2016 Laser Physics

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Academic unit or major
Graduate major in Physics
Kanamori Hideto 
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Course description and aims

Starting from an understanding of basic phenomena of light and materials known as spontaneous emission and induced emission, the instructor explains principles of lasers configured from inverted distribution and an optical resonator. The instructor introduces the concept of coherence effective for characterizing properties of laser light generated, and makes clear the difference with normal light. Then the instructor will explain the coherent state formed as a result of a material interacting with coherent light. Students start from an isolated two-level system as a suitable material system, and are then introduced to a density matrix to expand to a many-body system of sets. We also cover relaxation phenomena such as T1, T2. We finally go over the features of many types of lasers, and classify them to introduce real, applied examples.

Student learning outcomes

After gaining an understanding of the basic principles of laser oscillation based on space mode, the difference between lasers and normal light, and the basics of coherent interaction, students will study the quantum state of coherent materials that cannot be realized with normal light sources. Students will also gain an understanding of the operating principles and features of all kinds of lasers, acquiring knowledge about their applications.


spatial mode, spontaneous emission, induced emission, population invesion, optical resonator, coherence, density matix, ultra-short pulse

Competencies that will be developed

Intercultural skills Communication skills Specialist skills Critical thinking skills Practical and/or problem-solving skills
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Class flow

A lecture note with several blanks is provided in advance. Instead of black board, descriptions are directly written on screen by a pen tablet computer. Hearing the explanation, students fill in the blanks and complete the lecture note.

Course schedule/Required learning

  Course schedule Required learning
Class 1 absorption and emission of light Einstein’s theory of spontaneous and induced emission
Class 2 principle of a laser population inversion and optical resonator
Class 3 character of laser oscillation rate equation of laser oscillation
Class 4 Coherence of laser light time and space coherence
Class 5 coherent interaction between light and two level system Rabi oscillation
Class 6 motion equation of density matrix optical Bloch equation
Class 7 continuous wave and ultra-short pulse laser mode locking
Class 8 character and classification of various lasers solid-state, liqid and gas lasers


lecture note is distributed.

Reference books, course materials, etc.

Introduction to laser physics, Koich Shimoda, Iwanami.
Thequantum theory of light, Loudon, Oxford.

Assessment criteria and methods

Learning achievement is evaluated by a final exam.

Related courses

  • PHY.C446 : Light and Matter I
  • PHY.C447 : Light and Matter II
  • PHY.C448 : Light and Matter III
  • PHY.C343 : Chemical Physics

Prerequisites (i.e., required knowledge, skills, courses, etc.)

Quantum mechanics

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