(Course description last updated for academic year 2014-15).

A good grasp of electromagnetism and quantum mechanics is desirable. Atomic and Optical Physics major option is not required as a prerequisite, but it can be beneficial for some parts of the course.

Learning Outcomes and Assessment

These minor option lectures will provide a basic overview on the field of nonlinear optics from classical to quantum-mechanical descriptions of light. A survey of key nonlinear optical processes will be covered and recent advances of the field leading to the generation of nonclassical states of light displaying squeezing and entanglement will be discussed.


Introduction: Historical development of nonlinear optics, physical origins of nonlinear response, anharmonic oscillators, coupled wave equations, classical and quantum mechanical derivation of nonlinear optical susceptibility, symmetry properties of nonlinear susceptibilities.

Second-Order Nonlinear Interactions: second harmonic generation, depleted pump effects, Gaussian beams, pulse propagation in nonlinear medium.

General Parametric Processes: up-conversion, amplification, optical gain, sum- and difference-frequency generation, phase matching, quasi-phase matching.

Ultrafast Pulse Phenomena: amplitude and phase measurement of optical pulses using nonlinear optics, frequency-resolved optical gating and other techniques.

Nonlinearities in Refractive Index: Third-order nonlinearity, Kerr medium, intensity dependence and self-phase modulation, self-focusing, optical filamentation, soliton formation.

Nonclassical light: quantization of electromagnetic waves, parametric fluorescence, squeezed light, quantum correlations and photon statistics, Fock, thermal and coherent states of light, superposition and entanglement, vacuum field and spontaneous emission.

Supervisions: The course will include 3 supervisions to cover example problems and supplementary concepts.


Primary:         Nonlinear Optics, R. W. Boyd, Academic Press, 2003

                       Principles of Nonlinear Optics, Y. R. Shen, Wiley-Interscience, 1984.

                       Introductory Quantum Optics, C. Gerry and P. L. Knight, 2004.


Auxiliary:        Quantum Theory of Light, R. Loudon, OUP, 2000.

                       Optical Coherence & Quantum Optics, L. Mandel & E. Wolf, CUP, 1995. Quantum Electronics, A. Yariv, John Wiley & Sons,                1989.

Course section: