Module code: PHYM061

Module provider


Module Leader

FLORESCU M Dr (Physics)

Number of Credits


ECT Credits



FHEQ Level 7

JACs code

Module cap (Maximum number of students)


Module Availability

Semester 2

Overall student workload

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting

Alternative Assessment

Alternative Assessment: Where an alternative assessment is needed for an individual student, a suitably scaled individual research/design project will be offered, and assessed by means of an individually authored technical report, representing 30% of the module mark. It will not be possible to achieve the learning outcomes related to group research and oral presentation.

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module overview

The module addresses the advanced physics and technology of photonic nanostructures, where photons and/or electrons are spatially confined to dimensions comparable to or smaller than their wavelength. The propagation of the light and its interaction with matter are determined by factors such as length scales, periodicity, and dimensionality, and lead to phenomena not observed in nature. This is a rapidly developing field where fundamental science and technological advance hand-in-hand, and the module aims to demonstrate how new science drives new technologies that have a significant impact on society, for example through energy production, communications, and healthcare.

Module aims

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Module content

Indicative content includes:

A. Introduction and Review

1. Introduction

What is photonics? What is nanotechnology?

Description of module: organisation, teaching methods, assessment

A look ahead: nanophotonics and the quantum playground


2. Brief review of physics of photons and electrons

These review lectures briefly summarize the minimum background in Electromagnetism (EM) and Quantum Mechanics (QM) required for this module.  They also introduce concepts, methodology and nomenclature to be followed in the module.

Wave equations: propagation, dispersion, velocities, impedance

Interfaces, barriers and tunnelling

Confinement: total internal reflection, standing waves, waveguides and resonant cavities

Materials: dielectrics, metals, and semiconductors

EM waves: Maxwell’s equations and EM wave equation, in dielectrics and metals

Electron waves and Schrödinger equation

Semi-classical interaction of light and atoms

Light emission and lasers


3. Introduction to optical resonators and micro-cavities

Light emission and lasers

Losses and Quality (Q) factor of a resonator

Finesse, re-spectral range, and mode volume
Fabry-Perot resonators
'Whispering gallery' micro cavities (disks, rings, spheres, tori)


4.  Waves in periodic media

Electromagnetic propagation in periodic media: Floquet (Bloch) theorem, Bloch waves, and band structure
Analytical solution of wave equation in linear non-dispersive periodic medium

Distributed Bragg Reflectors, bandgaps and minibands

Overview of computational methods: Fourier methods, Transfer Matrix, FDTD

Electron waves in semiconductors, heterostructures and super lattices


B.  Light in Nanostructures


5. Photonic crystals

Photonics crystals and photonic bandgaps (PBG) in periodic, quasiperiodic and disordered dielectric structures

Dispersion of 1D photonic crystal

Natural and man-made photonic crystals; from butterfly wings to “holey fibres”

2D and 3D PBGs

Defects, cavities and photonic crystal resonators

PBGs for functional photonic components

Dispersion control and ‘slow light’


6. Meta materials and negative refraction

Conditions for negative refraction

Consequences for refraction and Doppler shift

Materials and structures for negative refraction

Scaling of operation frequency with size

An application (selected from: superlens, invisibility cloak, trapped light)

Meta materials and negative refraction


7. Plasmonics

Bulk and surface plasmons: derivation of dispersion relation

Plasmons in nanoparticles: resonance and field enhancement

Plasmonic cavities

Applications: from solar cells to cancer therapy 


C.  Electrons in Nanostructures

8. Low-dimensional semiconductors

Density of states, dimensionality and quantum electronics

Nanostructures as ‘artificial atoms’

Excitons and Stark shifts


9. Application to Photovoltaics

Principles (not details) of applying concepts from nanophotonics to improve efficiency of photovoltaic solar cells


10. Nanophotonics for Quantum Optics

Second quantisation approach to light-matter interactions

Nanophotonic structures for coherent, nonlinear and quantum optics


11. Research exercise on latest developments in an advanced topic in nanophotonics. Indicative examples:

Quantum dots as artificial atoms

Thresholdless laser

Coupled microcavity rays

Nonlinear ptics(e.g., aan lasers)

Single and ntangled poton sourcs

Single toquantumdot laser

Engineering optimisation and manufacturability of advanced laser structures


Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:

deliver core material in a familiar format of traditional lectures, supported by occcasional tutorials and students’ reading;

incorporate a synoptic element: integrating understanding gained in compulsory modules on electromagnetism, quantum mechanics and solid-state physics, and refreshing some key physical concepts in preparation for employment or further studies after graduation;

provide a taste of R&D perfomed in a small group, in preparation for environments likely to be encountered post-graduation;

provide an experience of written and oral presentation of technical material, typical of what might be required in technical employment or postgraduate research.


The learning and teaching methods include:

3 hours lectures/tutorials per week, including:

7 hours supervised group work (1 hour foundation plus 2 hours per week x3)

monitoring group progress (with intervention where required) on SurreyLearn discussion boards

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate:

(1) technical knowledge and understanding of the core principles of nanophotonics, and

(2) understanding of an advanced aspect of nanophotonics achieved through a research exercise, and

(3) skills in group working and technical reporting.


Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

final exam on core principles of nanophotonics (2 hours)

group-authored technical report (6 pages max) on advanced nanophotonics

individual oral presentation (7 mins max)


Formative assessment and feedback

Problem sheets on the material delivered in lectures will be available, with follow-up tutorials, which allow the students to test their understanding of course material. Model answers and verbal feedback are provided to allow the students to assess their progress.  For the coursework, a brief progress report and completion plan, and a dissemination plan, are due 3 and 1 weeks respectively before the submission deadline, each followed by in-class feedback to each group.


Reading list


Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2017/8 academic year.