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PhD in Optical Science and Engineering

Optics is an enabler of many scientific and engineering disciplines, providing an essential tool for high-precision tests of fundamental physical laws, modern communication and imaging systems, and biomedical and manufacturing technologies, to name a few important application areas. Its pre-eminence as an interdisciplinary science has been unrivaled since the advent of the laser nearly 40 years ago. The Optical Science and Engineering (OSE) program at UNM has clearly demonstrated added value to the activities of the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) and Physics and Astronomy, (P&D) departments over the past 25 years which is a testament to its broad compass and the recognition by UNM of OSE's unique position in the state's industrial enterprise, including the national and federal laboratories and burgeoning private sector.

OSE PhD Concentrations

  • Optical Science
  • Photonics
  • Imaging Science
  • Quantum Optics

Optics PhD Program

The minimum course work required for the PhD program is as follows:

  • 52 hours of course work for credit, including 30 hours in required courses. To account for the diversity of interests in Optics, the 30 credit hours of required courses have been divided into two categories (see A and B below).
  • 18 dissertation credit hours

OSE Qualifying Examination

  • OSE Qualifying Examination
  • Candidacy Exam (also called Dissertation Proposal Defense)
    After passing the qualifying exam, a PhD student's next task is to find a potential dissertation supervisor and to begin exploratory research with that faculty member. After about a year of initial exploratory research, the student is generally prepared to advance to doctoral candidacy by taking and passing the Candidacy Exam (formerly Dissertation Proposal Defense), which also serves as the Comprehensive Exam in OGS rules. The faculty member who has supervised the student's initial research is the Chair of the Candidacy Exam Committee while the student defends their proposal before an approved faculty committee familiar with the student’s area of research. Once the student successfully passes this exam, the student will be advanced to candidacy and can enroll in 699 Dissertation hours.
  • Dissertation and defense
    Please see the OGS official rules for the requirements for Dissertation Defense.

A. Mandatory

Common Core Course to all Concentrations:

  • Advanced Optics I (PHYC 463 or ECE 463)
  • Experimental Techniques of Optics (PHYC 476L OR 477L)
  • Electrodynamics (PHYC 511 or the ECE 555/ECE 561 sequence)
  • 3 credit hours of seminar, including one Optics seminar

Plus the following core courses depending on the concentration:

Optical Science Concentration

  • Advanced Optics II (PHYC 554 or ECE 554)
  • Laser Physics I (PHYC 464 or ECE 464)
  • Methods in Theoretical Physics I (PHYC 466 or Math 466) or ECE 555
  • Quantum Mechanics I (PHYC 521) or Semiconductor Physics (the ECE 471/ECE 572 sequence)
  • Nonlinear Optics (PHYC 568 or ECE 568)

OR

Photonics Concentration

  • Semiconductor Optical Materials and Devices (ECE 570)
  • Semiconductor Physics (the ECE471/ECE 572 sequence)

OR

Imaging Science Concentration

  • Probability Theory and Stochastic Processes (ECE 541)
  • Digital Image Processing (ECE 533)

B. Option-based

(3 credit hours for Optical Science, 6-9 for Photonics, 9-12 for Imaging Science)

