• Offered by Research School of Physics
  • ANU College ANU Joint Colleges of Science
  • Course subject Physics
  • Areas of interest Physics

Optics continues to play a central role in answering the most profound scientific questions of our time. Optics is at the heart of many of the world's most powerful scientific instruments, enabling modern telescopes to achieve previously unimaginable resolution, and probing general relativity with a global network of gravitational wave detectors. This course includes interferometry, electro-optic modulation, light detection, quantum noise, nonlinear optics, photonics and the use of lasers. Expert guest lecturers will describe the application of these techniques to fields such as astronomy, gravitational wave detection and nanophotonics. The course will also provide critical experimental skills with optical instrumentation needed for many areas of research.

This course is co-taught with undergraduate students but assessed separately.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Exhibit a profound comprehension and effectively communicate the core principles and operational mechanisms of a laser.
  2. Demonstrate a high level of expertise in utilising lasers for laboratory work.
  3. To exhibit a profound understanding and apply the principles of optical modulation and detection, while also assessing its performance.
  4. Understand nonlinear optics and photonics phenomena and how the impact modern advanced technological systems
  5. Showcase a profound understanding of nonlinear optics and photonic phenomena, along with their impact on modern advanced technological systems.
  6. Produce comprehensive yet concise laboratory reports founded on experimental observations and theoretical analysis.
  7. Demonstrate effective team work in laboratory experiments.

Indicative Assessment

  1. Examination (30) [LO 1,3,4,5]
  2. 3 x Assignments (30) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]
  3. 2 x Laboratory reports (30) [LO 1,4,5,6,7]
  4. Advanced research case study (10) [LO 1,3,4,5,7]

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.


The expected workload will consist of approximately 130 hours throughout the semester including:

  • Face-to face component which may consist of 3 x 1 hour lectures plus 1 x 3 hour practical per week.
  • Approximately 58 hours of self-directed study which will include preparation for lectures, presentations and other assessment tasks.

Inherent Requirements

To be determined

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must be active in one of the following programs: Master of Science in Theoretical Physics, Master of Science (Adv) in Theoretical Physics, Master of Science in Precision Instrumentation and Measurement, Master of Science (Adv) in Precision Instrumentation and Measurement, Master of Science in Quantum Technology, Master of Science (Adv) in Quantum Technology Incompatible with PHYS3057, ENGN3512 and ENGN6512

Prescribed Texts

Saleh & Teich, Fundamentals of Photonics (John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2001) or later editions.


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

Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you 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). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
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.

First Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
2769 17 Feb 2025 24 Feb 2025 31 Mar 2025 23 May 2025 In Person N/A

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