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PHY3304 Photonics

Semester 2, 2021 External
Short Description: Photonics
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences
School or Department : School of Sciences
Student contribution band : Band 2
ASCED code : 010301 - Physics
Grading basis : Graded
Version produced : 27 July 2021


Examiner: Carolyn Brown


Pre-requisite: PHY1104 and PHY1911

Other requisites

It is recommended that students first complete 2nd level physics courses prior to study. It is assumed that students will have mathematical skills that are equivalent to MAT2100 Algebra and Calculus II.


Scientists working in many areas depend on imaging systems for their basic data, and optical phenomena have, in recent years, formed the foundation of new industries. Optoelectronics has become a major industry, therefore scientists, educators and other professionals need to have an understanding of waves and photons in context of modern technologies. This course will examine classical and quantum optics, both theoretically and experimentally, in the wider discipline of physics.


This course will explore classical optical physics in depth, including geometrical optics, optical instrumentation (such as telescopes), interference and diffraction along with classical electromagnetic theory, and other topics such as wave behaviour (polarization, dispersion, lasers, coherence, Fourier Optics). The quantum nature of light will also be explored in the context of quantum mechanics, detectors and optical fibres. This course contains a highly recommended residential school (non-attendance will mean the student misses both an element for assessment preparation and an element of assessment).


On successful completion of this course students will be able to:

  1. Discuss key fundamental concepts in classical and quantum optics
  2. Understand the conceptual basis of quantum optics in modern technology
  3. Solve problems in classical and quantum optics
  4. Conduct and interpret experiments in classical and quantum optics


Description Weighting(%)
1. Geometrical Optics 7.00
2. Optical Instrumentation 7.00
3. Optical Applications 7.00
4. Fourier Optics 7.00
5. Electromagnetic Theory in Optics 7.00
6. Behaviour of Light 7.00
7. Lasers and Detectors 7.00
8. Optical Fibres 7.00
9. Quantum Interactions 7.00
10. Quantum Applications 7.00
11. Experimental Optics 30.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

Kenyon, I R 2011, The Light Fantastic: A Modern Introduction to Classical and Quantum Optics, 2nd edn, Oxford University Press, Oxford.
(ISBN 9780199584611(Hardcover) or 9780199584604 (Paperback).)
Practical Manual for PHY3304 Photonics, (USQ Physics: Toowoomba).
Introductory/Study Book for PHY3304 Photonics, (USQ Publications: Toowoomba).

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.
Young & Freedman 2020, University Physics with Modern Physics in SI Units, (Global) 15th edn, Pearson Education.

Student workload expectations

Activity Hours
Assessments 26.00
Online Tutorials 24.00
Private Study 85.00
Residential Schools 30.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
Laboratory 100 10 13 Jul 2021 (see note 1)
Progress Report 100 10 02 Sep 2021
Assignment 100 20 21 Sep 2021
Final Report 100 10 14 Oct 2021 (see note 2)
Open Examination - Online 50 50 End S2 (see note 3)

  1. The Laboratory will be completed during the residential school. The dates and location of the highly recommended residential school are available from the Residential School Timetable ( Refer to the study schedule for submission requirements.
  2. To complete the Report assessment item, students must attend the 4 day highly recommended residential school. The dates and location of the highly recommended residential school are available from the Residential School Timetable (
  3. This will be an online exam. Students will be provided further instruction regarding the exam by their course examiner via StudyDesk. The examination date will be available via UConnect when the Alternate Assessment Schedule has been released.

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    Students are highly recommended to attend the residential school as the residential school is linked to an assessment item or element of assessment preparation. It is the students' responsibility to attend and participate appropriately in all activities (such as residential schools, lectures and tutorials) scheduled for them, and to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To complete each assessment item satisfactorily, students must obtain at least 50% of the marks available for that assignment. To complete the laboratory and final report, it is highly recommended that students attend the 4 day residential school.

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    Students should refer to the Assessment Procedure (point 4.2.4)

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must obtain at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course (i.e. the Primary Hurdle), and have satisfied the Secondary Hurdle (Supervised), i.e. the end of semester examination by achieving at least 40% of the weighted marks available for that assessment item.

    Supplementary assessment may be offered where a student has undertaken all of the required summative assessment items and has passed the Primary Hurdle but failed to satisfy the Secondary Hurdle (Supervised), or has satisfied the Secondary Hurdle (Supervised) but failed to achieve a passing Final Grade by 5% or less of the total weighted Marks.

    To be awarded a passing grade for a supplementary assessment item (if applicable), a student must achieve at least 50% of the available marks for the supplementary assessment item as per the Assessment Procedure (point 4.4.2).

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    The final grades for students will be assigned on the basis of the aggregate of the weighted marks obtained for each of the summative assessment items in the course.

  6. Examination information:
    An Online Examination is one in which candidates may have access to any printed, written, or online material as well as a calculator.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    Deferred and Supplementary examinations will be held in accordance with the Assessment Procedure

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at

Assessment notes

  1. Harvard (AGPS) is the referencing system required in this course. Students should use Harvard (AGPS) style in their assignments to format details of the information sources they have cited in their work. The Harvard (AGPS) style to be used is defined by the USQ Library's referencing guide.

  2. As part of the highly recommended residential school, students may be expected to complete a combination of laboratories, practical classes and assessment as advised by the course examiner.

Date printed 27 July 2021