Electromagnetic Radiation and Optical Properties


This module is about the way light interacts with matter. The wide-ranging optical properties observed in materials are classified and associated with the general phenomena of electromagnetic propagation, radiation and scattering, occurring while light propagates through, transmits, or is incident upon optical media. The module starts from the Maxwell’s equations, deals with the propagation, scattering and radiation of electromagnetic waves in various geometries and media, and presents optical properties of electronic, optical and advanced materials, giving insight to various optical applications.


  • Vector analysis and Maxwell’s equations. Fundamental field equations. Electric field and electric potential. Electrical properties of matter. Capacitance and electromagnetic energy. Dielectric materials. Methods of determining electric field and potential.
  • Light. Wave equations and optical constants. Classical and quantum theory of light.
  • Wave propagation and polarization. Reflection and transmission. Waves in inhomogeneous and layered media. Radiation and scattering equations.
  • Radiation from apertures and beam waves. Dispersion and anisotropic media.
  • Scattering of waves by conducting and dielectric objects.
  • Waves in cylindrical structures, spheres, and wedges.
  • Classical theory of light-matter interaction. Quantum theory of light-matter interaction.
  • Electron-nuclei interaction. Optical spectra of materials. Light interactions with solids.
  • Scattering by turbulence, particles, diffuse medium, and rough surfaces.
  • Waves in metamaterials and plasmon. Nanomaterials.
  • Optical properties of metals and non-metals. Luminescence. Thermal emission. Photo-conductivity.
  • Optical applications. Solitons. Optical fibers. Lasers.
  • Solid surface. Scanning tunneling microscopy. Atomic force microscopy. Electron microscopy in scanning and in transmission mode. Confocal microscopy.
  • Tissue structure. Optical coherence tomography. Fluorescence diffuse optical tomography.

Learning Outcomes

  • Learning the ways light interact with matter.
  • Familiarizing with electromagnetic wave theory.
  • Understanding electromagnetic wave propagation, radiation and scattering.
  • Dealing with the optical properties of materials (refraction, polarization, reflection, absorption, photoluminescence, transmittance, diffraction, dispersion, dichroism, scattering, birefringence, color, photosensitivity).
  • Introductory understanding of electromagnetic and optical applications in electronics, telecommunications, and biomedicine.


1. Electromagnetic Wave Propagation, Radiation, and Scattering, by A. Ishimaru, Wiley-IEEE Press, 2017.
2. Advanced Engineering Electromagnetics, by C.A. Balanis, Wiley, 2012.
3. Optical Properties of Solids: An Introductory Textbook, by K. Locharoenrat, CRC Press, 2016.
4. Optical Properties of Solids, by M. Fox, Oxford University Press, 2010.
5. Electronic, Magnetic, and Optical Materials, by P. Fulay and J.-K. Lee, CRC Press, 2016.
6. Optical Properties of Advanced Materials, by Y. Aoyagi and K. Kajikawa (Editors), Springer, 2013.
7. Optical Properties and Spectroscopy of Nanomaterials, by J.Z. Zhang, World Scientific, 2009.
8. Non-Linear Optical Properties of Matter – From Molecules to Condensed Phase, by M.G. Papadopoulos, A.J. Sadlej, and J. Leszczynski (Editors), Springer, 2006.

External Evaluator

To be announced

Responsible Academic

Ass. Prof. Ioannis Vardiambasis (TEI of Crete)

Awarded ECTS