PHYS 715 (Lasers and Optical Electronics)             Course Information   


Objective:  To gain basic knowledge in the fields of laser physics, quantum optics, optics electronics,  nonlinear optics and photonics.


Instructor:                                 Zhigang Chen.  Office:  526 Thornton Hall

                                                Phone:  338-3876,        Email:   

Meeting Time and Place:

            T, Th    3:35-4:50         TH 428  (time and place may be changed) 



Primary reference:

            Optical Electronics in Modern Communications, 5th edition,

by AmnonYariv (Oxford Univ. Press, 1997)

(The course will cover large parts of chapters 1-8, and selected material from other chapters as well as from other references.)


            Other optional references:

            Lasers, by Milonni and Eberly (John Wiley, 1988)

            Fundamentals of Photonics, by Saleh and Teich (John Wiley, 1991)

            Quantum Electronics, 3rd edition, by Yariv (John Wiley, 1989).



Homework                                           20%

            Class Presentation                                20%

            Midterm Exam                          30%

            Final Exam/Research Paper                  30%


About Homework:

Homework is an important part of learning. Homework problems will be assigned biweekly, and will be due before each new assignment. You should work independently at first, and them you can discuss and collaborate with others. Solving problems with others will enhance your understanding and extend your retention. However, what you submit must be your own work. No late submission will be accepted.


About Seminar Presentation:

There are many interesting subjects in the fields of laser physics, optical electronics and nonlinear optics. Normally each field requires one semester of learning. In this course, we will try to cover some selected topics in each field. After learning the theory of light-matter interaction, laser oscillation and basic laser technology, you are required to do independent study and then do class presentation on a few selected topics based on your reading. The purpose of this requirement is to give you experience in independent literature research and in presenting your work to scientific or public community. Therefore, you need to prepare the notes carefully for each of your presentations. A final research paper can be submitted in lieu of final examination.



PHYS 715                                           Syllabus                                 



Weeks 1-2:      Electromagnetic Theory and Wave Propagation


E & M waves (Review)

wave propagation in isotropic media

(power transport, storage & dissipation)

wave propagation in anisotropic crystals

            (index ellipsoid, birefringence)

quantization of E&M field


Weeks 3-4:      Propagation of Rays and Gaussian Beams


ray optics

lens waveguides

Gaussian beam theory

laser transverse modes


Weeks 5-6:      Optical Resonators


Fabry-Perot Etalon

stable and unstable cavities

resonant frequencies

laser longitudinal modes


Weeks 7-8:      Interaction of Light and Atomic Systems


Atomic susceptibility

spontaneous and induced transitions (Einstein's model)

Lamb's semi-classical laser theory (Maxwell-Bloch equation)

homogeneous and inhomogeneous broadening

gain saturation


Weeks 9-10:    Laser Oscillation and Some Specific Lasers


laser oscillation condition,

oscillation frequency

specific laser systems



Midterm Exam






Week 11:         Laser Technology




pulse shaping


Week 12:         Advanced Laser Systems


semiconductor diode lasers

quantum well lasers

free-electron lasers


Week 13:         Wave propagation in periodic structures


Photonic crystals

Bandgap materials

Localization of light


Weeks 14:        Selected Topics in Nonlinear Optics


Second-harmonic generation and frequency conversion

Holography and optical data storage

Phase conjugate and photorefractive beam coupling

Waveguide modes and optical fiber communication


Weeks 15:        Research Presentations


                                    Topics may include BEC and atom optics, photonic crystals, EIT and photo storage, fast and slow light, quantum information and computing,  optical solitons, bio-optics, etc.  (Details will be discussed in class and more information will be provided later in the semester about topics for presentations).



Research Paper or Final Exam