Undergraduate Course: Lasers and Applications (PHYS11044)
Course Outline
School  School of Physics and Astronomy 
College  College of Science and Engineering 
Course type  Standard 
Availability  Available to all students 
Credit level (Normal year taken)  SCQF Level 11 (Year 4 Undergraduate) 
Credits  10 
Home subject area  Undergraduate (School of Physics and Astronomy) 
Other subject area  None 
Course website 
http://www2.ph.ed.ac.uk/~wjh/teaching/lasers/ 
Taught in Gaelic?  No 
Course description  Lasers are now commonplace throughout many aspects of everyday life, e.g. in CD players, telecoms, industrial processing, spectroscopy and many bioscience applications. The course starts with a review of the basic physics of optical cavities and the spontaneous/stimulated emission from materials leading to laser amplifiers and oscillators. Examples of atomic, ionic and molecular gas lasers are presented including systems for continuous wave and pulsed beam operation. The optical properties of laser cavities, and the optics of Gaussian beam are discussed. The final component of this course is a short review article on laser applications. 
Information for Visiting Students
Prerequisites  None 
Displayed in Visiting Students Prospectus?  Yes 
Course Delivery Information

Delivery period: 2013/14 Semester 2, Available to all students (SV1)

Learn enabled: Yes 
Quota: None 

Web Timetable 
Web Timetable 
Course Start Date 
13/01/2014 
Breakdown of Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) 
Total Hours:
100
(
Lecture Hours 18,
Supervised Practical/Workshop/Studio Hours 9,
Summative Assessment Hours 8,
Revision Session Hours 4,
Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2,
Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours
59 )

Additional Notes 

Breakdown of Assessment Methods (Further Info) 
Written Exam
85 %,
Coursework
15 %,
Practical Exam
0 %

Exam Information 
Exam Diet 
Paper Name 
Hours & Minutes 

Main Exam Diet S2 (April/May)   2:00  
Summary of Intended Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course a student should be able to demonstrate understanding of and be able to solve problems on:
1) absorption and spontaneous and stimulated emission in two level system, the effects of homogeneous and inhomogeneous line broadening, and the conditions for laser amplification,
2) operations of the FabryPerot cavity including mode separation and linewidths, laser gain conditions, gain clamping in both homogeneous and inhomogeneous line broadened media,
3) the fourlevel laser system, the simple homogeneous laser and its output behaviour and optimal operating conditions,
4) spectral properties of a single longitudinal mode, mode locked laser operation, schemes for active and passive mode locking in real laser system,
5) operations and basic properties of the most common laser types, HeNe, Argonion, and carbondioxide, ruby, titanium sapphire, neodymium YAG and glass, knowledge of other main laser types,
6) matrix optics of the laser cavity and stability conditions,
7) basics of Gaussian beam in laser cavity and optical properties of laser output, design of stable laser cavities using Gaussian beam optics, the ABCD law for Gaussian beams.
In addition each student will undertake a review article on a particular laser application and present their findings in a short oral presentation.

Assessment Information
Degree Examination, 85%
Short review on laser applications: 15% 
Special Arrangements
None 
Additional Information
Academic description 
Not entered 
Syllabus 
The topics covered in this course are:
1) Introduction: how light is generated, outline and need for the laser, scope of course.
2) Interaction of EM Radiation with Matter: twolevel system, spectral lineshapes, finite lifetime, Doppler effects, absorption and decay processes, spontaneous and stimulated emission.
3) Amplification Criteria: amplification conditions, Lorentzian lineshapes, Gaussian lineshapes, simple cavity model.
4) FabryPerot cavity: optics of FabryPerot cavity, laser use of FabryPerot, laser gain conditions, laser modes, homogeneous broadening, inhomogeneous broadening, control of modes, examples of lasers.
5) Four level laser: four level rate equations, four level gain profile, simple homogeneous laser, output behaviour and power, optimal output conditions, inhomogeneous laser.
6) Laser Modes and Mode Locking: properties of a single mode, multimode laser, twomode system, mode locking in multimode laser, mode locking of real laser, active mode locking, passive mode locking, the Kerr lens.
7) Gas Lasers: operation and characteristics of the HeNe laser, argon and krypton ion lasers and the carbondioxide lasers. Summary of other gas lasers.
8) Solid State Lasers: laser media, the ruby laser and Qswitching, titanium sapphire laser, neodymium YAG and glass lasers, visible solid state lasers, other rare earth lasers, summary of other laser types.
9) Cavity Stability: matrix optics ray methods, matrix model of optical cavity, laser stability conditions, practical laser cavities.
10) Gaussian Beams: scalar potentials, plane wave solution in optical cavity, Gaussian solution, divergence angle and beam parameters, beam waist and Rayleigh region, Gaussian beams in cavities, higher order modes, transformation of Gaussian beams, ABCD law, basic optics of Gaussian beams.
11) Applications Review: individual review contributing to 15% of the course marks with each person reviewing a different application. These applications are then presented to the class as short talks with peer feedback. 
Transferable skills 
The following transferable skills are developed:
a) Independent review of applications from the current literature.
b) Preparation of a review article aimed at a nonspecialist scientific audience.
c) Oral presentation of a current application to peer. 
Reading list 
The following textbooks are useful background for this course:
A Yariv, Optical Electronics, 4th Edition, 1989.
Good text book but covered material in a rather odd order. Fairly advanced and contains more than is needed for this course. Be prepared to skip sections.
JCMB Library (TA1675 Yar) or secondhand only.
O Svelto, Principles of Lasers, 4th and 5th Edition.
Very good for examples of LASER systems, applications and interesting insights. Theory sections often skips many steps making them difficult to follow.
JCMB Library (QC688 Sve), 4th edition, 5th edition published Feb 2010 (but expensive).
CA Bennett, Principles of Physical Optics, 2008. Good book on physical optics with good chapter (chapter 7) on LASER in similar notation and level as needed for this course.
JCMB Library (QC355.3 Ben)
A Yariv, Quantum Electronics, 3rd Edition, 1984.
Full quantum approach to LASERs. Very heavy going much less physical insight than Optical Electronics by the same author, and well beyond what is required for this course.
Photonics, Optoelectronics and Optics textbooks. Most photonics,
optoelectronics and optics books that have sections on LASERs. Usually the atomic theory is very thin with main emphases on applications. 
Study Abroad 
Not entered 
Study Pattern 
Not entered 
Keywords  Laser 
Contacts
Course organiser  Dr Paul Clegg
Tel: (0131 6)50 5295
Email: pclegg@ph.ed.ac.uk 
Course secretary  Ms Dawn Hutcheon
Tel: (0131 6)50 7218
Email: Dawn.Hutcheon@ed.ac.uk 

