Department of Physics, Unit Catalogue 2011/12 

Credits:  6 
Level:  Certificate (FHEQ level 4) 
Period: 
Semester 2 
Assessment:  EX 100% 
Supplementary Assessment:  PH10005  Mandatory Extra Work (where allowed by programme regulations) 
Requisites:  Before taking this unit you must take PH10007 or equivalent. 
Description:  Aims: The aims of this unit are to introduce students to the fundamental concepts and mathematical treatment of waves, to explore various phenomena arising from the superposition of two or more waves, and to outline some of the general principles governing the propagation of light. Learning Outcomes: After taking this unit the student should be able to: * analyse oscillating systems under different driving regimes; * apply the wavefunction for a onedimensional travelling wave to problems involving mechanical, acoustic, water and electromagnetic waves; * state the principle of superposition and use it to solve problems involving the superposition of more than one wave; * define and derive the impedance of a mechanical wave and apply it to reflection and transmission at interfaces; * construct ray diagrams for use in solving simple geometrical optics problems; * outline the mathematical analysis of multiplebeam interference; * derive mathematical expressions for simple diffraction patterns and relate the limits imposed by diffraction to the performance of optical instruments. Skills: Numeracy T/F A, Problem Solving T/F A. Content: Simple harmonic motion (3 hours): Oscillations, including damped and forced oscillations. Resonance, Qfactors. Coupled oscillations and introduction to normal modes. Wave motion as the limit of coupled oscillations. The wave equation (1D). Introduction to waves (8 hours): Transverse and longitudinal waves. Plane, circular and spherical waves. Waves on strings; sound, water, particle and light waves. Mathematical representation of 1D plane waves; wavefunction, amplitude, frequency, wavelength, wavenumber, speed, energy, intensity and impedance. The Doppler effect. Superposition; standing waves, beats, interference. Phase and group velocity; dispersive and nondispersive media. Complex exponential notation. Mechanical impedance. Reflection and transmission at boundaries. The propagation of light (3 hours): Optical path length. Huygen's and Fermat's principles, Snell's Law. Reflection and refraction. Lenses; the focal plane. Geometric optics for thin lenses. Aberrations. Principles of the telescope and microscope. Interference and diffraction (8 hours): Coherence. Young's slits experiment. The Michelson interferometer. The FabryPerot etalon. Interference between N equally spaced sources. Fraunhofer diffraction as farfield case. Derivation of Fraunhofer pattern for single slit. Discussion of circular aperture, diffraction limits on optical systems, definition of resolution, Rayleigh criterion. The diffraction grating. Resolving power of the telescope and grating. 
Programme availability: 
PH10005 is Compulsory on the following programmes:Department of Physics
