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Optics Short Course to be Offered
Posted: 01/05/2012 by AFIT Public Affairs

Course Overview
This short course provides a basic introduction to the theoretical foundations of applied optics. The course is offered by the Center for Directed Energy (CDE) at the Air Force Institute of Technology.

Lead Instructor:
Maj. Timothy Russell, Assistant Professor of Physics, AFIT

Course Details
This is a 32 hour course for the practicing engineer who will be working with optics. The course provides a basic introduction to the theoretical foundations of applied optics and it follows the optics book by Eugene Hecht. A better understanding of the course material is helped with knowledge of electro-magnetic but not essential for application of the theory presented. The course develops the Fresnel Equations and the fundamental laws of geometric optics. Paraxial (Gaussian) optics is presented with emphasis on pupils, stops, and field-of-view determination. Basic geometric calculations based on the lens maker's equation include the use of matrix optics. The student is introduced to first order calculations of aberrations with a complete discussion on the Seidel aberrations and the types of distortion. Diffraction is presented with development of Fresnel and Fraunhofer approximations for propagation calculations. Included are topics on diffraction gratings and Fabry-Perot for spectroscopy. The student will be prepared to set up an optical system with the ability to calculate entrance/exit pupils, image locations, magnifications and the systems' field-of-view. The course material includes the book by Hecht and a soft and hard copy of all slides.


  • Huygens' and Fermat's Principles
  • Snell's Law, EM formulation of Fresnel
  • Equations & the Laws of Geometrical Optics
  • Gaussian Optics, Image Formation, pupils, stops, matrix optics, aberrations
  • Diffraction, Fresnel and Fraunhofer Integrals

Intended Audience
The course is intended for scientists and engineers who enjoy working with optics.

Course Instructors (Not all instructors will participate in every offering.)
Salvatore J. Cusumano, Center for Directed Energy, AFIT. B.S.E.E. Air Force Academy 1971, M.S.E.E. AFIT 1977, Ph.D. University of Illinois 1988. Dr. Cusumano's research experience includes resonator alignment, intra-cavity adaptive optics, phased arrays, telescope control, pointing and tracking, adaptive optics, and component technology for directed energy. He holds two patents (jointly) for his work in phased arrays.

Michael A. Marciniak, Engineer Physics Department, AFIT, received the BS degree in Mathematics-Physics from St. Joseph's College in 1981, the BSEE degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 1983, and the MSEE (electro-optics specialization) and PhD (semiconductor physics specialization) degrees from the Air Forced Institute of Technology (AFIT) in 1987 and 1995, respectively. He is a retired USAF Lieutenant Colonel with 22 years of service and currently Associate Professor in the Department of Engineering Physics at AFIT with research interests in various aspects of light-matter interaction, including polarimetric scatterometry and thermal radiation of nanostructured materials, optical signatures, and high-energy-laser damage assessment.

Maj. Timothy Russell, Assistant Professor of Physics (2005-2008), Department of Engineering Physics, AFIT Appointment Date: 2005 (AFIT/ENP); BA, United States Air Force Academy, 1995; MS, University of Arizona, 1996; PhD, Air Force Institute of Technology, 2001. Maj Russell's research interests include nonlinear optics and fiber laser devices. Specific areas include coherent phasing of fiber amplifiers, phase conjugation, and stimulated Brillouin scattering. He has previously conducted and managed research into munition guidance using laser radar and high-power, solid-state laser systems. Maj Russell is a member of the Optical Society of America and Tau Beta Pi.

Distance Learning Mode
This mode is mostly asynchronous. The lecture content is prerecorded and can be viewed at any time at the convenience of the student. Lectures are viewed in a web browser and can be downloaded from - or streamed over - the internet. (Both delivery modes are made available, in case a student has problems with one or the other.) More detailed access instructions will be provided upon registration.

The asynchronous lectures are supplemented by synchronous sessions using a webinar service. These sessions are designed to give instructors live "face time" with students, for Q-and-A, and for reinforcing lesson concepts. These meetings also facilitate student-to-student interaction, which is often a valuable tool in the graduate learning setting. To join these web conferences, students will need an internet-connected computer and a telephone. These sessions meet for an hour or so; attendance is not mandatory but highly encouraged. Specific meeting times are determined after students have been polled at the outset of the course. Aside from the weekly webinar sessions of 60 - 90 minutes per week, students can set their own schedule for the course. Nevertheless, students must complete the course within eight weeks.

System requirements include high-speed internet access and a telephone. AFIT uses Microsoft Live Meeting as its webinar service provider. To join the meeting, ideally a small plug-in is installed on the student's computer. This is a one-time installation. If this cannot be accomplished, such as for lack of privileges on the employer's network, the student will still be able to join.

Current Schedule of Offerings
26 March to 20 May 2012, Distance Learning Mode

Registration for the Spring 2012 distance learning class will be available on the DEPS website at the following location:

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