2017 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 interactions of light and maters known as spontaneous emission and induced emission, the instructor explains principle of a laser that consists of inverted population and an optical resonator. The instructor introduces the concept of coherence, which is very useful for characterizing the properties of laser light, and makes clear the difference with ordinary light. Then the instructor will explain the coherent state of a mater formed as a result of interaction with coherent light. We finally go over the features of many types of lasers, and classify them to introduce real, applied examples.

Student learning outcomes

After understanding of an optical resonator combined with the spatial mode, population inversion in matter, amplification process of light in the laser media, generation of ultra-short pulse, students are expected to recognize the difference between laser light and ordinary light by using the idea of coherence. Students will also gain an understanding of the operating principles and features of several kinds of lasers, acquiring knowledge about their applications.


spatial mode, spontaneous emission, induced emission, optical resonator, population inversion, coherence, 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 laser light and ordinary light directivity,monochromaticity,ultra-short pulse, brightness
Class 2 Absorption and emission of light Einstein’s theory of spontaneous and induced emission
Class 3 principle of the laser population inversion and optical resonator
Class 4 Laser amplification and oscillation condition Gain factor and loss Three-level system, four-level system
Class 5 Output characteristics of the laser rate equation of laser oscillation
Class 6 Continuous wave and ultra-short pulse laser Q-switching and mode locking
Class 7 The coherence of light time and space coherence
Class 8 characters and classification of various lasers solid-state, liqid and gas lasers


lecture note with blanks 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 weekly reports and 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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