Optical Materials
Reference EHPHOT00000001
Taught in Elective Course List for Master of Engineering PhysicsFirst Master of Photonics Engineering
First Master of Photonics Engineering
Elective Course List Second and Third Year Engineering PhysicsBridging Course First Master of Photonics Engineering
Faculty Minor Course List for Masters of EngineeringElective Course List Ghent University Second European Master in Nuclear Fusion Science and Engineering PhysicsGeneral Course List UGent/VUB First Erasmus Mundus Master of Science in Photonics
Theory (A) 30.0
Exercises (B) 30.0
Training and projects (C) 0.0
Studytime (D) 180.0
Studypoints (E) 6
Credit contract? Access is determined after successful competences assessment
Examination contract? This course can not be taken through this kind of contract
Credit contract mandatory if Exam contract? Separate credit contract mandatory
Retake possible? No
Teaching Language English
Lecturer Kristiaan Neyts
Department TW06
Co-lecturers Irina Veretennicoff (VUB)
Key Words

microscopic, anisotropy, non-linearity, optical properties

Position of the Course

Introducing the microscopic origin of optical phenomena and transferring concepts from microscopic to macroscopic descriptions.
Illusrtating optical properties like anisotropy, non-linearity and variation by means of electric, elastic, acoustic or magnetic effects in basic components.


  • Introduction: Introduction
  • Properties of linear isotropic materials: examples, microscopic theory, definitions
  • Light propagation in anisotropic dielectrics: polarisation, propagation, matrix formalism, reflection
  • Properties of linear anisotropic dielectrics: tensors, types of materials, optical activity
  • Modification of optical properties: microscopic theory, electro- photo- elasto- acousto- magneto- optic effects
  • Liquid crystals: types of ordering, switching behavior
  • Non-linear optical materials: second-order effects, phase-relations, OPO, material examples

Starting Competences

bachelor in applied physics or bachelor in electrotechnical engineering

Final Competences

CONCEPTS: polarization, jones matrix, anisotropic media, electro-optic effect, acousto-optic effect, liquid crystals, second harmonic generation, phase matching, optical parametric oscillation INSIGHT: in microscopic theory, macroscopic theory, energy contributions, elementary quantum transitions SKILLS: use of formalisms for polarization, crystalsymmetry, electro-optics, matrixcalculation with PC ATTITUDES: application of theory, problem solving, literature study

Teaching and Learning Material



  • Optical Waves in Crystals, A. Yariv and P. Yeh, John Wiley and Sons, New York
  • The Feynman Lectures on Physics, Vol. II, R. Feynman, R. Leighton, M. Sands, Addison-Wesley Publishing company, Reading, Massachusetts

Course Content-Related Study Coaching

help with solving exercices and with the PC practicum

Teaching Methods

Classroom lectures; Classroom problem solving sessions

Evaluation Methods

Evaluation throughout semester as well as during examination period. Special conditions: In the exam period: 70% During the lecturing time: 10%+20%

Examination Methods

During examination period: written closed-book exam complemented with oral examination; written open-book exam - problems
During semester: graded project reports; graded oral presentation. Second chance: Not possible
Frequency: 1 computerpracticum (written report): 10%, week 11. 1 literature study (written report and oral presentation): 20%, week 12.

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