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PH5181 - Photonics Laboratory 1

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.

Module coordinator

Dr B D Sinclair

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

Module description

The photonics teaching laboratory gives training in the experimental photonics, and allows students the opportunity to explore photonics practically in a series of chosen open-ended investigations. Students use their knowledge and skills from the lecture modules, supplemented by additional reading, to investigate relevant photonic effects. Phase I involves work in small groups in introductory areas, then phase II allows primarily individual investigation of topics such as the second harmonic generation, optical parametric oscillation, erbium amplifiers, Nd lasers, optical tweezers, spectroscopy, remote sensing of speed, Brag reflectors, and holography.

Relationship to other modules


Admission pre-requisite

Assessment pattern

As used by St Andrews

Coursework = 100%


No Re-Assessment available, lab-based module

Learning and teaching methods and delivery

Weekly contact

3 x 3.5 hr in-person lab or direct lab prep

Additional information from school

PH5181 - Photonics Laboratory 1

Aims & Objectives

  • To give students training and experience in designing, carrying out, evaluating, and reporting on experimental aspects of photonics.
  • To provide an environment where students can explore aspects of photonics.

Learning Outcomes

  • A deep knowledge of photonics
  • An improved ability to use experimental kit of relevance to photonics
  • An improved ability to plan and use experiment, computation, and reading to explore science
  • An improved ability to report and discuss aspects of experimental investigations and associated science
  • An improved ability in generic skills such as planning experiments, risk assessment, record keeping, data handling and evaluation, uncertainty analysis, drawing evidence-based conclusions. Identifying useful further work.


  • Introduction
  • Work on exploring laser power and modes
  • Wrk on key aspects of experimental optics
  • Training in use of Matlab for mathematical modelling and exploration of photonics
  • Student-chosen individually-carried-out experimental investigations
  • Communication of outcomes through discussion, lab books


Admission to a Taught Postgraduate Photonics programme within the School




Coursework = 100%

Additional information on continuous assessment etc.

Please see the MSc and EngD Handbook

Recommended Books

Please view University online record:

General information

Please see information in the Handbook for CDT and MSc students in Photonics.