Opti 501

“Electromagnetic Waves”


Fall Semester (Monday, August 21 – Wednesday, December 6) 2023

Time: Tuesdays & Thursdays 9:30 – 10:45 am
Place: James C. Wyant College of Optical Sciences, Meinel Building (West Wing), Auditorium 307

Prerequisites: PHYS 241, MATH 223

Grading criteria: 2 midterms (in class, closed book, closed notes, no computers or other electronic devices; each midterm counts for 25% of the total grade), final exam (in class, closed book, closed notes, no computers or other electronic devices; counts for 40% of the grade); homework assignments (10% of the total grade). No term papers will be required.

   1st Midterm: Thursday, September 28, 9:30 - 10:45 am (Rm 307)
   2nd Midterm: Tuesday, October 31, 9:30 - 10:45 am (Rm 307)
   Final:       Tuesday, December 12, 8:00 - 10:00 am (Rm 307)

This course covers the basic physics and mathematics needed for an in-depth understanding of the modern technology that has its roots in the sciences of electromagnetism and optics. Since Maxwell’s equations form the foundation of the classical theory of electrodynamics, the primary objective of the course is to develop a solid understanding of these equations, followed by a detailed exposition of some of their most interesting as well as practical applications.
Every mathematical tool/technique introduced in this course will be motivated by the relevant physical problems. The students are not expected to have a broad-based prior knowledge of the topics covered in this course, but they should generally be familiar with electromagnetic theory at an undergraduate level, with the basics of algebra, Euclidean geometry, trigonometry, integral and differential calculus, simple differential equations, Fourier transform theory, and the rudiments of complex number analysis.
The course will cover scalar and vector fields, plane-wave propagation, mathematical formalism of polarized light, Maxwell’s equations, electromagnetic field energy and momentum, scalar and vector potentials, gauge transformations, wave equations, free-space solutions of Maxwell’s equations, dipole radiation, Lorentz model for dielectric media, metal optics, phase and group velocities, Fresnel’s reflection and transmission coefficients, total internal reflection, and propagation of electromagnetic waves in material media.