Lectures are scheduled between 9:00 and 17:00 each day with breaks for light refreshments and lunch. Additional laboratory demonstrations will be presented after the lectures on Monday to Thursday and there will be a Welcome Reception held after the laboratory demonstrations on the first day.

IoP members can claim 3 CPD points per hour.

A brief summary of course topics

N.B. It may be necessary to make minor changes to the syllabus depending on the availability of the presenters.

Accordian widget - schedule

Geometrical Optics and Aberration Theory

Prof R W Smith
Laws of reflection and refraction, Gaussian optics, stops and pupils, aberrations in terms of rays and wavefronts. Aberration types, Seidel aberrations, chromatic aberration, Seidel aberrations of thin lenses.

Physical optics

Prof Peter Török

  • Scalar waves, two-beam interference. 
  • Diffraction theory of image formation. 
  • Aberrations. 
  • Coherence. 
  • Extended objects, transfer functions.

Design of Imaging Systems

Mr J Maxwell

  • Fundamental anatomy of specifications for corrected optical systems.
  • The Characteristics and importance of aberrations and their balancing. 
  • Aberration correction techniques. 
  • Use of aspherics. 
  • Influence of computers. 
  • Photographic objectives, microscope optics, reflecting and catadioptric optical systems.

Interferometry and Testing

Prof R W Smith

  • Wavefront testing using Fizeau, Twyman-Green, common path and shearing interferometers. 
  • Knife edge and star image tests. 
  • Resolution and modulation tests.
  • Interference microscopy.

Thin Film Optics

Prof R C Thompson

  • Propagation of electromagnetic waves in layered media. 
  • Anti-reflection coatings, high reflectance mirrors, bandpass filters, polarising beam splitters. 
  • Narrow band interference filters.


Prof G H C New
Principle of laser action, stimulated emission and population inversion, pumping mechanisms, CW and pulsed operation, laser cavities and laser modes, review of different types of laser, Q-switching, mode-locking and ultrashort pulses.


Prof M A A Neil

  • Principles of holography. 
  • Recording materials. 
  • Diffraction efficiency, thick and thin reflection and transmission holograms.
  • Hologram aberrations. 
  • Applications, including holographic interferometry, diffractive optical elements and display holography.

LasersLight Detectors

Dr K Weir

  • Wavelength dependence of sensitivity. 
  • Signal conversion.
  • Photoconductors, photovoltaics and photomultipliers. 
  • Attainable signal to noise ratios. 
  • Practical considerations.


Prof P M W French
Advanced microscopy including confocal and nonlinear modalities; multi-parameter fluorescence imaging resolved with respect to wavelength, lifetime and polarisation; imaging through biological tissue.