Physics 471 - Winter 2019

Welcome to Physics 471!

Winter 2019

General Information

Instructor: John S. Colton
Office: N335 ESC
Office hours in room N361: Tues 3:30-5, Thur 4:30-6, Fri 5-6--but only the day before HW is due (or on Friday, in the case of HW being due on Monday)

TA: Spencer Thevenin, 
Office hours in room N361: M 3-5, Th 11-1, F 3-5 (every M Th F)

Additional office hours available by appointment.

Quick Links


  • The syllabus and tentative schedule is available on Max. If you'd like a hardcopy you'll to print that out yourself.


Here are handouts for/from various class periods, to be updated throughout the semester.


Downloads for Homework Problems

  • Here are the "knife edge technique" data files, laser power vs. x. The numbers in the file names indiate the location the knife edge was for each set of data, i.e. the z-value in mm. The x-values of the data in the files are also in mm. The units of the y-values of the given data (power meter readings) are unimportant.
  • Color stuff for HW 15:
    • Here is a plot of the color matching functions: plot of CIE 1931 color matching functions.pdf  (I will bring hardcopies to class)
    • Here is a plot of the chromaticity diagram: CIE 1931 color space chromaticity diagram.pdf  (I will bring hardcopies to class)
    • Here is the website link where you can download the numerical values of the color matching functions:  //  There are a few different versions of the color matching functions. Let's stick to the original 1931 functions (they are also the ones shown in the plot two bullet points above), even though some modifications have been made since then which should make the more recent ones more accurate. To download the original 1931 functions go to the cvrl website then:
      • Click the "CMFs" link on the left
      • Click the second "E/w" button below the "CIE 1931 2-deg, XYZ CMFs" title to download a file (the first button gives points every 5 nm, the second button gives points every 1 nm).


  • Here are several optics animations, many developed by Dr. Peatross as he was writing the textbook.
  • Here's an animation illustrating what the free spectral range means. The y-axis is the transmission of a Fabry-Perot interferometer with F = 100; the x-axis is the separation distance d, going from 0.9999 cm to 1.0001 cm. One plot (the blue curve) is for lambda = 500 nm. The other plot (tan curve) is for lambda = 500 nm + (a small delta lambda), and the plot is animated based on the value of delta lambda. The changing delta lambda is given in the plot label. You can see what happens as delta lambda is varied from 0 to 2x the FSR of 0.0125 nm.
  • Here are depictions of spherical waves from point sources
    waves from a point source
    waves from two point sources
  • Here's an animation illustrating the Rayleigh criterion by plotting the sum of two jinc^2 functions.


Lecture Notes from Winter 2012

The lectures in Winter 2019 will likely be pretty similar for a given topic, so these are posted to assist those who need to miss a class period.

Old Exams