Lummer-Gehrcke Interferometers, Antireflection Coatings, Dielectric Mirrors, Interference Filters

In-class Demo: Soap Films, Dielectric Mirrors, Interference Filters

Problem set 2 due

Problem set 3 out


Begin Lab 2

Haidinger Interference Fringes (Thin Glass Sides), Two-beam and Multiple-beam Interferometers



Scalar Diffraction Theory, Free-space Propagation, Spatial Frequency, Fresnel Diffraction Formula


Fraunhofer Approximation, Examples, Diffraction-based Light Modulators

In-class Demo: MEMS Deformable Mirror System

Problem set 3 due

Problem set 4 out

  Begin Lab 3
Fresnel and Fraunhofer Diffraction from Various Apertures and Objects


Transmission Holography, Image Separation Conditions, Real and Virtual Images, Phase-conjugate Waves


Reflection Holography, Recording Media, Effects of Recording Medium Resolution, Computer-generated Holograms, Real-time Holography

In-class Demo: Transmission, White Light and CGHs

Problem set 4 due

Problem set 5 out


Begin Lab 4

Viewing, Analyzing and Fabricating Transmission and Reflection Holograms


Light Modulators
Electro-optic Light Modulation, Birefringence, Index Ellipsoid, Pockels and Kerr Effect, Electro-optic Tensor, Longitudinal and Transverse Electro-optic Modulators

In-class Demo: Calcite Crystal, Stressed Plexiglass

12 Longitudinal and Transverse Electro-optic Modulators

Problem set 5 due

Problem set 6 out

  Quiz 1 (Open Book)  

Raman-Nath and Bragg Acousto-optic Light Modulation, Acousto-optic Signal Processors

In-class Demo: Bragg Cell


Photorefractive Effect, Liquid Crystal Light Modulation, Digital and Membrane-mirror Modulators and Displays

In-class Demo: LCD cell

Problem set 6 due

Problem set 7 out


Begin Lab 5

Electro-optic and Acousto-optic Light Modulation Cells, Photorefraction in a BaTiO3 Crystal



Laser Principles, Spontaneous and Stimulated Emission, Rate Equations, Oscillation Frequencies

In-class Demo: He laser, Visible Diode Lasers


Scanning F-P Spectrometer, Output Power, Optical Amplifiers, Resonators, Specific Lasers

In-class Demo: Scanning F-P

Problem set 7 due

Begin Lab 6

He-Ne, CO2, Yag:Nd, and Diode Lasers, Longitudinal Modes with Scanning F-P Spectrometer


Optical Waveguides

Step-index Parallel-plate Optical Waveguide, Modes (Ray-optics Method), Modes

In-class Demo: Fiber Samples

Problem set 8 out
18 Types of Dispersion, Bit Rate, Optical Fibers Problem set 8 due
  Begin Lab 7  

Optical Processors

Fourier Optics, Fourier Transforming Property of Lenses, Classical Two-lens Processor

Problem set 9 out
  Begin Projects  
  Quiz 2 (Open Book)  

Vander Lugt Filter, Matched Filters, JTC, Polychromatic Processors

In-class Demo: CTLP

Problem set 9 due


Thermal and Quantum Detectors and their Characteristics, Responsivity, NEP, D*


Noise Types, Specific Detectors (Bolometer, PMT, Photodiode, Avalanche PD, etc)

In-class Demo: Photodiode, PMT


Nonlinear Optics

Nonlinear Index, SHG, Parametric Conversion, Phase Matching, Examples

In-class Demo: SHG with Nd-YAG Laser and ADP Crystal

24 Laboratory Project Presentations  

Course Info

Learning Resource Types

group_work Projects