Not currently offered

Credit points: 15

Subject outline

On completion of this subject, students will be able to solve problems in classical optics, which provide a basis for further study in physics, engineering or another science. They will be able to use the essential apparatus in a physics laboratory to take and analyse measurements, and understand the vocabulary and concepts of classical optics. The topics covered include geometrical optics, optical systems, diffraction, interference and wave propagation in media. Students will conduct three experimental investigations related to these topics. This subject and the subjects PHY2MOD and PHY2EMM together constitute a mainstream course in physics at the second-year level. Knowledge and competence in the material presented in PHY1SCA, PHY1SCB, MAT1CNS or MAT1NLA and MAT1CLA or MAT1CDE is assumed.

SchoolSchool of Molecular Sciences/LIMS

Credit points15

Subject Co-ordinatorShanshan Kou

Available to Study Abroad StudentsYes

Subject year levelYear Level 2 - UG

Exchange StudentsYes

Subject particulars

Subject rules

Prerequisites PHY1SCA and PHY1SCB and MAT1CNS or MAT1NLA and MAT1CLA or MAT1CDE, or equivalent, or approval from the Department of Physics adviser of studies.


Incompatible subjects PHY2SCA, PHY20SCI, PHY21SCA

Equivalent subjectsN/A

Special conditionsN/A


Resource TypeTitleResource RequirementAuthor and YearPublisher
ReadingsIntroduction to Optics, 3rd EditionPrescribedPedrotti, Frank L., and Pedrotti, Leno SPEARSON, 2006

Graduate capabilities & intended learning outcomes

01. Diagrammatically represent, analyse and / or solve conceptual and mathematical problems related to classical optics.

Students are assessed via two assignments, submitted via the LMS. In these assignments, students generate answers of around 5 handwritten pages in length to conceptual and mathematical questions. Students sit a final end of semester exam comprising short answer questions to problems.

02. Use accurate terminology and appropriate units to describe physical phenomena related to classical optics.

Students are required to use appropriate terminology and units in all assessment elements (namely assignments, laboratory reports and exam).

03. Perform experiments related to classical optics using standard physics laboratory techniques, equipment and software and assess the data to check for inappropriate, irrelevant or spurious results.

Students complete three extended laboratory experiments of nine hours in total for each experiment, and submit a report that indicates their ability to detail and assess experimental data. Students follow written and verbal laboratory instructions to conduct the experiments accurately and safely.

04. Explain and interpret laboratory results in the context of classical optics.

Students submit three laboratory reports detailing their interpretation of the results. The laboratory report mark contains a writing component. Students conduct an oral interview with a laboratory demonstrator at the completion of each experiment where their understanding of the underlying physics concepts, experimental approaches, data and error analysis, and maturity in diagnosing and solving problems are assessed. Students give an oral presentation about one of the first two experiments they have conducted where they explain and interpret their results to a peer group and the lecturer.

05. Collaborate, in pairs, to complete laboratory experiments and prepare and deliver the oral component of laboratory assessment. Ethically distinguish between collaborative and individual work

The relative participation of each student in completing the experiment and in the preparation and execution of the oral component of the laboratory assessment are assessed. It is repeatedly stressed via the subject materials and orally that students in the group are expected to contribute equally to these activities. Students are expected to submit their own work (laboratory reports). If they fail to do so, they are counselled after the first occasion by the demonstrator. For subsequent plagiarism, no marks are awarded and they are interviewed by the subject coordinator.

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