The University of Southampton
Courses

PHYS2023 Wave Physics

Module Overview

This course introduces the properties and mechanics of waves, from the derivation and solution of wave equations, through the origins of the classical processes of refraction, dispersion and interference, to the quantum mechanical phenomenon of the uncertainty principle. It will arm students with a basic knowledge of wave behaviour and propagation, together with techniques for their quantitative analysis and application to a range of physical systems. It will further provide a fundamental base from which to examine wave aspects of electromagnetism, quantum mechanics and solid state physics in subsequent courses.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

The aim of this course is to provide a basic knowledge and understanding of the nature of wave propagation and its physical mechanisms

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • Express the nature of wave propagation and its physical mechanisms
  • Differentiate interference and diffraction, the Huyghens principle, Fraunhoffer diffraction, diffraction gratings
  • Define dispersion and the phase and group velocities
  • Depict the energy and momenta of wave motions
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Relate superpositions, wave packets and Fourier analysis
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Derive the solution of wave equations, both in one and three dimensions
  • Distinguish the travelling, standing and harmonic wave solutions
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Interpret the physical basis of continuity conditions and their implications for interfaces

Syllabus

- General principles of wave propagation; derivation and solution of wave equations - Transverse waves; travelling, standing and harmonic solutions; initial conditions - Linearity, interference, superposition and the Huygens construction for wave propagation - Fourier series and transforms; the convolution theorem - Wave packets, dispersion and phase and group velocities - Diffraction: single slit, double slit, grating and general Fraunhofer results - Energy and momentum transport in wave motions - Continuity conditions and interfaces - Longitudinal waves; waves in various physical systems - Absorption, skin depth

Learning and Teaching

TypeHours
Tutorial12
Preparation for scheduled sessions18
Wider reading or practice46
Revision10
Lecture36
Completion of assessment task10
Follow-up work18
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

H. H. Pain (1998). The Physics of Vibrations and Waves. 

I.G. Main. Vibrations and Waves in Physics. 

A. P. French (1971). Vibrations and Waves. 

Assessment

Assessment Strategy

Weekly course work will be set and assessed in the normal way, but only the best ‘n-2’ attempts will contribute to the final coursework mark. Here n is the number of course work items issued during that Semester. As an example, if you are set 10 sets of course work across a Semester, the best 8 of those will be counted. In an instance where a student may miss submitting one or two sets of course work, those sets will not be counted. Students will, however, still be required to submit Self Certification forms on time for all excused absences, as you may ultimately end up missing 3+ sets of course work through illness, for example. The submitted Self Certification forms may be considered as evidence for potential Special Considerations requests. In the event that a third (or higher) set of course work is missed, students will be required to go through the Special Considerations procedures in order to request mitigation for that set. Please note that documentary evidence will normally be required before these can be considered.

Summative

MethodPercentage contribution
Exam  (2 hours) 80%
Problem Sheets 20%

Referral

MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework marks carried forward %
Exam %

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Linked modules

Pre-requisites

To study this module, you will need to have studied the following module(s):

CodeModule
PHYS1013Energy and Matter
PHYS1011Waves, Light and Quanta
PHYS1015Motion and Relativity
PHYS1022Electricity and Magnetism
Share this module Facebook Google+ Twitter Weibo

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.

×