FYS203 Interaction of light and matter, laboratory

Credits (ECTS):5

Course responsible:Achim Kohler

Campus / Online:Taught campus Ås

Teaching language:Engelsk

Limits of class size:30

Course frequency:Yearly.

Nominal workload:In total 125 hours.

Teaching and exam period:January block.

About this course

The course will give a theoretical background for understanding absorption of light in matter. The students will get familiar with optical spectroscopy and perform practical laboratory projects where for each project they will obtain a theoretical background, prepare for the lab, perform the lab work, analyze the results, and write a report or give an oral presentation. The laboratory exercises cover:

  • Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy and the Michelson interferometer
  • Different spectroscopic techniques (such as ATR and transmission mode) in different regions of the electromagnetic spectrum (such as THz, MIR, NIR, Vis)

Techniques for data analysis will be taught, and the students will learn how to analyze and discuss the results from the laboratory.

Learning outcome


The student

  • Has specialized knowledge about the absorption of light by matter, and classical models which describes absorption (Lorentz model, Beer-Lambert’s law)
  • Has knowledge about and quantum physical models for absorption of radiation
  • Has specialized knowledge about scattering of radiation by small objects
  • Has specialized knowledge about spectroscopy, and can describe the features observed in absorbance spectra
  • Has in-depth knowledge about the Michelson interferometer, and the Fourier transform sampling technique
  • Has specialized knowledge about different spectroscopic techniques (FTIR, ATR, transmission experiments), from different regions of the electromagnetic spectrum (VIS, NIR, MIR, THz)


The student

  • Can plan and perform experimental work related to spectroscopic measurements
  • Can combine light sources and detectors to make a spectroscopic system
  • Can analyse experimental results and identify sources of noise
  • Can calibrate (what? Set up a calibration function for various spectroscopic instruments.) Is familiar with calibration and know why it is important.
  • Has skills in communicating scientific results, through reports and oral presentations.
  • Is able to analyse and critically evaluate various sources of information and use them to structure and formulate scholarly arguments.

General competence:

The student

  • Can assess different spectroscopic technologies
  • Can work together in a team and analyze experimental data together
  • Can analyze data using Python
  • Can present an analysis both orally and written, in a formalized setup
  • The course contains lectures, cooperative learning, student active learning, mutual assessment and laboratory exercises.
  • Canvas will be used actively.
  • Electrodynamics (FYS236 or similar).

    MATH-INF110 or similar.

    MATH111, MATH112, MATH113 or similar.

  • The execution of and reports on all laboratory tasks must be approved. All reports are sent to an external sensor. The sensor selects one report from each group. At the day of exam, each candidate presents the selected report, followed by questions from the examinators.
  • The sensor participates in the preparation of the exam, in the evaluation of the reports and is present during the oral exam.
  • The course contains activities for cooperative learning and student active learning, where participation is mandatory. Mandatory attendance on laboratory exercises, and written lab reports need to be passed.
  • Organized lectures: 20 hours

    Laboratory exercises: 32 hours

    Self-studies/colloquia: 73 hours

  • Photonics students have priority
  • Letter grades
  • Bachelor in physics or electrical engineering or similar.