Undergraduate Course: Lasers and Applications (PHYS11044)
|School||School of Physics and Astronomy
||College||College of Science and Engineering
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 11 (Year 4 Undergraduate)
||Availability||Available to all students
|Summary||Lasers are now commonplace throughout many aspects of everyday life, e.g. in bar code readers, eye surgery, optical communication, 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. Atomic, ionic and molecular gas lasers are discussed and the optical properties of laser cavities are introduced. Examples of laser applications are presented including optical communication and holography.
The topics covered in this course are:
1). Introduction to lasers and why they are useful; comparison to black body radiator; scope of the course.
2). Einstein treatment of the interaction of radiation and matter; intro to conditions for optical gain.
3). Spectral line-shapes and finite lifetime; simple cavity model; condition for amplification.
4). Intensity transmitted by a Fabry-Perot cavity; the meaning of finesse; laser modes and gain; cavities inside cavities.
5). Four level laser; population inversion; gain saturation; examples of key lasers.
6). Q-switching in theory and practice; the acousto-optic effect.
7). Laser modes; properties of a single mode; longitudinal and transverse coherence; beats.
8). Multi-mode lasers; derivation of mode locking effect; active and passive mode locking; Kerr lens.
9). Geometric optics revision; lenses, mirrors and optical instruments.
10). Standing waves in closed and open cavities; two concave surfaces and diffraction; Gaussian beams; pictorial derivation stability conditions; effect of cavity parameters on modes.
11). Optical communication; modes and dispersion; wavelength bands.
12). Introduction to holography; formation of an image; practicalities.
Information for Visiting Students
|High Demand Course?
Course Delivery Information
|Academic year 2020/21, Available to all students (SV1)
|Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info)
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
|Assessment (Further Info)
|Additional Information (Assessment)
||Degree Examination, 50%
Oral Examination, 20%
Short review of laser applications or gain medium, 30%
||Hours & Minutes
|Main Exam Diet S1 (December)||2:00|
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Absorption and spontaneous and stimulated emission in two level system, the effects of homogeneous and inhomogeneous line broadening.
- 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.
- The four-level laser system, the simple homogeneous laser and examples of the most common types of laser.
- Spectral properties of a single longitudinal mode, mode locked laser operation, schemes for active and passive mode locking in real laser system.
- Basics of Gaussian beam in laser cavity and optical properties of laser output, design of stable laser cavities using Gaussian beam optics.
|S Hooker & C Webb, Laser Physics, OUP, 2010.|
Murray Library (QC688 Hoo)
G Brooker, Modern Classical Optics, OUP, 2003.
Murray Library (QC395.2 Bro)
|Graduate Attributes and 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 discussion in Workshop sessions.
|Course organiser||Dr Paul Clegg
Tel: (0131 6)50 5295
|Course secretary||Dr Rebecca Hasler