OSE / PH 645 - Lasers I

(Dr. John Williams, Summer 2010)

[course notes listed below]


Course Syllabus

Course Instructor: 
Dr. J. D. Williams    406 Optics Building     (256) 824 – 2898        williams@ece.uah.edu

Required Textbook:
W. T. Silfvast, Laser Fundamentals, 2nd ed., Cambridge University Press, 2004.

Optional Reading:

  1. J. T. Verdeyen, Laser Electronics, 3rd ed., Prentice Hall, 1994
  2. O. Svelto, Principles of Lasers, 4th ed., Springer, 2009
  3. P. W. Milonni, and J. H Eberly, Laser Physics, Wiley, 2010
  4. Born and Wolf, Principles of Optics 7th ed., Cambridge,1999
  5. B.E.A. Saleh, and M.C. Teich, Fundamentals of Photonics 2nd ed., Wiley, 2007.
  6. Various websites provided throughout the class

Course Prerequisites: 

Graduate Standing, Demonstrated understanding of the fundamentals of electromagnetic field theory, and/or quantum theory.

Course Material:

Chapter 1-2. (Review Material)
Definition and generic description of the laser, overview of electromagnetic waves, and refractive index in dispersive media

Chapter 3-6: Fundamental Quantum Properties of Light
Bohr theory of the atom, atomic energy levels, angular momentum, energy levels in multi-electron atoms.  Radiative decay of states, line broadening processes quantum description of radiating atoms.  Energy levels in gases, liquids, and solid materials used for lasing systems.  Thermal equilibrium, blackbody radiation, cavity modes, and absorption of stimulated emission.

Chapter 7-10. Laser Amplifiers
Gain conditions, population inversion, and threshold requirements for lasers.  Saturation conditions for lasing, optimization of output power, output fluctuations, and amplifier conditions.   Chapters 9-10 provide a more complex understanding of population inversions and laser pumping techniques

Chapter 11-13 laser Resonators.
Longitudinal and transverse cavity modes, models for Gaussian beams.  Advanced laser cavities and effects, including q-switching, mode locking, pulse shortening, and ring lasers.

Chapter 14-15.  Specific Laser Systems
Generic overviews of several common laser systems.  This material will be covered by students who choose independent term papers from selected lasers discussed within these chapters.

Final Grade:




Term Paper

20 pages with at least 15 peer reviewed references



In Class presentation on selected research topic



1 per Semester






Chapters 1 and 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13