LIGHT LAB - 2020/1

Module code: PHY2072

Module Overview

The module uses a mixture of hands-on laboratory, computational and taught components to introduce important concepts in optics and photonics.

Module provider


Module Leader

FLORESCU Marian (Physics)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 5

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 95

Lecture Hours: 11

Laboratory Hours: 44

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

PHY1036 Oscillations and Waves

Module content

Indicative content includes:

  • Brief review of foundations 

  • Light interfence – Huygen’s principle, laser speckle

  • Geometric Optics – reflection and refraction at spherical surface, image formation. thin film interference, Michelson Interferometers, gravity waves

  • Diffraction and Fourier optics, DFT, Fourier transform convolution theory, image analysis and processing

  • Polarization, Malus’ Law, applications, circular polarization, half and quarter waveplates, Jones vector and matrices

  • Ray optics with matrices, ABCD formalism

  • Coherence and interferometers- laser interferometry and applications

  • Guided waves and optical cavities

  • Optical Instruments – imaging with lenses,camera, the eye, compund microscope, telescopes (reflective and refractive), optical abberations, computer aided optical design (Zemax OpticsStudio)

  • Gaussian beam optics

  • Electro-optics

  • Detection of light

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting

Alternative Assessment

Summer resit for written exam. Reduce laboratory coursework and 4 hour design challenge session during 2 week resit period. Reduced computation coursework resubmission during 2 week resit period.

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate

  • Recall of subject knowledge

  • Application of subject knowledge to unseen problems

  • Practical laboratory and problem-solving skills

  • Computational laboratory skills

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

  • Final examination is of 1 hour duration, with one question from two to be attempted.

  • Laboratory coursework will consist of four individual problem based assignments submitted through SurreyLearn and a design challenge based on optical designs and an assessed laboratory test.

  • The computational coursework consists of five individual problem based assignments.

The design challenge due to its nature (interview/interactive examination) will not be anonymously marked.

Formative assessment and feedback

A significant portion of the time spent in this class is in a experimental and computational laboratory setting, during which ongoing verbal feedback will be given.  Written and verbal feedback will be provided on both computational and laboratory coursework assignments.

Module aims

  • Show how principles of electromagnetic wave propagation find application in practical optical & photonic devices.
  • Show how light can be manipulated, guided, and stored.
  • Teach the physical principles underlying important optical instruments and to highlight modern developments.
  • Give an experience of the design of optical systems using computational techniques based on matrix methods

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
1 Demonstrate an understanding of the wave phenomena of diffraction, interference and polarization applied to optics KC
2 Analyse the effects of interference and diffraction in optical instruments such as telescopes, interferometers and spectrometers C
3 Apply knowledge of optics to the design and use of optical instruments KCT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:

  • Equip students with subject knowledge

  • Enable students to apply subject knowledge to physical situations

  • Develop practical skills

  • Develop computational skills

The learning and teaching methods include:

  • 11 hours of lectures

  • 20 hours of experimental laboratory

  • 24 hours of computational laboratory

The lectures will introduce essential principles that will be applied and embedded in laboratory and computational sessions.


Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: PHY2072

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2020/1 academic year.