IISER Bhopal

Homepage for PHY 201 Waves and Optics
(August-November 2018)

Instructor: Dr. Phani Kumar

Course Content

Simple harmonic motion, Free and damped oscillations, Forced oscillations and resonance, Coupled oscillations and normal modes, Travelling and standing waves, Transverse and longitudinal waves, Wave equation, Plane and spherical waves, Dispersion of waves, Bandwidth theorem for waves, Ray optics, Light waves, Electromagnetic waves, Reflection and refraction, Propagation of light in isotropic media, Interference, diffraction and coherence of light waves


  • A. P. French, Vibrations and Waves (CBS Publishers, 2013).
  • Howard Georgi, The Physics of Waves (2015).
  • H. J. Pain, The Physics of Vibrations and Waves (John Wiley and Sons Ltd., 2006).
  • Richard Fitzpatrick, Oscillations and Waves (CRC Press, 2013).
  • Eugene Hecht, Optics (Pearson Education, 2016).
  • Ariel Lipson, Optical Physics, (Cambridge University Press, 2011).
  • Alessandro Bettini, Waves and Light (Springer Publishers, 2017).

Summary of Lectures

  • Lecture 1 (July 31): Simple harmonic motion (SHM): displacement, velocity and acceleration; analogy between SHM and uniform circular motion.
  • Lecture 2 (August 02): Simple harmonic oscillations: energy; oscillatory damped SHM and definition of quality factor and its interpretations.
  • Lecture 3 (August 03): Damped simple harmonic motion under harmonic driving: steady-state response and resonance effect.
  • Lecture 4 (August 07): Damped SHM under harmonic driving: power absorption; a primer on differential equations.
  • Lecture 5 (August 09): Full solution for a driven, undamped harmonic oscillator which is at rest at its equilibrium position at t=0.
  • Lecture 6 (August 10): Full solution for a damped harmonic oscillator which is at rest at its equilibrium position at t=0 and driven at its natural frequency.
  • Lecture 7 (August 16): Introduction to phase space plots and theory of nonlinear oscillations.
  • Lecture 8 (August 21): Superposition of periodic motions in one and two dimensions.
  • Lecture 9 (August 23): Longitudinal oscillations of two spring-coupled masses.
  • Lecture 10 (August 24): Normal mode analysis of a coupled oscillatory system.
  • Lecture 11 (August 28): Transverse oscillations of a massless string under tension with two beads.
  • Lecture 12 (August 30): Transverse oscillations of a massless string under tension with N beads: towards derivation of wave equation in one dimension.
  • Lecture 13 (August 30): Study of normal mode oscillations of a massive vibrating string with fixed extremes using wave equation.
  • Lecture 14 (August 31): Kinetic and potential energy of a vibrating string and the energy in each normal mode.
  • Lecture 15 (September 04): General motion of continuous string with given initial displacement and velocity.
  • Lecture 16 (September 06): Fourier analysis and its application to a vibrating string for both fixed and free ends.
  • Lecture 17 (September 07): Fourier series expansion of arbitrary periodic functions.
  • Lecture 18 (September 11): Travelling wave solutions of wave equation. Longitudinal and transverse waves. Harmonic waves in one dimension.
  • Lecture 19 (September 13): Wave equation in three dimensions. Electromagnetic (EM) wave equation in vacuum and its harmonic travelling wave solutions.
  • Lecture 20 (September 14): EM waves (continued) and concepts of plane waves, wavefronts and phase velocity.
  • Lecture 21 (September 18): Brief introduction to Fourier transform and its applications in wave physics.
  • Lecture 22 (September 20): Superposition of a large number of simple harmonic vibrations; wave group and bandwidth theorem for waves.
  • Lecture 23 (October 04): Mathematical description of spherical waves emitted by a isotropic light source.
  • Lecture 24 (October 05): The spectrum of electromagnetic waves.
  • Lecture 25 (October 09): Energy density of electromagnetic field and Poynting vector.
  • Lecture 26 (October 11): Plane harmonic EM waves: average intensity, irradiance and energy density.
  • Lecture 27 (October 12): Light waves: momentum and radiation pressure.
  • Lecture 28 (October 23): Propagation of light waves in dielectric media.
  • Lecture 29 (October 25): Reflection and refraction phenomena, concept of light rays, Snells' laws.
  • Lecture 30 (October 26): Wave interpretation of reflection and refraction.
  • Lecture 31 (October 30): Plane waves revisited: concepts of wavefront, phase velocity etc.
  • Lecture 32 (November 1): Superposition and interference of plane waves, constructive and destructive interference.
  • Lecture 33 (November 2): Far field interference of two point sources of light and relations for bright and dark fringes.
  • Lecture 34 (November 6): Huygen's principle and introduction to diffraction.
  • Lecture 35 (November 8): Young's double-slit experiment, conditions for interference.
  • Lecture 36 (November 9): Propagation and distortion of a wave-group in a dispersive medium.
  • Lecture 37 (November 13): Interference from multiple slits.
  • Lecture 38 (November 14): Single-slit Fraunhofer diffraction.
  • Lecture 39 (November 15): Double-slit Fraunhofer diffraction.

Course Schedule

  • Lectures: Tuesday, 8 AM (L1); Thursday, 8 AM (L1); Friday, 2 PM (L1)
  • Tutorials: Thursday, 4 PM (L4)
  • Quiz I: August 23, 4 - 5 PM (L1 & L4)
  • Mid-sem: September 24th, 10 AM - 12 Noon (L1 & L4)
  • Quiz II: October 25, 4 - 5 PM (L1 & L4)
  • End-sem: November 19th, 2:15 PM - 5:15 PM (L3 & L4)

Course Assessment

  • Quizzes I & II: 20%
  • Mid-semester Exam: 30%
  • End-semester Exam: 50%

Last Updated: November 16, 2018