Course Title: Lasers and Holography

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Lasers and Holography

Credit Points: 12.00

Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


135H Applied Sciences


Sem 1 2006

Course Coordinator: Associate Professor Philip Wilksch

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 2145

Course Coordinator Email:

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

Since this course is an elective open to students of other programs, it accommodates a range of levels of development of capability in incoming students. The knowledge assumed is physics and mathematics at first year level. Familiarity with basic laboratory skills such as recording of procedures and results in a laboratory journal is assumed. Students are expected to know how to go about finding information in the library and on the internet.

Course Description

This course is an elective offered particularly to students doing physics-related programs within the Bachelor of Science degree, but designed to be of general interest to any student with a moderate background in physics and mathematics. It deals with some of the fascinating and recently-discovered aspects of coherent light: its generation with lasers and its application to the production of holograms. Lasers and holograms are impressive and arresting pieces of technology in themselves, but the basic principles governing them are also used in many areas of cutting-edge technology. A familiarity with them will improve students’ understanding of this technology, and prepare them for further research or professional work in modern optical fields.
The theory of laser operation is explained and illustrated with examples of several different types of laser. Applications of laser light are explored, with special emphasis on holography. The course shows how holograms work and how they are produced, along with some of their uses.
The course is designed to extend the knowledge and experience of the student in the specialised area of lasers and holography, to illustrate applications of principles, and to give students an opportunity to pursue their specialist interests in this area through individual study and presentation of their work.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

The primary capabilities developed by this course are:
Knowledge capability: be particularly well informed about specialist areas according to specialist interest. Developed to high level in area of lasers and holography.
Technical capability: demonstrate experience and knowledge in a broad range of experimental techniques: specifically the production of holograms.
Communication: display highly developed written communication skills and/or ability in giving oral presentations, through preparation of a report or presentation on some aspect of the course.
Professional awareness: be familiar with regulations and precautions regarding safe use of lasers.
The syllabus for this course covers the following:
1. Basics of light interference and coherence
2. Generation of coherent light by stimulated emission
3. Fundamentals of the laser
4. Laser beam properties
5. Laser safety
6. Types of laser
7. Laser applications
8. Fundamentals of holography
9. Types of hologram
10. Equipment and processes for holography
11. Applications of holography
To cope with the range of existing capabilities to be expected in the class, auxiliary background resource material will be available for the benefit of those with less preparation.
Lists of recommended references and other resource material will assist students in exploration of particular topics for their reports and presentations.
Practical experience will include demonstrations and inspection of different types of laser, and setting up and using equipment for making holograms.
On successful completion of this course, students will:
• be able to expound the basic physical principles applying to coherent light and its production with lasers;
• be able to relate the basic physical principles of holographic recording and reconstruction;
• be familiar with a range of types and applications of lasers;
• be familiar with the practical recording and replay of holograms, and be able to make a hologram;
• be able to carry out calculations to evaluate the safety of laser radiation;
• develop particular familiarity with some specialised aspect of lasers or holography, and be able to communicate this information to peers.

Overview of Learning Activities

Students will learn through a combination of a series of lectures, the provision of course notes and the supply of a list of resource material including library and internet references. Students with less complete background knowledge may need to use materials from physics courses at lower levels.
Students will assimilate this knowledge and gain experience in applying it through a set of assignment questions, incorporating mainly numerical exercises. These will include some calculations to evaluate the safety of laser radiation in some particular given circumstances.
Practical experience in making holograms will be gained, where facilities permit, by students working in small groups in the holography laboratory. Some principles and processes will be demonstrated to the class by the lecturer.
Students will apply and integrate their knowledge and experience through the preparation of a report and/or presentation on a particular aspect of the course.

Overview of Learning Resources

Lecture notes for the course will be made available. Lists of useful supplementary texts and other references will also be supplied to assist students in broadening their study of the course. Use will be made of the School’s holography laboratory.

Overview of Assessment

Knowledge capability will be assessed partly through students’ completion of written assignments during semester. These assignments will include exercises in laser safety evaluation. Student’s learning will also be assessed through a report/presentation on some aspect chosen by the student in consultation with the coordinator. This exercise will also assess the students’ ability to communicate the information that they have researched.
Technical ability may be assessed through an end-of-semester practical examination, in which students in small groups (two or three) are required to set up for and carry out the exposure of a hologram. If class numbers are too large to permit this, a written examination or assignment may be used in its place.