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The University of Southampton

PHYS2009 Practical Photonics

Module Overview

The course will guide the students through a series of experiments that will demonstrate key experimental techniques, and illustrate basic principles of experimental laser science. The student will undertake a number of experiments during the 12-week course. In parallel with these activities, students will undertake the writing of a short dissertation on one of a number of key topics in the field of laser physics. This course will be of particular interest to those contemplating a career in the area of optoelectronics.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

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

  • Discuss a range of experimental measurement techniques in laser science.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Acquire practical experience of a number of key topics in laser science.


A range of experiments is available to the students, which cover many of the major topics of modern optics. The actual experiments change with developments in the subject area. Typical experiment titles from previous years have included. The experiments include Faraday Effect, Electro-Optic Effect and Modulation of Laser Light, Liquid Crystals, Fabry-Pérot Interferometer, Optical Transforms and Spatial Filtering, Second Harmonic Generation, Crystal Optics and anisotropy. The students will work on each experiment for 3 x 3 hour sessions in the lab and they will spend time at home to analyse their results and understand the underlying physics. Typical dissertation topics from previous years have included: Lasers, laser beams and coherence Nonlinear frequency conversion Ultrashort optical pulses Optical fibre devices and components Optical measurement techniques Erbium-doped fibre amplifier, THz spectroscopy.

Learning and Teaching

Wider reading or practice43
Follow-up work1
Completion of assessment task103
Preparation for scheduled sessions1
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Yariv. Optical Electronics. 

Hecht. Optics. 

Wilson & Hawkes. Optoelectronics. 


Assessment Strategy

Each assessed component must be passed independently in order to pass the module overall. The referral policy for the dissertation component is a rewrite of the dissertation. There is no referral opportunity in the same year for the laboratory component.


MethodPercentage contribution
Continuous Assessment 60%
Final Assessment  40%


MethodPercentage contribution
Set Task 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Linked modules

Pre-requisites: PHYS1011 AND PHYS1013 AND PHYS1015 AND PHYS1022

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