PHS3202 - Wave optics and atomic physics - 2019

6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.



Organisational Unit

School of Physics and Astronomy

Chief examiner(s)

Dr Alexis Bishop


Professor Kristian Helmerson

Unit guides



  • Second semester 2019 (On-campus)


PHS2061, PHS2062 and;

one of: MTH2032 or MTH2040

Recommended: PHS3101, PHS2081




This unit explores topics in classical wave optics and the interactions between the photon and matter.

Optics: wave propagation and image formation, plane waves, diffraction, propagation, angular spectrum, phase contrast, interferometry, holography, focused fields, Fourier optics.

Atomic physics: Two level atoms, absorption and emission of radiation, transition probabilities and lineshapes laser cooling, dipole force and optical trapping, magnetic trapping of atoms, lasers and coherent light, laser cooling, Bose-Einstein condensation, modulation devices, optical waveguides, fibre optic communications.


On completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. Describe and perform calculations associated with fundamental concepts in wave optics.
  2. Describe concepts and perform calculations in atomic physics.
  3. Apply numerical modelling to solve problems in wave optics and atomic physics.
  4. Demonstrate awareness of scientific computing methods and visualization.
  5. Demonstrate an ability to work in teams and to communicate and discuss physics concepts.
  6. Approach new problems and find solutions on the basis of general principles, and evaluate the appropriateness of their proposed models or solutions.


NOTE: From 1 July 2019, the duration of all exams is changing to combine reading and writing time. The new exam duration for this unit is 3 hours and 10 minutes.

Examination (3 hours): 50%

In-semester assessment : 50%

Workload requirements

The workload to achieve the learning outcomes for this unit is 144 hours spread across the semester (approximately 12 hours per week) - approximately an even mixture of attendance at scheduled activities and self-scheduled study time. Learning activities comprise a mixture of instructor directed, peer-directed and self-directed learning, which includes face-to-face and online engagement.

See also Unit timetable information

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study