Course Number
Next Offered
Spring 2024
Primary Program
Electrical and Computer Engineering
Applied Physics Laboratory
Course Format
Onsite, Virtual Live

This course presents a unified perspective on optical propagation in linear media. A basic background is established using electromagnetic theory, spectroscopy, and quantum theory. Properties of the optical field and propagation media (gases, liquids, and solids) are developed, leading to basic expressions describing their interaction. The absorption line strength and shape and Rayleigh scattering are derived and applied to atmospheric transmission, optical window materials, and propagation in water-based liquids. A survey of experimental techniques and apparatus is also part of the course. Applications are presented for each type of medium, emphasizing remote sensing techniques and background noise. Computer codes such as LOWTRAN, FASCODE, and OPTIMATR are discussed. Prerequisite(s): Undergraduate courses on electromagnetic theory and elementary quantum mechanics. A course on Fourier optics is helpful.

Course Offerings


Optical Propagation, Sensing, and Backgrounds

01/25/2024 - 05/02/2024
Thur 7:20 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.
Kossiakoff Center K223
Notes: This course uses the Virtual Live format. It combines the face-to-face class held at APL (section .3VL) with remote students participating online through live web-conferencing. You may choose to attend in-person/on-site or remotely or both. Students who wish to enroll and attend in Virtual Live courses in-person/on-site at the Applied Physics Lab, COVID-19 and Flu vaccination compliance is mandatory for enrollment in this course. All students must upload proof of vaccination or request and receive an exemption in the Vaccination Management System ( prior to the start of class.
Spring 2024
Course Format
Virtual Live
Applied Physics Laboratory
Course Materials