Fundamentals of Optics for Electrical Engineers
Fall 2009
Catalog Data: 

ECE 459 -- Fundamentals of Optics for Electrical Engineers (3 units)

Description: The course is an introduction to diffraction and 2D Fourier optics, geometrical optics, paraxial systems, third order aberrations, Gaussian beam propagation, optical resonators, polarization, temporal and spatial coherence, optical materials and nonlinear effects, electro-optic modulators. Applications to holography, optical data storage, optical processing, neural nets, associative memory optical interconnects.

Grading: Regular grades are awarded for this course: A B C D E

May be convened with ECE 559

ECE 381A
Hecht, Eugene. Optics. 4th Ed. Addison-Wesley. 2001.
Course Learning Outcomes: 

By the end of this course, the student will understand:

  1. Waves and propagation: Definitions, variables, conventions, standing waves, traveling waves (longitudinal and transverse). Plane waves versus spherical waves.
  2. Maxwell's equations, wave equation, Poynting vector and energy flow
  3. Polarization, dispersion, energy, momentum, dipoles, sources of polarization, propagation, equation of motion for bound electrons. Huygen's principle, Snell’s law, reflection, transmission, refraction, Fresnel expressions, TIR, FTIR, Beer's Law
  4. Geometrical Optics: diffraction limit, OPD, imaging, conjugates, ray tracing with thin lenses, compound lens ray tracing, aperture stops, field stops, pupils, marginal and chief ray, paraxial reduction, Lagrange invariant, matrix methods, thick lens treatment. Examples: telescopes, eyepieces, microscopes, etc.
  5. Aberration theory: chromatic versus monochromatic (geometry vs. image quality). Derivation of first and third-order monochromatic aberrations, Seidel coefficients.
  6. Superposition and coherence, polarization, polarizers, waveplates, birefringence, Jones matrices.
  7. Interference, fringes, visibility, interferometers-amplitude-splitting and wavefront-splitting (YDS, Michelson, TG, MZ, shear plate)
  8. Diffraction : Fresnel, Fraunhoffer, OPD, single slit and multiple slit, resolution, gratings (transmission and reflection). Applications include holography and spectroscopy.
  9. Fourrier Optics: transforms and elementary transform pairs, Fourrier transforms and Fraunhoffer diffraction, linear shift invariant systems, convolutions.
Course Topics: 
  • Introduction to optics
  • Wave theory and propagation
  • Geometrical optics
  • Paraxial systems
  • Introduction to third-order aberrations
  • Polarization
  • Temporal and spatial coherence
  • Interference
  • Diffraction
Class/Laboratory Schedule: 

Three, 50-minute lecturess per week

Relationship to Student Outcomes: 

ECE 459 contributes directly to the following specific Electrical and Computer Engineering Student Outcomes of the ECE department:

  • an ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science and engineering (High)
  • an ability to identify, formulate and solve engineering problems (High)
  • an ability to use the techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice (High)
Prepared by: 
Dr. Kelly Potter
Prepared Date: 

University of Arizona College of Engineering