PHYS 707 –Top/Physics Adv Optc - Fall 2011

Lecture: M W F, 2:30-3:20 p.m. WA 348


Textbook: Lasers, Siegman


Suggested References:  Laser Electronics, Verdeyen; Quantum Electronics, Yariv; Principles of Lasers, Svelto; Optics, Hecht; Principles of Optics, Born and Wolf;


Instructor: Dr. Brian R. Washburn, CW 36C, (785) 532-2263, Office hours: M,W,F 9:30-10:30 p.m. or by appt.


Prerequisites:  A solid foundation in undergraduate-level optics with basic knowledge of quantum mechanics and electromagnetism.


Course Objective:   The objective of this course is to provide a semi-classical description of laser physics.  The first half of the class will focus on “a fully accurate, detailed, and physically meaningful understanding of lasers”.  The operational properties of lasers, such as optical beams and resonators, will be covered midway through the course.  The course will conclude on advanced laser topics such as laser dynamics and mode-locking.


Course Reading:  It is important to read the assigned sections before the lecture.  This will make the lecture more effective and is the first step to mastery of the course material.  The course will cover a lot of material so keeping up with the reading assignments will be essential.



Exam 1

100 pts

200 pts

Exam 2

100 pts


425 pts


3 labs ´25 pts = 75 pts

Final Exam

300 pts

Total possible

1000 pts


Exams:  There will be two in-class exams during the semester and one cumulative final exam.


Homework:  Homework will be in the form of traditional problems based on lecture material.  Completing the homework will be crucial to acquire a sufficient understanding of the course material.  Working on the homework in groups on the homework is encouraged but you should be able to write up the assignment on your own.  In the case when you get stuck on a problem, credit will be given for a statement indicating how your solution is incorrect.


Late Homework:  No project will be accepted after its due date unless prior arrangements have been made.


Laboratories:  There will be two to three laboratory activities covering specific course material.  The purpose of the lab is to create an active learning environment to further stress important course material.  Grades will be based on performance, results, and worksheet answers.  Extra credit lab activities may be given.


Class Material:  Extra class materials are posted on K‑state Online, including papers and tutorials.


Disabilities:  If you have any condition such as a physical or learning disability, which will make it difficult for you to carry out the work as I have outlined it or which will require academic accommodations, please notify me and contact the Disabled Students Office (Holton 202), in the first two weeks of the course.


Plagiarism:  Plagiarism and cheating are serious offenses and may be punished by failure on the exam, paper or project; failure in the course; and/or expulsion from the University. For more information refer to the “Academic Dishonesty” policy in K-State Undergraduate Catalog and the Undergraduate Honor System Policy on the Provost’s web page:


Copyright:  This syllabus and all lectures copyright August 2011 by Brian R. Washburn. 


Tentative Course Schedule, Lasers, PHYS 707 Fall 2011

Lecture # and Date










Lecture 1. 8/22 (M)

Class introduction




Lecture 2. 8/24 (W)

Introduction to laser physics

1.1-1.5, 1.7-1.9



Lecture 3. 8/26 (F)

The classical oscillator model




Lecture 4. 8/29 (M)

Stimulated transmissions and electric dipole transitions

2.5, 3.1-3.2, 3.6



Lecture 5. 8/31 (W)

Line broadening mechanisms

3.7, 4.1



Lecture 6. 9/2 (F)

Atomic rate equations


HW 1 due


9/5 (M)





Lecture 7. 9/7 (W)

Two level system and saturation




Lecture 8. 9/9 (F)

Mulit-level systems




Lecture 9. 9/12 (M)

Laser pumping and population inversion


HW 2 due


Lecture 10. 9/14 (W)

Stimulated transition cross-sections




Lecture 11. 9/16 (F)

Cross sections, gain narrowing




Lecture 12. 9/19 (M)

Simple model for saturated amplification

7.6-7.7, 8.1

HW 3 due


Lecture 13. 9/21 (W)

Laser amplification and transient response




Lecture 14. 9/23 (F)

Laser mirrors and feedback




Lecture 15. 9/26 (M)

Approaching threshold


HW 4 due


Lecture 16. 9/28 (W)

Fundamentals of laser oscillation




Lecture 17. 9/30 (F)

Fundamentals of laser oscillation




Lecture 18. 10/3 (M)

Oscillation dynamics and threshold


HW 5 due


Lecture 19. 10/5 (W)

Oscillation dynamics and threshold




Lecture 20. 10/7 (F)

Example: Er-doped fiber amplifier and laser




Lab 1

Lecture 21. 10/10 (M)

Example: the He-Ne laser



Lecture 22. 10/12 (W)

Catch up day



10/14 (F)















Lecture 23. 10/17 (M)

Optical beams and review of wave optics




Lab 2

Lecture 24. 10/19 (W)

Gaussian beams propagation



Lecture 25. 10/21 (F)

Gaussian beams propagation: an example



Lecture 26. 10/24 (M)

Stable two mirror resonators


HW 6 due


Lecture 27. 10/26 (W)

Example: Resonator for the He-Ne Laser




Lecture 28. 10/28 (F)

Example: the continuous wave Ti:sapphire laser



Drop date

Lecture 29. 10/31 (M)

Signals in time and frequency: the Fourier transform


HW 7 due


Lecture 30. 11/2 (W)

Linear pulse propagation




Lecture 31. 11/4 (F)

Catch up day














Lecture 32. 11/7 (M)

Laser Dynamics


HW 8 due


Lecture 33. 11/9 (W)

Cavity and atomic rate equations




Lecture 34. 11/11 (F)

Relaxation oscillations




Lecture 35. 11/14 (M)

Laser Q-Switching




Lecture 36. 11/16 (W)

Active mode coupling




11/18 (F)

Exam 2




Week of 11/21

Fall Break




Lecture 37. 11/28 (M)

Active mode coupling




Lab 3

Lecture 38. 11/30 (W)

Passive mode-locking and self amplitude modulation



Lecture 39. 12/2 (F)

Example: the mode-locked Er-doped fiber laser



Lecture 40. 12/5 (M)

Self amplitude modulation, the frequency comb

28.1, 28.2

HW 9 due


Lecture 41. 12/7 (W)

Example: the mode-locked Ti:sapphire laser




Lecture 42. 12/9 (F)

Catch up day




Final Exam: Friday December 16, 4:10 PM – 6:00 PM