PHY1023 
Waves and Optics 
202021 

Dr N.J. Mayne 


Delivery Weeks: 
T2:0111 

Level: 
4 (NQF) 

Credits: 
15 NICATS / 7.5 ECTS 

Enrolment: 
150 students (approx) 

Description
The concepts of oscillation amd wave propagation permeates the whole of physics. This module
identifies and applies the underlying principles enabling the student to understand many apparently
unrelated systems. A wide range of physical phenomena are used as examples. The module first
considers the characteristic parameters of a forced, damped harmonic oscillator, and relates them
to the characteristic parameters of wave propagation. Later stages discuss the propagation and
reflection of waves, using waves on a stretched string as the model system. Longitudinal waves in
solids, sound waves in gases, and waves in periodic structures (key to much of solidstate physics)
are also discussed, followed by an introduction to geometrical optics and optical systems. The
concepts introduced in this module underpin, and will be developed in later modules, e.g. in
PHY2021 Electromagnetism I,
PHY2022 Quantum Mechanics I and
PHY2024 Condensed Matter I.
Module Aims
This module predates the current template; refer to the description above and the following ILO sections.
Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)
A student who has passed this module should be able to:

Module Specific Skills and Knowledge:
 set up the equations associated with simpleharmonic motion,
solve them for different physical conditions and recognise
situations where they are applicable;
 construct the relevant expressions for alternating current
and voltage (using complexnumber representation) in an
electrical circuit and derive basic quantities, e.g.
power dissipation;
 manipulate the wave equation and its solution, explain the concepts
of wave number, phase velocity, group velocity and dispersion; apply
these concepts to waves in periodic structures and to longitudinal
waves in solids and gases;
 solve problems involving simple systems of lenses and mirror, derive
relations such as the lens makers formula, describe the origin and use of
total internal reflection;
 describe Young's experiment using complex amplitudes and phasors;
 calculate the diffraction limited resolution of a simple imaging system;
 discuss thinfilm interference fringes and antireflection coatings and
calculate the properties needed by an optimal antireflection coating.
 describe the diffraction grating, FabryPerot, and Michelson interferometers and their
use as spectrometers, and calculate their dispersion and resolving power;
 discuss the origin of polarisation, its generation and manipulation via dichroism and birefringence;
 describe important features of laser light such as coherence, monochromaticity and directionality;

Discipline Specific Skills and Knowledge:
 make a Fourierseries expansion of a simple periodic function;
 to take notes in lectures and then refine them
later thereby developing skills in the efficient summarising of material;

Personal and Key Transferable / Employment Skills and Knowledge:
 undertake guided selfstudy successfully;
 develop appropriate timemanagement strategies and meet deadlines for completion of work.
Syllabus Plan

Introduction
Brief historical survey.

The Physics of Simple and Damped Harmonic Motion (SHM)
 SHM  mass on a spring, equation of
motion
 Phase angle, displacement, velocity, acceleration
 Energy of simple harmonic motion
 Damped SHM (mechanical system) 
oscillatory and logarithmic decrement (exponential
notation)
 Quality factor, Q  energy dissipation
 Critical, under and overdamped mechanical systems

Forced Oscillator
 Steadystate solution for mass on a spring plus driving
force
 Mechanical impedance (complex impedance, amplitude, phase factor);
amplitude resonance;
power supplied by the driving force, Qvalue

Alternating Electrical Currents (Steady State)
 Alternating voltage, phasor diagram, amplitude, phase,
period
 Resistance, inductance and capacitance in an AC
circuit: currentvoltage relationships
 Complex impedance in AC circuits;
power in AC circuits;
series and parallel resonance

Introduction to Waves
 The electromagnetic spectrum
 Definition and examples of wave motion; transverse and longitudinal
waves; polarization; plane and spherical waves
 Basic wave concepts: amplitude and phase; wave number k and angular
frequency ω; phase velocity
 The wave equation and its solutions
 The Doppler effect
 Example: transverse waves on a string
 Energy transfer in wave motion

Superposition of Waves
 Standing waves and normal modes
 Partial standing waves
 Fourier series
 Wave packets, dispersion and group velocity
 Example: dispersed wave on a string

Reflection and Transmission of Waves
 Characteristic impedance; reflection and transmission
coefficients of amplitude and energy
 Example: Reflection and transmission of transverse
waves on a string
 Impedance matching and the quarterwave transformer

Waves on Periodic Structures
 Transverse waves on a onedimensional periodic
structure: dispersion relation, lowpass
characteristic, first Brillouin zone
 Normal modes on a onedimensional periodic structure

