Optics and Photonics II module (PH52011)

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In this module, you will move beyond the core material covered in PH41005 Optics and Photonics I. You will develop an understanding of state-of-the-art optical and photonics systems, including lasers, nonlinear optics, and optical imaging. 

You will be able to explain what is meant by ‘nonlinear optics’ and how strong field-crystal interactions lead to such effects. You will learn to simulate the image formation process in an optical imaging system, including noise and optical aberrations. You will be able to identify and understand the principal components of an optical microscope and its different contrast methods. This includes phase contrast, dark field, fluorescence, and super-resolution techniques. You will also learn to describe the operation of basic and advanced laser systems.  

Topics include: 

  • Lasers: pulse laser operation, ultrafast systems, semiconductor lasers, diode-pumped solid-state and gas lasers.  

  • Nonlinear optics: basics of nonlinear interactions and processes, including phase matching. Second-order effects such as harmonic generation and sum or difference frequency generation. Third-order effects, including the Kerr effect and generally how nonlinear optics is used in areas such as microscopy.  

  • Optical image formation theory: including coherent/incoherent imaging, diffraction, point-spread functions, optical-transfer functions, and resolution.  

  • Optical microscopy: image modalities and working principles of various absorption, phase, and polarisation contrast techniques; Köhler illumination and light sources; microscope objectives and immersion media; optical modulators, single cell detectors, cameras, and the associated noise; optical aberrations, Zernike polynomials, and adaptive optics.  

  • Fluorescence microscopy: principles of fluorescence, total-internal-reflection fluorescence (TIRF), light-sheet microscopy, digital image restoration, and the various super-resolution techniques.