Classes offered by faculty of Nano-Optics and Optoelectronics Research Laboratory

MIC634 Generation and Propagation of Light

Instructor: Dr. Anatoly Khilo
Next time offered:  Fall 2013

Brief description:

The course discusses propagation of optical beams in free space, optical systems, and optical fibers, as well as generation of optical beams in lasers and optical resonators. The topics include: diffraction; Fourier optics; basic optical elements and systems (lenses, microscopes, diffraction gratings); Gaussian beams; Fabry-Perot interferometers; optical resonators; basics of light-matter interaction; principles of lasers; laser types; optical fibers; dispersion and nonlinearities in optical fibers; fiber amplifiers; fiber transmission systems.

Lecture schedule, by week:

Week 1: • Maxwell's equations. Wave equation; Helmholtz equation; plane waves; Polarization. Constitutive equations; Boundary conditions.
• Energy and Poynting vector; energy conservation.
• Review of reflection and transmission at the interface. Evanescent waves.
Week 2: • Diffraction theory; diffraction integral and paraxial approximation; diffraction regions.
• Diffraction through single and multiple slits. Diffraction gratings.
Week 3: • Diffraction in radially symmetric structures. Diffraction through a circular aperture.
• Transfer functions of basic optical elements.
Week 4: • Imaging with a lens. Lens resolution. Lens aberrations.
• Fourier optics: k-spectrum decomposition; Fourier transforms with a lens; spatial filtering.
Week 5: • Fourier optics (cont.). VanderLugt filter.
• Optical telescope and microscope.
• Optical lithography systems.
Week 6: • Gaussian beams. Gaussian beam transformation by optical elements. ABCD matrices.
• Higher-order Laguerre-Gaussian beams. Optical vortices.
Week 7: • Fabry-Perot interferometer; FP interferometer with gain: laser resonator.
• Optical resonators. Resonance condition. Phase conjugation condition.
Week 8: • Gaussian resonators. Stable and unstable resonators; stability diagram.
• Higher-order Hermit-Gaussian and Laguerre-Gaussian modes. Modal discrimination.
• Numerical solution for resonator modes.
Week 9: Midterm Exam
Week 10: • Basics of light-matter interaction; rate equations
Week 11: • Three- and four-level systems
• Optical amplifiers
Week 12: • Lasers; lasing threshold
• Types of lasers; modes of operation
Week 13: • Light propagation in guided media; optical fibers
• Dispersion and its impact on signal propagation
Week 14: • Nonlinear phenomena in optical fibers; Raman effect
• Erbium-doped fiber amplifier; Raman fiber amplifier
Week 15: • Fiber optics transmission systems
• Advanced modulation formats
Week 16: Final Exam


  • 40% Homework
  • 20% Midterm exam
  • 40% Final exam