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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Physics and Astronomy : Undergraduate (School of Physics and Astronomy)

Undergraduate Course: Lasers and Applications (PHYS11044)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Physics and Astronomy CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Course typeStandard AvailabilityAvailable to all students
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Year 4 Undergraduate) Credits10
Home subject areaUndergraduate (School of Physics and Astronomy) Other subject areaNone
Course website Taught in Gaelic?No
Course descriptionLasers 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.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: Quantum Mechanics (PHYS09053) AND Thermal Physics (PHYS09061) AND Fourier Analysis and Statistics (PHYS09055)
Co-requisites It is RECOMMENDED that students also take Atomic and Molecular Physics (PHYS10026)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements At least 80 points accrued in courses of SCQF level 9 or 10 drawn from Schedule Q.
Additional Costs None
Information for Visiting Students
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 Fabry-Perot cavity including mode separation and line-widths, laser gain conditions, gain clamping in both homogeneous and inhomogeneous line broadened media,
3) the four-level 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, He-Ne, Argon-ion, and carbon-dioxide, 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
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: two-level system, spectral line-shapes, finite lifetime, Doppler effects, absorption and decay processes, spontaneous and stimulated emission.

3) Amplification Criteria: amplification conditions, Lorentzian line-shapes, Gaussian line-shapes, simple cavity model.

4) Fabry-Perot cavity: optics of Fabry-Perot cavity, laser use of Fabry-Perot, 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, multi-mode laser, two-mode system, mode locking in multi-mode laser, mode locking of real laser, active mode locking, passive mode locking, the Kerr lens.

7) Gas Lasers: operation and characteristics of the He-Ne laser, argon and krypton ion lasers and the carbon-dioxide lasers. Summary of other gas lasers.

8) Solid State Lasers: laser media, the ruby laser and Q-switching, 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 non-specialist 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, Opto-electronics and Optics textbooks. Most photonics,
opto-electronics 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
Course organiserDr Paul Clegg
Tel: (0131 6)50 5295
Course secretaryMs Dawn Hutcheon
Tel: (0131 6)50 7218
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