Syllabus for Waves and Optics

Vågor och optik

A revised version of the syllabus is available.


  • 5 credits
  • Course code: 1FA522
  • Education cycle: First cycle
  • Main field(s) of study and in-depth level: Physics G2F
  • Grading system: Fail (U), Pass (3), Pass with credit (4), Pass with distinction (5)
  • Established: 2008-03-18
  • Established by: The Faculty Board of Science and Technology
  • Applies from: week 35, 2008
  • Entry requirements: Mechanics II, Electromagnetism I or equivalent.
  • Responsible department: Department of Physics and Astronomy

Learning outcomes

Learning objectives of this course:

  • to acquire skills allowing the student to identify and apply formulas of optics and wave physics using course literature.

  • to be able to identify and illustrate physical concepts and terminology used in optics and to be able to explain them in appropriate detail.

  • to be able to make approximate judgements about optical and other wave phenomena when necessary.

  • to acquire skills allowing the student to organise and plan simpler laboratory course experiments and to prepare an associated oral and written report.


Short repetition of basic concepts within wave physics, mechanical/acoustical waves: superposition, standing waves, beats, Doppler effect. Electromagnetic waves and optics: reflection, refraction, dispersion, phase and group velocity, Geometrical optics, optical instruments. Polarisation, optical activity, birefringence. Interference. Fraunhofer and Fresnel diffraction. Holography. Examples of radiation sources.
Laboratory exercises in ray optics, wave optics, interference, polarisation. Project assignment and mandatory hand-in exercises in optics.


Lectures, exercise groups, laboratory exercises (attendance is mandatory), and project assignments.


Written examination at the end of the course (4 of 5 credits). Credit for the course requires passing the laboratory exercises (1 of 5 credits) which may include mandatory written and oral reports.

Reading list

Reading list

Applies from: week 03, 2012