IO3004 Semiconductor and Nano-Optics 6.0 credits

Halvledar-och nano-optik

The main subject of the course is optical properties of semiconductors and their nanostructures (quantum wells, quantum dots). In addition, basic properties of metal optics and near field optics are discussed.

  • Educational level

    Third cycle
  • Academic level (A-D)

  • Subject area

  • Grade scale

Information for research students about course offerings

Spring term  2012, period 3

Intended learning outcomes

During the course, the students will learn the basics of semiconductor optics. The studied topics include properties of electronic and phonon optical transitions in bulk materials and nanostructures, and as well as electric field and nonlinear effects. In addition, the students will examine some topics that are at the frontiers of contemporary nanooptics. The students will thoroughly analyse the near field radiation and its applications in microscopy and nanophotonics and familiarise themselves with optical properties of metals (plasmonics).

After the completed course, the students should be able to:

• Have basic knowledge about band structure of semiconductor materials, free and bound carriers, excitons, plasmons and phonons, and their influence on optical spectra.

• Define distinctions between direct and indirect, radiative and nonradiative, and allowed and forbidden transitions in semiconductors and their nanostructures.

• Calculate exciton transition energies and energy levels in quantum wells.

• Define distinctions and common features between far and near field light, nano- and conventional optics.

• Characterise near field optical microscopy conditions needed to evaluate such optical properties as luminescence, transmission and refraction. This includes identifying advantages and drawbacks of the technique and making optimal tradeoffs for specific tasks.

• Describe basics and identify important issues in technology and applications of semiconductor nanostructures and plasmonic structures.

• Determine conditions of plasmon generation in planar and spherical plasmonic structures.

Course main content

The topics of the course include:

  • Basics of crystalline and band structure of semiconductor materials, free and bound electrons and holes, excitons, plasmons and phonons.
  • Optical measurement techniques.
  • Interband, intraband, excitonic and phonon optical transitions.
  • Semiconductor nanostructures, including technology and optical properties of quantum dots.
  • Properties of the near field radiation, including generation, detection and analysis.
  • Principles of operation and construction of a scanning near field optical microscope.
  • Plasmonics of thin metallic layers and nanoparticles.


The course consists of 11 two-hour lectures and a demonstration lab. After every lecture, the students are given homework problems.


Knowledge of basics of optics and solid state physics.

Recommended prerequisites

Basic knowledge of optics, semiconductor and laser physics.


Mark Fox, Optical Properties of Solids (Oxford University Press, 2001, 2010).

Supplementary literature:Chapters from M. Ohtsu and K. Kobayashi, Optical Near Fields (Springer, Berlin, 2004), and research papers. Supplementary literature is handed out during the course.


The final exam has the form of a final home assignment.

The final home assignment requires a more sophisticated analysis and synthesis of the course material. Its successful completion indicates that a student is able to link different course topics, can evaluate them critically and make trade-offs in real life experimental situations.

Requirements for final grade

At least 60% of points on homework assignments and 60% on the final home assignment are required to pass the course.

Corses graids are pass and fail.

Offered by

SCI/Applied Physics


Saulius Marcinkevicius


Saulius Marcinkevicius <>

Supplementary information

Language: English

Add-on studies

Advanced courses in solid state physics, thesis work within semiconductor and near-field optics.


Course syllabus valid from: Spring 2012.