A list of topics covered in the course is available in the calendar.

Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 1.5 hours / session


6.003, 6.013 or 8.07.


The course will have 10 Problem Sets, 2 Quizzes, and Final Exam.

Grading Policy

The grade will be decided based on the results of two quizzes and final exam. The homework will or will not count towards the final grade, depending on the option you choose at the beginning of classes. The table below gives the emphasis that will be given to homework, quizzes, and the final exam in determining the final grade. Note that once you have chosen one of these two options, you will not be allowed to change your mind afterward.

activities percentages
  “Homework” Option “No Homework” Option
Homework 20% 0%
Quizzes 40% 50%
Final Exam 40% 50%

Homework Policies

The class will have 10 problem sets which will be distributed during the lecture. Normally the solutions are due in the following week. If for some reason you cannot hand in the solution on time, please contact the teaching assistant before the solution is due. Solutions to the problems will usually be distributed at the next recitation.

As explained above, you will have a “no homework” option, in which case you will not have to solve problem sets. Note however that not doing homework is a bad idea because the homework is necessary to understand the material properly and also prepares you for the quizzes and the final.

Collaboration on problem sets is encouraged. However, you must write your own solutions to the problems rather then copying solutions from somebody else. Please cite all people with whom you have collaborated.

The problem set on which you get the lowest grade will not be counted towards the final grade. Only the top 9 graded problem sets out of the 10 problem sets you have to submit will count towards your final grade.

The grades for homework will depend not only on the correctness of the final result, but also on the ideas used in solution. If the idea is correct but there was some mathematical error during solution you still have a good chance of getting a good grade. It is a good idea to check the final result for physical consistency; if your answer is obviously wrong your grade will be low even if the initial ideas were correct.

The solution must have adequate explanations which demonstrate your approach towards the solution. This does not mean that you need to explain each equation you are writing. Doing so will provide us valuable feedback on your understanding of the concepts. Solutions without adequate explanations will be graded lower.

If you solve problems numerically, please always submit the code together with the results.

Quizzes and Final Exam

The class will have two quizzes and the final exam. The quizzes will be 1.5 hours long, the final exam will be 3 hours long. The problems in the quizzes and final exam are of the similar type than your homework.

Quizzes and final exam will be closed book, i.e. no books, class notes, or other materials are allowed. However, you may take one double-sided page of notes to the first quiz, two pages to the second, and three to the final exam. Using calculators is allowed. Cooperation of any kind is not permitted.


1 Introduction  
2 Maxwell’s Equations of Isotropic Media (Review) Problem set 1 out
3 Electromagnetic Waves and Interfaces I (Review)  
4 Electromagnetic Waves and Interfaces II Problem set 1 due

Problem set 2 out

5 Mirrors, Interferometers and Thin-Film Structures Problem set 2 due

Problem set 3 out

6 Gaussian Beams and Paraxial Wave Equation  
7 Ray Optics and Optical Systems Problem set 3 due
8 Optical Resonators  
9 Integrated Optics: Waveguides Quiz 1 week

Problem set 4 out

10 Integrated Optics: Coupled Mode Theory  
11 Optical Fibers Problem set 4 due

Problem set 5 out

12 Anisotropic Media: Crystal Optics and Polarization  
13 Quantum Nature of Light and Matter Problem set 5 due

Problem set 6 out

14 Schrödinger Equation and Stationary States  
15 Harmonic Oscillator and Hydrogen Atom Problem set 6 due

Problem set 7 out

16 Wave Mechanics  
17 Dirac Formalism and Matrix Mechanics Problem set 7 due
18 Harmonic Oscillator Revisited Quiz 2 week

Problem set 8 out

19 Coherent States  
20 Interaction of Light and Mater the Two-Level Atom: Rabi-Oscillations Problem set 8 due

Problem set 9 out

21 Density Matrix, Energy and Phase Relaxation  
22 Rate Equations, Dispersion, Absorption and Gain Problem set 9 due

Problem set 10 out

23 Optical Amplifiers and Lasers  
24 Homogenous and Inhomogenous Broadening and Related Effects Problem set 10 due
25 Q-Switching and Mode Locking  
26 Electro- and Acousto-Optic Modulation