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Experimental Physics 3 (Optics and Quantum Physics)

Module PH0003 [ExPh 3]

This module handbook serves to describe contents, learning outcome, methods and examination type as well as linking to current dates for courses and module examination in the respective sections.

Module version of WS 2020/1 (current)

There are historic module descriptions of this module. A module description is valid until replaced by a newer one.

Whether the module’s courses are offered during a specific semester is listed in the section Courses, Learning and Teaching Methods and Literature below.

available module versions
WS 2020/1WS 2019/20WS 2018/9WS 2017/8WS 2010/1

Basic Information

PH0003 is a semester module in German language at Bachelor’s level which is offered in winter semester.

This Module is included in the following catalogues within the study programs in physics.

  • Mandatory Modules in Bachelor Programme Physics (3rd Semester)
  • Physics Modules for Students of Education

If not stated otherwise for export to a non-physics program the student workload is given in the following table.

Total workloadContact hoursCredits (ECTS)
240 h 120 h 8 CP

Responsible coordinator of the module PH0003 is Stefan Schönert.

Content, Learning Outcome and Preconditions


1. Electromagnetic waves
1.1 Fourier transformation
1.2 Phase and group velocity
1.3 The dispersion of light

2. Electromagnetic waves at the boundary conditions
2.1 Huygens' principle
2.2 Transmission and reflection
2.3 Reflection of absorbing media
2.4 Diffusion of light

3. Geometrical optics
3.1 Fermat's principle
3.2 The prism
3.3 The optical image
3.3.1 Spherical mirrors
3.3.2 Refracting spherical surfaces
3.3.3 Thin lenses
3.3.4 Thick lenses
3.3.5 Optical instruments (the eye, camera, microscope, telescope)
3.3.6 Optical aberrations
3.3.7 Adaptive optics

4. Wave properties of light
4.1 Fresnel-Kirchhoff Diffraction
4.1.1 Single-slit diffraction
4.1.2 Double-slit diffraction and interference
4.1.3 Diffraction and interference on gratings
4.1.4 Diffraction in crystals
4.2 Coherence
4.2.1 Interferometry
4.2.2 Thin-film interference
4.2.3 Anti-reflections coatings
4.2.4 The Fabry-Perot interferometer
4.3 Resolution of optical instruments
4.4 Abbé's theory of image formation - Fourier optics
4.5. Holograms
4.6 Polarisation
4.6.1 Linear polarisation
4.6.2 Circular polarisation
4.6.3 Double diffraction
4.7 Introduction to non-linear optics

5. Quantum phenomena
5.1 The photoelectric effect
5.2 The Compton effect
5.3 Bremsstrahlung
5.4 X-rays
5.5 Pair production
5.6 Angular momentum of photons
5.7 Radiation laws
5.7.1 Black-body radiation
5.7.2 Cosmic background radiation
5.8 Lasers
5.9 Matter waves
5.9.1 Wave packets
5.9.2 Probability interpretation

Learning Outcome

After successful completion of the module the students will be able to apply the laws of geometrical optics as well as to understand the functionality and limitations of simple optical instruments. Furthermore the students are able to understand the phenomena of diffraction and interference and will have got to know the resulting applications of complex instruments and methods, for example in holography. The students are able to describe the transition from classical physics to quantum physics and use these concepts to solve problems.


PH0001, PH0002, MA9201, MA9202, MA9203

for students studying bachelor of science education mathematics / physics: PH0001, PH0002, MA9935, MA9936

Courses, Learning and Teaching Methods and Literature

Courses and Schedule

VO 2 Experimental Physics 3 in English Sharp, I.
Assistants: Deschler, F.
Mon, 14:00–16:00, virtuell
VO 4 Experimental Physics 3 Schönert, S. Mon, 08:30–10:00, virtuell
Thu, 12:00–14:00, virtuell
UE 2 Open Tutorial to Experimental Physics 3 Höffer von Loewenfeld, P. Rohr, C.
Responsible/Coordination: Schönert, S.
Mon, 14:00–16:00, virtuell
UE 2 Exercise to Experimental Physics 3 Rohr, C.
Responsible/Coordination: Schönert, S.
dates in groups eLearning

Learning and Teaching Methods

In the lecture "Experimental Physics 3" the learning content is presented via ex-cathedra teaching using instructive examples and showing demonstration experiments. The students are encouraged to engage in scientific discussions, to revisit the learning content themselves and to work through the textbooks mentioned in the section "Literature".

The open tutorial provides the opportunity for solving problems based on the learning content of the lecture for oneself or as a group. The open tutorial is overseen by different tutors an leaves room for further discussions and exchange with other students. Problem solving strategies are presented and the students are asked to revisit the learning content relevant for the specific problem set and to apply these problem solving strategies.

The tutorial is held in small groups. The students are asked to work out the solutions to the weekly problem sets themselves at home before coming to the tutorial. In this way the students can control and deepen their understanding of the methods and concepts presented in the lecture. During the tutorial solutions to the weekly problem set are presented by the students and the tutor. The tutorial  provides room for discussions and additional explanations to the lectures, prepares for the problems of the exam and rehearses the specific competencies.

The lecture "Experimental Physics 3 in English" is optional. Some of the learning contents of the much more comprehensive mandatory physics lecture "Experimental Physics 3" (held in German language) are briefly revisited in this lecture. The lecture "Experimental Physics 3 in English" puts a slightly different focus than the mandatory physics lecture and provides the opportunity to come in contact with the profession-specific English jargon.

The different teaching formats are closely intertwined and the lecturers are in constant exchange.


Presentation on the blackboard as well as slides

Experiments are used for demonstration purposes (descriptions available for download)

Videos (partly available for download)

Script available for download

Weekly problems with solutions available for download


W. Zinth, H.J. Körner; Experimentalphysik III, Oldenbourg-Verlag
W. Demtröder: Experimentalphysik 2 & 3, Springer-Verlag, 3. Auflage
E. Hecht, A. Zajac; Optics, Addison-Wesley Verlag
H. Haken, H.C. Wolf: Atom- und Quantenphysik, Springer Verlag, 8. Auflage

Module Exam

Description of exams and course work

There will be a written exam of 90 minutes duration. Therein the achievement of the competencies given in section learning outcome is tested exemplarily at least to the given cognition level using calculation problems and comprehension questions. The exam is in german.

For example an assignment in the exam might be:

  • Construct the optical path through a galilei spyglass with given lens radii and calculate the vertical amplification.
  • In the reflected light of a soap bubble one sees yellow light under an angle of 45°. Calculate the thickness of the soap bubble.
  • A light quanta (0,003 nm) is elastically scattered on a resting electron under an angle of 90°. Calculate the de Broglie wavelength of the electron.

Participation in the exercise classes is strongly recommended since the exercises prepare for the problems of the exam and rehearse the specific competencies.

There will be a bonus (one intermediate stepping of "0,3" to the better grade) on passed module exams (4,3 is not upgraded to 4,0). The bonus is applicable to the exam period directly following the lecture period (not to the exam repetition) and subject to the condition that the student passes the mid-term of

  • passing the voluntary test exam during the semester
  • sensibly preparing at least 50% of the problems for presentation in the tutorials

Exam Repetition

The exam may be repeated at the end of the semester.

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