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Classical and Quantum Optics


This course covers many topics in classical optics that were necessarily left out of the elementary first-year course ‘Optica’ (optics) and adds an equal amount of quantum optics.
Classical Optics (50%) covers: diffraction, thin films, ray matrices, Gaussian beams, optical
coherence, optical modes, black-body radiation, and image formation.
Quantum Optics (50%) covers: radiative decay, photon statistics, (anti)bunching, coherent states, squeezed light, atom-photon interaction, and atoms in cavities.

Acquire a certain intuition in optics, by discussing optics from an experimental point of view and dealing with practical aspects as well as fundamental issues. Topics are often inspired by the question “How do these (classical or quantum) effects show up in laboratory experiments?”. This makes the course extremely useful for anyone working (or planning to work) in optics.

Programme form
Oral lectures mixed with exercises in 13 three-hour blocks.
Some homework is strongly advised if not required.


G. Brooker, Modern Classical Optics (from Oxford master series),

M. Fox, Quantum optics (from Oxford master series),

Syllabus (handed out during lectures)

Various scientific articles recommended (during lectures)

Physics Schedule

Form of examination
Written exam, split in “closed book” and “open book” part

We expect sufficient prior knowledge on:

Optics / Optica (first-year level)
Quantum mechanics 1 and Quantum mechanics 2(second-year level).
Analysis (second-year level: 3NA)

More Information
Lecturer: Dr. M.P. van Exter (Martin)
Blackboard webpage of “CQO = Classical & Quantum Optics”