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PX263 - Electromagnetic Theory and Optics

  • Module code: PX263
  • Module name: Electromagnetic Theory and Optics
  • Department: Physics
  • Credit: 7.5

Content and teaching | Assessment | Availability

Module content and teaching

Principal aims

The module should study Maxwell's equations and their solutions.

Principal learning outcomes

By the end of the module you should: Understand the significance of all the various quantities which appear in Maxwell's equations and those derived from them like the Poynting vector and refractive index; Be able to write down and manipulate these equations in integral or differential form and derive the appropriate boundary conditions at boundaries between linear isotropic materials; Be familiar with plane-wave solutions to these equations in free space, dielectrics and ohmic conductors; understand the basics of geometrical optics, polarisation of light and the behaviour of light in lenses and prisms, and the properties of different light sources (including lasers); understand the interaction of light with various optical materials.

Timetabled teaching activities

18 Lectures + 7 problems classes

Departmental link

https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/physics/current/teach/syllabi/year2/px263

Other essential notes

The module develops the ideas of first year electricity and magnetism into Maxwell's theory of electromagnetism. Maxwell's equations pulled the various laws (Faraday's law, Ampere's law, Lenz's law, Gauss's law and the law with no name) into one unified and elegant theory. Establishing a complete theory of electromagnetism has proved to be one the greatest achievements of physics. It was the principal motivation for Einstein to develop special relativity, it has served as the model for subsequent theories of the forces of nature and it has been the basis for all of electronics (radios, telephones, computers, the lot...). The module shows that Maxwell's equations in free space have time-dependent solutions, which turn out to be the familiar electromagnetic waves (light, radio waves, X-rays etc), and studies their behaviour at material boundaries (Fresnel Equations). The module also covers the basics of optical instruments and light sources.

Module assessment

Assessment group Assessment name Percentage
7.5 CATS (Module code: PX263-7.5)
D (Assessed/examined work) Assessed work as specified by department 15%
  Electromagnetic Theory and Optics (Summer) 85%
VA (Visiting students only) 100% assessed (visiting/exchange) PART YEAR 100%

Module availability

This module is available on the following courses:

Core
  • Undergraduate Physics (BSc) (F300) - Year 2
  • Undergraduate Physics (BSc MPhys) (F304) - Year 2
  • Undergraduate Physics and Business Studies (F3N1) - Year 2
  • Undergraduate Mathematics and Physics (BSc MMathPhys) (FG33) - Year 2
  • Undergraduate Mathematics and Physics (BSc) (GF13) - Year 2
Optional Core

N/A

Optional
  • Undergraduate Mathematics (BSc) (G100) - Year 2
  • Undergraduate Mathematics with Intercalated Year (G101) - Year 2
  • Undergraduate Mathematics (MMath) (G103) - Year 2
  • Undergraduate Master of Mathematics (with Intercalated Year) (G105) - Year 2
  • Undergraduate Mathematics (MMath) with Study in Europe (G106) - Year 2
  • Undergraduate Mathematics and Business Studies (with Intercalated Year) (G1N2) - Year 2
  • Undergraduate Mathematics and Business Studies (G1NC) - Year 2
  • Undergraduate Mathematics and Economics (GL11) - Year 2
  • Undergraduate Mathematics and Economics (with Intercalated Year) (GL12) - Year 2