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UBC Physics 408: Optics (2010/11 Term 2)

Instructor: Prof. David J. Jones djjones <at> physics dottie ubc dottie ca
Office: Hennings 328
Chem/Phys A015
Office Hours
: TBA by appointment
Office Phone: 822-2894

Class TA: Ellen Schelew, eschelew <at> physics dottie ubc dottie ca
Marker TA: Charles Foell, Foell <at>physics dottie ubc dottie ca


Lab TA: TJ Hammond, mrtjhammond <at> yahoo dottie ca
Lab TA: Matt Lamm, lamm <at> interchange.ubc dottie ca
Lab Engineering Technician: Domenic Di Tomaso, ditomaso <at> physics dottie ubc dottie ca

Course Home Page:
Instructor's Home Page:


Course Links

Course Overview

This course will provide an introduction to optics with an emphasis on understanding the origins of optical phenomena from the fundamental theoretical underpinning provided by Maxwell's equations. Basic applications of lasers, geometrical optics, fibre optics, diffraction, and Fourier optics will covered.

Broad Overall learning goals

After taking this course, students will be able to:

Required materials/actions:

Recommend text books:

From time-to-time I will be posting additional material to supplement these text books. Please see the respective lectures and tutorials in the Syllabus for links to these materials.

Course Format

This course will be taught in a non-traditional (i.e. non-lecture) manner guided by the following principles based on the Carl Wieman Science Education Initiative here at UBC:

A typical class will involve dicussions (both class-wide and sub-groups) of important concepts and specific example problems in which you (as a student) need to be an active participant. For all of us to get the most out of the class, it is VERY important that you complete the daily reading assignments prior to class.

As a sidenote, most students who are unfamiliar with this learning format initially do not like the change from lecture-based format. However, time and time again students overwhelming prefer it by the end of the course.

Marking Scheme

The lab component of the course must be passed (individually) in order to gain credit for the course, and you must pass the final exam to obtain a passing mark for the course. Your overall course mark will be determined on the basis of your homework assignments, in-class participation, online reading quizzes, the lab component of the course, two midterm exams, and a final exam with the following weighting:


A homework assignment will generally be due every week on Friday by 5:00 PM sharp in my office Henning 328 and a new assignment will be posted here on Friday afternoons. See syllabus below for the exact homework schedule and corresponding homework solutions. Following the deadline, I will accept late homework for 3 more days(72 hours from the due date) with the following penalty: your recorded mark will be your marked score will be divided by 2. For example, you turn your homework 1 day late. The TA marks it as an 80/100 as if the homework was turned in on time. Your recorded mark will be a 40/100. Thus, if your homework is only partially finished, I encourage you to hand in what you have completed for partial credit. Working together on homework is encouraged. Please list on the top of your homework who you collaborated with. However, under no circumstances should you copy or consult in any manner someone else's witten solution to a problem before you have submitted your own homework for credit. Specific examples of what is and isn't acceptable are discussed below "Copied" homeworks will be severely penalized (i.e. all versions of a copied homework assignment will receive a zero). In addition, appropriate action as dictated by UBC policy described in page 48 of the Calendar will be followed which usually will lead to academic suspension.

The Class/Marker TA will fully mark two or three problems (chosen at random) from each homework. Solutions will always be provided for all homework problems. For the unmarked problems, it is up to you check to see if you have grasped the concept, etc. (see last bullet point of Class Format above)

In-Class Activities/Participation.

You will be marked for your participation in classwide and group discussions/solutions of problems and concepts. Normally at the end of class you will turn in your work (on paper) and it will be marked on a 0 (no paper/absence) 1 (minor effort) and 2 (good effort) scale and returned the next lecture. Note that this mark as a whole will be scaled so 90% gets full credit. So if you forget to set your alarm or are sick and miss class a couple of days, there is no penalty.

Reading Preparation

As discussed above, this course will be run in a format that is NOT in a traditional lecture based format. The success of this approach critically depends on you as students to complete the assigned reading prior to each class. Otherwise, the in-class discussion, activities, and problem solving sessions will not be productive nor efficient.

In order to make sure you receive specific credit for your preparation efforts, there will online VISTA-based reading quizzes that will be due prior to each class.


The marking scheme for the lab can be found here.

Midterm Exams and Final Exam

Two 1.5 hour mid-term exams will be given in class and a full length final exam will be scheduled during final exam week. A list of useful formulae will be provided at the exams. Contents of this list will be disclosed prior to the exams. No extra materials will be allowed. Calculators will be allowed. Cell phones or any other electronics (apart from simple watches and calculators) are not needed and will not be permitted. If you bring any unapproved electronics to your exam, you will automatically receive a score of zero. Makeup exams will only be granted under extremely extenuating circumstance for appropriate emergencies such as sudden illness, recent accident, death in the family, etc. Formal and appropriate written documentation of such an emergency is required and such matters will be referred to the Dean's office as per the Official Policies of UBC. Potential makeup exams will be given at the discretion of the professor. It is to your advantage to know that I have never granted a makeup exam.

Academic Misconduct

All matters of academic misconduct will be treated according to the UBC policy described in page 48 of the Calendar.

