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Advanced Optics


Admission Requirements



This course treats optics and atom-field interaction at a level appropriate to MSc students. It does so by combining a textbook with lecture notes and scientific papers and by stimulating prior reading and in-class discussions on the following topics:
1. Wave optics, including optical propagation, diffraction, interference, and the role of spatial and spectral coherence therein
2. Optical techniques such as reflectometry, spectroscopy, interferometry, diffractometry, scatterometry, polarimetry, imaging and microscopy
3. Atom-field interaction and nanophotonics, including near-field optics, metal optics and the challenge of tight focusing

Course Objectives

After completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  • Solve many problems in wave optics, nanophotonics, and atom-field interaction

  • Asess the pros and cons of existing and new optical techniques

  • Analyze scientific papers in optics and present the essence thereof to an audience

  • Investigate a particular topic in optics and present the findings in a short essay

Transferable skills

The student will be able to:

  • master a new field of study in advanced optics within a given time period

  • present their findings to their fellow students in a convincing and inspiring way

  • write a structured essay on a particular topic in advanced optics


Physics Schedule

You will find the timetables for all courses and degree programmes of Leiden University in the tool MyTimetable (login). Any teaching activities that you have sucessfully registered for in MyStudyMap will automatically be displayed in MyTimeTable. Any timetables that you add manually, will be saved and automatically displayed the next time you sign in.

MyTimetable allows you to integrate your timetable with your calendar apps such as Outlook, Google Calendar, Apple Calendar and other calendar apps on your smartphone. Any timetable changes will be automatically synced with your calendar. If you wish, you can also receive an email notification of the change. You can turn notifications on in ‘Settings’ (after login).

For more information, watch the video or go the the 'help-page' in MyTimetable. Please note: Joint Degree students Leiden/Delft have to merge their two different timetables into one. This video explains how to do this.

Mode of instruction

Zie Brightspace

Assessment method

The grading of this course will be based on:

  • Oral exam on part 1 and 3 (4/9 of final grade)

  • Student presentation during part 1 or 3 (2/9 of final grade)

  • Essay on part 2, including short presentation (1/3 of final grade)

Reading list

J. Peatross and M. Ware, ‘Physics of Light and Optics’, ISBN 9781611660920. Also available in cheaper black-and-white version and as free download:


From the academic year 2022-2023 on every student has to register for courses with the new enrollment tool MyStudyMap. There are two registration periods per year: registration for the fall semester opens in July and registration for the spring semester opens in December. Please see this page for more information.

Please note that it is compulsory to both preregister and confirm your participation for every exam and retake. Not being registered for a course means that you are not allowed to participate in the final exam of the course. Confirming your exam participation is possible until ten days before the exam.
Extensive FAQ's on MyStudymap can be found here.


Contactdetails Teacher: Prof.dr. M.van Exter (Martin)
Contactdetails Teacher: Prof.dr. M.Beijersbergen(Marco)
Contactdetails Teacher: Prof.dr. M.Orrit (Michel)