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Advanced Optics


Admission Requirements none


This course treats optics and atom-field interaction at a level appropriate to MSc students. It does so by combining a textbook with material from a series scientific paper 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 complicated 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

Generic skills (soft 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

Mode of instruction

Lectures and student presentations.

Lectures will be presented preferably in a flipped classroom style, where students study the material in advance and where the lecture time is mainly used for questions, discussions and exercises. Students will present part of the lecture material themselves to promote participation and interaction.

Assessment method

The grading of this course will be based on:

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

  • Essay on part 2 (2/9 of final grade)

  • Student presentations during the course (3 x 1/9 of final grade)

  • Homework will be stimulated via a bonus system


Blackboard contains overview of the course structure, course material, and list of the scientific papers that will be discussed during the course.
To have access to Blackboard you need a ULCN-account.Blackboard UL

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:


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