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Fundamentals of Physics IV

General data

Course ID: 1100-2Ind03 Erasmus code / ISCED: 13.202 / (0533) Physics
Course title: Fundamentals of Physics IV Name in Polish: Podstawy fizyki IV
Department: Faculty of Physics
Course groups:
ECTS credit allocation (and other scores): (not available)
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Language: Polish
Short description:

This is the last in the series of 4 courses on Foundations of Physics for the students of the individual programme at the Physics Department of Warsaw University. Most of the course is devoted to optics, at the end we discuss some selected topics on quantum physics.

Full description:

This is a fundamental course belonging to the category "introduction to physics". The main goal of this course is to introduce major notions of geometrical and wave optics as well as electromagnetic phenomena related to the electromagnetic radiation. We also introduce some components of quantum physics: quantization of EM fields, the structure of atom, amplification of light, lasers.


1. Waves: wave equation, wave fronts, phase and group velocities, plane, spherical and cylindrical waves

2. Electromagnetic (EM) waves; Maxwell equations, speed of light, energy density and flow, momentum of RM wave, Doppler effect, sources of EM waves, oscillating dipole, light propagation in dielectrics, Lorentz model for index of refraction, EM waves in conducting media, spectrum of EM waves, colours.

3. Reflection and refraction of light: mirror, boundary between two dielectrics, Fermat's principle, Fresnel formulae, Brewster's angle, total internal reflection, waveguides.

4. Geometrical optics; eikonal, light propagation in inhomogeneous medium, ovals of Descartes, spherical boundary between dielectrics, paraxial approximation, thin lens, Gaussian systems, ABCD matrix description of Gaussian systems, cardinal points, apertures, aberrations of lens systems, examples of lens systems.

5. Superposition of EM waves; interferometers, dielectric stacks, diffraction grating, prism, interference in time domain - pulses, Gaussian beam.

6. Diffraction: Huyghens construct, Fresnel-Kirchoff and Sommerfeld integrals, Fraunhofer and Fresnel approximations, Fourier optics, diffraction limited resolving power of imaging systems.

7. Birefringence; ordinary and extraordinary waves, crystal polarizers, waveplates.

8. Polarization of EM waves, Jones calculus, Stokes vector, Poincare sphere, partially polarized light.

9. Light modulation; elasto-optical and electro-optical effects, Kerr and Faraday effects.

10. Light scattering; Rayleigh, Mie, Raman, luminescence, fluorescence and phosphorescence.

11. Nonlinear optics; nonlinear polarization, phase matching.

12. Introduction to quantum physics; quantization of EM waves, photoelectrical effect, properties of photon, Poisson distribution, single photon interference, coherent state, 2-photon interference, quantum cryptography, cathode and anode rays, matter waves, Schrödinger equation, Rutherford and Franck-Hertz experiments, hydrogen atom, radiation processes in atoms, Einstein coefficients, light amplification, saturated amplifier, some applications of lasers.

Description by Czesław Radzewicz, June 2009


1. U. Hecht, Optics, Pearson Education, Inc, 2002

2. The Feynman Lectures on Physics, R. Feynman, Pearson Education, Inc., 2005.

3. C. A. Bennet, Priciples of Physical Optics, John Wiley & sons, Inc, 2008

4. W. Haken and H. C. Wolf The Physics of Atoms and Quanta, Springer-Verlag, 1994.

This course is not currently offered.
Course descriptions are protected by copyright.
Copyright by University of Warsaw.