Other Examples of Waves
 Longitudinal waves in a solid
 Sound waves in a gas

Optics
 Geometrical optics
Imaging and ray tracing; thinlenses; total internal reflection
 Interference and diffraction
Young's experiment; diffraction limited resolution;
diffractiongrating spectrometer;
thin films and antireflection coatings; FabryPerot interferometer;
Michelson interferometer
 Dispersion by prisms and diffraction gratings
 Polarization
Electromagnetic interpretation; Generation by polarizers, reflection and scattering;
Birefringence
 Optical cavities and laser action
Learning and Teaching
Learning Activities and Teaching Methods
Description 
Study time 
KIS type 
22×1hour lectures 
22 hours

SLT 
5×6hour selfstudy packages 
30 hours

GIS 
7×2hour problems sets 
14 hours

GIS 
Problems class support 
9 hours

SLT 
Tutorial support 
3 hours

SLT 
Reading, private study and revision 
72 hours

GIS 
Assessment
Weight 
Form 
Size 
When 
ILOS assessed 
Feedback 
0% 
Exercises set by tutor 
3×1hour sets (typical) 
Scheduled by tutor 
114 
Discussion in tutorials

0% 
Guided selfstudy 
5×6hour packages 
Fortnightly 
114 
Discussion in tutorials

10% 
7 × Problems Sets 
2 hours per set 
Weekly 
114 
Marked in problems class, then discussed in tutorials

15% 
Midterm Test 1 
30 minutes 
Weeks T2:04 
114 
Marked, then discussed in tutorials

15% 
Midterm Test 2 
30 minutes 
Weeks T2:08 
114 
Marked, then discussed in tutorials

60% 
Final Examination 
120 minutes 
May/June assessment period 
114 
Mark via MyExeter, collective feedback via ELE and solutions. 
Resources
The following list is offered as an indication of the type & level of information that
students are expected to consult. Further guidance will be provided by the Module Instructor(s).
Core text:
Supplementary texts:

Feynman R.P., Leighton R.B. and Sands M. (1963), Lectures on Physics, Vol. I, AddisonWesley, ISBN 0201021161 (UL: 530 FEY/X)

Hecht E. (1987), Optics (2^{nd} edition), AddisonWesley, ISBN 0201116111 (UL: 535 HEC)

Pain H.J. (2005), The Physics of Vibrations and Waves (6^{th} edition), Wiley, ISBN 047001296X (UL: 531.32 PAI)

Pedrotti F.L. and Pedrotti F.J.L.S. (2007), Introduction to Optics (3^{rd} edition), Pearson PrenticeHall, ISBN 9780131971332 (UL: 535 PED)
ELE:
Further Information
Prior Knowledge Requirements
Prerequisite Modules 
Vector Mechanics (PHY1021) and Mathematics Skills (PHY1025) 
Corequisite Modules 
none 
Reassessment
Reassessment is not available except when required by referral or deferral.
Original form of assessment 
Form of reassessment 
ILOs reassessed 
Time scale for reassessment 
Whole module 
Written examination (100%) 
114 
August/September assessment period 
Notes: See Physics Assessment Conventions.
KIS Data Summary
Learning activities and teaching methods 
SLT  scheduled learning & teaching activities 
34 hrs 
GIS  guided independent study 
116 hrs 
PLS  placement/study abroad 
0 hrs 
Total 
150 hrs 


Summative assessment 
Coursework 
10% 
Written exams 
90% 
Practical exams 
0% 
Total 
100% 

Miscellaneous
IoP Accreditation Checklist 
 WV01 Free, damped, forced and coupled oscillations to include resonance and normal modes.
 WV02 Waves in linear media to the level of group velocity.
 WV03 Waves on strings, sound waves and electromagnetic waves.
 WV04 Doppler effect.
 EM02 DC and AC circuit analysis to the level of complex impedance, transients and resonance.
 EM05 Electromagnetic spectrum.
 OP01 Geometrical optics to the level of simple optical systems.
 OP02 Interference and diffraction at single and multiple apertures.
 OP03 Dispersion by prisms and diffraction gratings.
 OP04 Optical cavities and laser action.

Availability 
unrestricted 
Distance learning 
NO 
Keywords 
Physics; Amplitudes; Diffraction; Dispersion; Examples; Impedance; Motion; Phase; Reflection; Systems; Waves. 
Created 
01Oct10 
Revised 
N/A 