Courses Catalogue

Waves, Optics And Acoustics

COURSE CODE: PHY1209
COURSE CREDIT UNIT: 4
ACADEMIC PROGRAMME: Physics BSc
COLLEGE/SCHOOL/FACULTY: School of Natural and Applied Sciences
STATUS: Core
PROGRAMME TYPE: Undergraduate

Course Description

COURSE DESCRIPTION

 

The course is an introduction to oscillating systems and waves. Topics include: free, clamped forced and coupled oscillations of physical systems, travelling waves and wave packets, reflection, and interference phenomena. The course also provides an introduction to classical physical optics, in particular interference, diffraction and polarization, and to the elementary theory of lenses. The theory covered will be applied in the analysis of one or more modern optical instruments.

 

COURSE JUSTIFICATION/RATIONALE

 

This unit introduces the physics of wave motion and the formalism of wave behaviour in the context of physical and geometrical optics. It provides a basic knowledge and understanding of the nature of wave propagation and its physical mechanism

 

LEARNING OBJECTIVES

 

By the end of this course, the student should be able to:

  • describe the manifestation of wave phenomena in general and optical systems in particular.
  • acquire knowledge about a variety of physical phenomena, including: vibration, examples of harmonic oscillators, superposition, driven oscillations and resonance, coupled oscillators and normal modes, normal modes of continuous systems, group velocity and wave packets diffraction, interference, geometrical optics, wave properties of light.
  • gain an appreciation of the wide applicability of vibration and wave concepts, and
  • build physical intuition and experience with the mathematical description of physical phenomena.

 

LEARNING OUTCOMES

 

A student completing the course is expected to:

§  Describe wave superposition and interference, Huygens' construction, Fermat's principle and their application

§  Apply the ray propagation model to mirrors, lenses and optical systems built from these, including analysing systems using propagation matrices

§  Describe polarisation effects and how to create and manipulate polarisation

§  Describe interference and diffraction for slits, gratings and interferometers

§  Derive the solution of wave equations, both in one and three dimensions

§  Distinguish the travelling, standing and harmonic wave solutions