Quantum and Advanced Optics

Subject PHYC90006 (2012)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2012.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2012:

Semester 2, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 36 hours comprising 3 one-hour lectures/week
Total Time Commitment:

120 hours

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Semester 1

and the following subject, or equivalent

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:


Recommended Background Knowledge:


Non Allowed Subjects:


Core Participation Requirements:

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study and reasonable steps will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact upon their participation are encouraged to discuss this with the subject coordinator and the Disability Liaison Unit.


Dr Nicole Bell


Email: msc@physics.unimelb.edu.au

Subject Overview:

Optics and photonics are vibrant international research areas, advancing many aspects of modern life. From the determination of the structure and function of biomolecules to the study of stars and galaxies; from high-efficiency lighting to innovative display technologies, our understanding of optics relies on fundamental underpinnings in advanced quantum mechanics and wave theory.

The course includes the foundations of modern optical theory, including Fourier transforms in optics and diffraction-based imaging; non-linear optical processes such as generation of white light from femtosecond laser pulses, gigahertz optical modulators, and liquid crystal displays; light-atom interactions, the Einstein description of lasers, and optical Bloch equations; holography; quantumoptics including zero-point energy and vacuum fluctuations; quantum states of light and quantum squeezing; laser cooling of atoms, atom interferometry, and Bose-Einstein condensation.

Students will develop both analytic and computational problem-solving methods, the latter using standard tools such as MATLAB.


The objectives of this subject are to provide:

  • understanding of classical optical diffraction theory and development of the ability to solve quantitative problems using the canonical mathematical techniques of that theory, in particular Fourier methods;
  • knowledge of important optical and photonic applications of classical wave theory, in imaging and non-linear optical processes;
  • understanding the semi-classical model of light-atom interactions, and its applications to laser theory and laser cooling of atoms;
  • a rigorous understanding of the quantum nature of light, including both photon statistics and non-classical fields;
  • an appreciation of the technological relevance of modern physical and quantum optics.

Four assignments totalling up to 36 pages of written work (20%), spaced equally during the semester, plus one 4-hour end-of-semester written examination (80%).

Prescribed Texts:


Recommended Texts:

Fundamentals of Photonics, 2e, BEA Saleh and MC Teich, Wiley.

The quantum theory of light, 2e, R Loudon, Oxford.

Introduction to Fourier Optics, JW Goodman, McGraw-Hill.

Optics, 4e, E Hecht, Addison-Wesley.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

At the completion of this subject, students should have gained skills in:

  • analysing how to solve a problem by applying simple fundamental laws to more complicated situations;
  • applying abstract concepts to real-world situations;
  • solving relatively complicated problems using approximations;
  • participating as an effective member of a group in discussions and collaborative assignments;
  • managing time effectively in order to be prepared for group discussions and undertake the assignments and exam.

Students undertaking this subject will be expected to access a computer occasionally. Computational facilities will be provided within the School.

Related Course(s): Master of Science (Physics)
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Physics

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