Waves and Optics

5 credits

Syllabus, Bachelor's level, 1FA522

A revised version of the syllabus is available.
Education cycle
First cycle
Main field(s) of study and in-depth level
Physics G2F
Grading system
Pass with distinction, Pass with credit, Pass, Fail
Finalised by
The Faculty Board of Science and Technology, 10 February 2020
Responsible department
Department of Physics and Astronomy

Entry requirements

Mechanics II/Electrical Power Transmission Systems/Mechanics KF/Applied Mechanics I and Basics of Electrical Engineering III: Field Theory/Electromagnetism I/Electromagnetism. Electromagnetism can be studied simultaneously.

Learning outcomes

On completion of the course, the student should be able to:

  • account for fundamental quantities for waves and optics.
  • identify, illustrate and explain physical concepts in waves and optics.
  • describe and discuss technical applications of simple optical instruments.
  • solve problems using suitable models, assumptions and approximations as well as be able to assess the results.
  • plan and conduct simple experiments and give an oral and a written presentation of the results.


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. Overview of manufacturing of optical components using modern technology.

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. Guest lecture. The course makes use of subject integrated communication training with feedback and self evaluation.


Written examination at the end of the course (4 credits ). Laboratory exercises with written and oral reports (1 credit).

If there are special reasons for doing so, an examiner may make an exception from the method of assessment indicated and allow a student to be assessed by another method. An example of special reasons might be a certificate regarding special pedagogical support from the disability coordinator of the university.