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PH5025 - Nanophotonics

Academic year

2021 to 2022 (Semester 1)

Key module information

SCOTCAT credits


The Scottish Credit Accumulation and Transfer (SCOTCAT) system allows credits gained in Scotland to be transferred between institutions. The number of credits associated with a module gives an indication of the amount of learning effort required by the learner. European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) credits are half the value of SCOTCAT credits.

SCQF level

SCQF level 11

The Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) provides an indication of the complexity of award qualifications and associated learning and operates on an ascending numeric scale from Levels 1-12 with SCQF Level 10 equating to a Scottish undergraduate Honours degree.

Availability restrictions

Available only to students in a photonics taught postgraduate programme or the final year of an MPhys Honours Programme

Module coordinator

Prof A Di Falco

This information is given as indicative. Staff involved in a module may change at short notice depending on availability and circumstances.

Module description

Nanophotonics deals with structured materials on the nanoscale for the manipulation of light. Photonic crystals and plasmonic metamaterials are hot topics in contemporary photonics, and form part of the School's research programme. The properties of these materials can be designed to a significant extent via their structure. Many of the properties of these nanostructured materials can be understood from their dispersion diagram or optical band-structure, which is a core tool that will be explored in the module. Familiar concepts such as optical waveguides and cavities, multilayer mirrors and interference effects will be used to explain more complex features such as slow light propagation and high Q cavities in photonic crystal waveguides and supercontinuum generation in photonic crystal fibres. Propagating and localized plasmons will be explained and will include the novel effects of super-lensing and advanced phase control in metamaterials.

Relationship to other modules


Undergraduates: before taking this module you must take PH3061 and ( take PH3081 or take PH3082 ) and ( take PH4027 or take PH4034 or take PH4035 ), postgraduates: students should be familiar with maxwell's equations of electromagnetism in differential form.


You cannot take this module if you take PH5183

Assessment pattern

As used by St Andrews

2-hour Written Examination = 80%, Coursework = 20%

As defined by QAA

Written examinations = 80%
Practical examinations = 0%
Coursework = 20%

The Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) have compiled/developed an indicative list of learning and teaching methods:
  • Written: Is included in this category any assessment done under exam conditions (exams during diets, class tests) that do not involve the use of practical skills.
  • Practical: Are included in this category oral assessment and presentation as well as practical skills assessed in situ (in a classroom or laboratory for instance). Performances in the performing arts context are also classed as practical assessment.
Further details can be found on the QAA website.


Oral Re-assessment, capped at grade 7

Learning and teaching methods and delivery

Weekly contact

2 or 3 1hr lectures x 10 weeks, 1hr workshop x 10 weeks

Scheduled learning hours


The number of compulsory student:staff contact hours over the period of the module.

Guided independent study hours


The number of hours that students are expected to invest in independent study over the period of the module.

Additional information from school

PH5025 - Nanophotonics

Learning Outcomes

Students will be able to:

  • Understand and design basic integrated optics devices, including waveguides and cavities
  • Use coupled mode theory in time domain to model the interaction of light in integrated devices
  • Understand the physics and application of photonic crystals, plasmonic nanostructures and metamaterials


Topics covered include:

  • Light propagation in optical waveguides and cavities
  • Coupled mode theory
  • Photonic crystals
  • Applications of photonic crystal technology
  • Optics of metals
  • Surface plasmon polaritons
  • Localised plasmons
  • Applications of nanoplasmonics
  • Metamaterials and applications

Additional information on continuous assessment etc.

The continuous assessment will be based on 3 assessed tutorials. The solutions will be discussed in dedicated lectures.

General information

Please also read the general information in the School's honours handbook that is available via