Course detail

Fundaments of Optics

FSI-TZOAcad. year: 2011/2012

In the course basic principles of geometrical and wave optics are presented. Particular attention is paid to applications, especially to design of optical systems.

Learning outcomes of the course unit

Students will acquire basic knowledge needed for design and approximate calculations of optical systems. In the practicals students solve calculations of real optical systems focused on their practical utilisation.


Successful completion of the course General Physics III


Not applicable.

Recommended optional programme components

Not applicable.

Recommended or required reading

Fuka, J. - Havelka, B.: Optika a atomová fyzika I

Planned learning activities and teaching methods

Teaching methods depend on the type of course unit as specified in the article 7 of BUT Rules for Studies and Examinations.

Assesment methods and criteria linked to learning outcomes

Active participation in tutorials (75%) and three written tests. Exam: written.

Language of instruction


Work placements

Not applicable.


The aim of the course is to acquaint students with the basic properties of optical materials from the geometrical-optics point of view, processes taking place at the interface of the optically isotropic environments, and properties of real optical components and their combination. Students will be able to apply this basic knowledge of geometrical optics when designing and constructing optical systems.

Specification of controlled education, way of implementation and compensation for absences

Attendance at the seminars and labs which are stated in the timetable is checked by the teacher. The form and date when missed lessons may be compensated for will be specified by the teacher.

Classification of course in study plans

  • Programme B3A-P Bachelor's

    branch B-FIN , 3. year of study, winter semester, 5 credits, compulsory

  • Programme M2A-P Master's

    branch M-PMO , 1. year of study, winter semester, 5 credits, compulsory

Type of course unit



39 hours, optionally

Teacher / Lecturer


Fundamental laws of geometrical optics. Index of refraction, dispersion of optical materials.
Fermat's principle - law of refraction and reflection at the interface of two isotropic environments.
Plan-parallel plate, wedge prism, prism for refraction - minimal deviation.
Refraction on a spherical plane, passage of a ray through a system of spherical planes, important points and planes, definition of focal distance and magnification.
Thick/thin lenses, imaging formula, lens system and its solution.
Fresnel's formulas for reflection - total reflection, Brewster's angle.
Mirror imaging. Imaging of points at a common plane with tolerated unsharpness.
Limitation of a ray packet in an optical system - fundamental characteristics of optical systems.
Aberrations of optical systems, their classification and methods of their calculations, Herschel's and Abbe's conditions.


12 hours, compulsory

Teacher / Lecturer


Solution of the exercises. The topics will be given in advance.

labs and studios

14 hours, compulsory

Teacher / Lecturer


Determination of the refractive index of the planparallel-plate material from longitudinal picture shift.
Determination of a part of the spectral dispersion curve of refraction-prism material from minimal deviation conditions at several wavelengths.
Measurement of the radius of curvature of spherical optical surfaces.
Measurement of the focal length of thin lenses and optical systems.
Measurement of the angles of optical wedges and prisms utilizing interferometric methods. Presentation of the Askania interferometer.
Polarization of the natural light, methods to create plane-polarized light. Experimental determination of the Brewster angle and the angle of total refraction, and their use in the measurements of refraction indexes of different materials.