While it is obvious what constitutes academic misconduct during exams, in the past there has been some confusion regarding misconduct when working together on homework. In the interest of being crystal clear on this topic below I have provided some specific examples detailing what is and what isn't acceptable behavior. This list is meant only as a guide and it is by no means exhaustive. Moreover, the final determination of what is and isn't academic misconduct shall always follow official UBC policy.

Examples of academic misconduct in the context of homework

Examples of NO academic misconduct in the context of homework


cont dfs
Meeting Date Reading due on this day
and links to Homework
What was covered Supplementary Links
Jan. 4
Intro to course
Optional reading from from prerequite material Griffiths: Chapter 7 §3.3-3.6
Chapter 11 and 13
Jan. 6


5 §1 pp 150-155
don't worry about momentum
5 §2A pp 156-8
5 §2B pp 159-162
just skim to appreciate our appoximations
5 §3 pp 162-3
2 §2 pp 41-3
upto Helmholtz eqn
Remember reading prep online quiz on VISTA It must be completed by 8:00 AM
Homework #1
Jan. 11

Lecture notes from another term
to help you visualize a plane wave look at these applets:
Plane Wave Applet
Another one
2 §1 pp 40-1
2 §2 pp 43-5
only plane waves
5 §4A pp 164-5
Jan. 13
Homework #1 due Jan 14 at 5 pm
Homework #2
2 §2 pp 43-5
2 §2B pp 45-7
Spherical waves and Fresnel Approx
Jan. 18
2 §2B pp 45-7 Re-read and understand when approximation is valid
2 §2C pp 47-9 Do your very best to understand Fig. 2-2.5
Jan. 20
Homework #2 due Jan 21 at 5 pm
No pre-reading, so no pre-reading quiz
Homework #3
Jan. 25
2 §4A pp 50-54 If you are having trouble figuring out Eqn. 2.4-5 thats ok, but make sure you understand everything before it
8 Jan. 27 Steck Chapter 6 §1,2
Saleh-Teich Chapter 3, §1A pages 75-77
Homework #3 due Jan 28 at 5 pm
Summary of E&M solutions and intro to Gaussian Beams Lecture notes from another term
Feb. 1
Saleh-Teich Chapter 3, §1 pages 78-83
Homework #4
Gaussian Beams
Feb. 3
Homework #4 due Feb 4 at 5 pm
Saleh-Teich Chapter 3 §1B pages 84-85, §2 pages 86-89,91-92 Do not worry about eqns 3.2-5 to 3.2-9
Saleh-Teich Chapter 3 page 76,83 again
Steck Chapter 6 §5 to eqn (6.45)
Feb. 8
Midterm #1 in Class
Feb. 10
no reading, no pre-reading quiz
Homework #5 (worth 200 marks)
no class
Feb. 15
no class
Feb. 17
Feb. 22
Steck the rest of Chapter 6 §5 and Chapter 2 §4-6 and this
Feb. 24
Saleh-Teich Chapter 2, §2.5A page 58-62 and Steck Chapter 5 §1,2,4-7
Homework #5 due Feb 25 at 5 pm
Mar. 1
Required reading: Steck Chapter 3 §2-4 and Chapter 12 §1-2.2
Homework #6
Learning Goals for Fourier Optics
If you need a review of Fourier Series read Steck Chapter 3 §1

For more review of Fourier Transforms look in Griffiths quantum book §2.4 on free particle
or here
Fourier Optics
Mar. 3
Steck 12 §2.2 to 2.3 (read again), and Saleh-Teich Chapter 4 §1A pages 105-108
Homework #6 due Mar. 4 at 5pm
Mar. 8
Steck 12 §2.4 to 2.5 and Saleh-Teich Chapter 4 §1B pages 111-115
Homework #7
Mar. 10
Steck 11 §1-3 and 12 §4.1 to 4.2,
first few paragraphs of this

Visualization of convolution here understanding the convolution theorm here and here
Homework #7 due Mar. 11 at 5pm

Impulse Response of free space, Huygens Principle,

Convolution animations 1,2

Lectures from another term

Mar. 15
Steck 12 §3.1 to 3.5
Homework #8
Mar. 17
4-f lens system: read and understand this old homework problem and its solution
Skim the following reading (example applications): Steck 12 §5, 5.1

Homework #8 due Mar. 18 at 5pm
Mar. 22
Midterm #2 in Class
Mar. 24
Your choice: Steck 7 §1- 2.3
Saleh-Teich Chapter 10 §1
pages 367-373
Mar. 29
read the section from Mar. 24 you DIDNT read
Homework #9
Mar. 31
Your choice: Steck 8 §1- 5

Saleh-Teich Chapter 6 §1
pages 198-201,203-208 (don't worry about Poincare Sphere and Stokes Parameters, normal modes

Homework #9 due April 1 at 5pm
Apr. 5
For your Pre-reading, read Steck 8.7.1 and the journal article in Homework #10. There is no pre-reading quiz. You don't need to fully understand the article, but in class we will start to go through the article and begin to solve HW #10. I WILL NOT be posting class notes for today, so you need to come to class to get started on HW #10.
Homework #10
Apr. 7
Homework #10 due April 7 at 3:30 pm at beginning of class. No late homework will be accepted as I need to post solutions for you on April 8th

Course Review

Mind Maps 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Good mind Maps from other terms 1 2 3
  Apr. 9 (Saturday) Review session 5 pm location: Hennings 318
Final Exam
April 11
at noon
IBLC 261

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.