• Offered by Physics Education Centre
  • ANU College ANU Joint Colleges of Science
  • Course subject Physics
  • Areas of interest Physics
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in Second Semester 2017
    See Future Offerings

This course builds on the ideas of harmonic motion to cover in depth the concept of waves in physics with particular emphasis on light waves as an example. The foundation of the course is Fourier theory, which will then be used to understand dispersion of waves, image formation in optics and diffraction and other aspects of Fourier optics. The course will finish with some introductory fluid dynamics.

The course material is supported throughout by examples taken from recent research on mechanical systems, nano-optics, atomic physics, biological systems and laser physics. Computer models provide an opportunity to explore various concepts presented in lectures, including models of dispersive waves and wave motion. Complementing the lectures, this course contains a laboratory component.  Some experiments are essentially qualitative and support lecture material, while others allow development of important skills in quantitative experimental physics.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

On satisfying the requirements of this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. Appreciate the efficacy of Fourier transforms and their application to physical systems.
  2. Understand linear, time-invariant systems.
  3. Understand the role of the wave equation and appreciate the universal nature of wave motion in a range of physical systems
  4. Understand dispersion in waves and model dispersion using Fourier theory.
  5. Understand diffraction and imaging in terms of Fourier optics and gain physical and intuitive insight in a range of physics via the spatial Fourier Transform.
  6. Understand optical phenomena such as polarisation, birefringence, interference and diffraction in terms of the wave model.
  7. Understand the foundations of fluid dynamics.
  8. Through the lab course, understand the principles of measurement and error analysis and develop skills in experimental design.

Indicative Assessment

Assessment will be based on:

  • Examination 50% (LO 1-8)
  • Assignments 50% (LO1-8).

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


Approximately twenty-four lectures, up to twelve tutorials and twenty-four hours of laboratory work, plus individual study.

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have completed PHYS1101 and PHYS1201 and MATH1013 and MATH1014. You are not able to enrol in this course if you have previously completed PHYS3035.





Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2017 $3444
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2017 $4590
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

Second Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
7573 24 Jul 2017 31 Jul 2017 31 Aug 2017 27 Oct 2017 In Person N/A

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions