Physics 213: Introduction to Modern Optics (COLL 200)

Fall  2016

Purpose of the course: This course will provide a comprehensive introduction to the basic optics concepts and their applications. It will consists of three main sections: geometrical optics and optical instrumentation design; wave optics, polarization phenomena and interaction with matter; quantum optics, lasers and detectors. Students will be participating in hand-on in-class activities, as well as complete special projects on selected topics. The connection to visual arts will be emphasized, and students will explore both scientific and artistic methods to analyze optical phenomena.


Instructor: Irina Novikova

Office: Small 251
E-mail: inovikova[at] 
Office hours:  TBA
Telephone: (757) 221-3693


E-mail is my preferred communication method for any technical or organizational questions. I am usually very good about answering my e-mails promptly, but please write your e-mails under assumption that it may take a day or two for me to reply. In addition, I would strongly discourage any physics questions over the e-mail: it is much more efficient to discuss those in person.

Grader: Rony Kalfarisi

E-mail: rgkalfarisi[at]
Office hours:  (grading questions only): by appointment


Text: The Light Fantastic, A Modern Introduction to Classical and Quantum Optics, Ian R. Kenyon, Oxford University Press, 2008.

Prerequisites: This course assumes a background in first year physics at the level of Phys 101-102 or Phys 107-108, and calculus at the level of Math 111-112.

Homework: There will be 12 homework assignments during this course. Each assignment consists of several problems and due Friday. Late assignments will be accepted with a 50% penalty when submitted up to one week late. Any assignment turned in after that time will not be accepted (unless you obtained a permission from me beforehand).




Three midterm tests

Special projects

10% each


Final exam



Course schedule and Homework Assignments


William & Mary accommodates students with disabilities in accordance with federal laws and university policy. Any student who feels s/he may need an accommodation based on the impact of a learning, psychiatric, physical, or chronic health diagnosis should contact Student Accessibility Services staff at 757-221-2509 or at to determine if accommodations are warranted and to obtain an official letter of accommodation. For more information, please see