  • Quantum Mechanics I (PHYC 521)
  • Quantum Mechanics II (PHYC 522)
  • Electrodynamics (PHYC 511)
  • Microelectronics Processing Lab (ECE 574L)
  • Nonlinear Optics (PHYC 568 or ECE 568)
  • Optics I (PHYC 463)
  • Advanced Optics II (PHYC 554 or ECE 554)
  • Optics Lab ( 466L / 467L)
  • Condensed Matter I (PHYC 529) or Physics of Semiconductors (ECE 572)
  • Topics in Modern Optics (PHYC 569) or Special Topics (ECE 595)
  • Laser Physics I (PHYC 464 or PHYC 564)
  • Experimental Techniques of Optics (PHYC 476L or 477L)
  • Pattern Recognition (ECE 517)
  • Probability Theory and Stochastic Processes (ECE 541)
  • Digital Image Processing (ECE 533)
  • ECE 539 - Digital signal processing
  • ECE 549 - Information theory and coding
  • ECE 500 - Theory of linear systems
  • ECE 475 - Introduction to electro-optics and opto-electronics
  • ECE 516 - Computer vision
  • ECE 595 - Microwave Photonics
  • ECE 570 - Semiconductor Materials and Optical Devices
  • ECE 547 - Neural networks
  • ECE 581 – Colloidal nanocrystals for biomedical applications
  • ECE 510 - Medical Imaging
  • ECE 512 - Advanced image synthesis
  • ECE 511 – fMRI methods (being developed)
  • ECE 506 - Optimization theory
  • ECE 563 – Computational Methods for Electromagnetics
  • ECE 595 – future course on Detectors and Hardware
  • ECE 642 – Signal detection and estimation
  • Laser Physics II (PHYC 564)
  • Semiconductor Lasers and LEDs (ECE 577)
  • Quantum Optics I (PHYC 566)
  • Quantum Optics II (PHYC 581)
  • Atomic and Molecular Structure (PHYC 531)
  • Methods in Theoretical Physics I (PHYC 466 or Math 466)
  • Foundations of Engineering Electromagnetics (ECE 555)
  • Spectroscopy (Chem 566)
  • Advanced Techniques in Optical Imaging- (Bio 547)
  • Biosensors Fundamentals and Applications ( ChNe 538)
  • Introduction to Optoelectronics (ECE 475)
  • Guided Wave Optics (ECE 564)
  • Optical Communication Components (ECE 565)
  • Synthesis of Nanostructures (ECE 518 or NSMS 518)
  • Nonlinear Dynamics and Chaos (Math 412)
  • Quantum Computation (PHYC 571)
  • Quantum Information Theory (PHYC 572)

Depending on the student, the remaining 22 course work credit hours can be satisfied with a combination of courses (500 level or above) including problems courses and research hours. Students entering the OSE graduate program in the Fall 2011 semester or afterward will follow the new academic rules and requirements pertaining to the 3 areas of concentration.

Current OSE students who were enrolled before June 6, 2011 will be permitted to choose either the old academic rules or the new ones.

All existing OSE students will be categorized as Optical Science concentration students unless they opt to change their concentration.

For changes of Concentration after June 6, 2011 by existing OSE students: For MS students, there is no impact except to take the proper courses as outlined by the OSE program, which will be updated on the OSE website.

For existing OSE students who are post-qualifying exam, switching to the Photonics or Imaging Science concentration will require that the student take the Concentration Examination OR demonstrate an average GPA of 4.0 or greater in their 2 concentration courses. They will be given only one attempt to pass this Concentration Exam.

For those OSE PhD students who have partially passed the PhD qualifying exam prior to 2011, switching their concentration to Photonics or Imaging Science will require that they complete the remaining areas of their Concentration and Core Exams in no more than 2 attempts. Existing students who switch concentrations have until August 2012 to pass all required exams.

New Ph.D. Concentration in Quantum Optics

Courses requirements for the Quantum Optics Concentration:

30 credit hours of core classes consisting of a mixture of mandatory and option-based electives as described below:

A. Mandatory Courses (18 Credit Hours)

  • Laser Physics I - PHYC 464 / ECE464
  • Quantum Mechanics I – PHYC 521
  • Quantum Mechanics II – PHYC 522
  • Electrodynamics – PHYC 511 or ECE 561
  • Quantum Optics – PHYC 566

3 credit hours of seminar, including OSE Graduate Seminar

B. Concentration-specific mandatory courses (9 Credit Hours)

Choice of three courses from the following list:

  • Nonlinear Optics – PHYC 568
  • Advanced Optics I - PHYC 463 / ECE 463
  • Advanced Optics II - PHYC 554 / ECE 554
  • Experimental Optics - 476/477
  • Advanced Topics: Quantum Optics II - PHYC 581
  • Quantum Information Theory – PHYC 572
  • Quantum Computation – PHYC 571
  • Optoelectronic Semiconductor Materials and Devices - ECE 570
  • Semiconductor Physics - ECE 572
  • Digital Image Processing - ECE 533
  • Probability and Stochastic Processes - ECE 541
  • Materials and Devices II – ECE 471

C. Option-based elective (3 Credit Hours):

3 credit hours from the list of OSE approved courses as shown below:

  • Microelectronics Processing Lab (ECE 574L)
  • Nonlinear Optics (PHYC 568)
  • Advanced Optics I (PHYC/ECE 463)
  • Advanced Optics II (PHYC 554 or ECE 554)
  • Condensed Matter I (PHYC 529) or Physics of Semiconductors (ECE 572)
  • Advanced Topics in Modern Optics (PHYC 569) or Special Topics (ECE 595)
  • Laser Physics I (PHYC 464)
  • Experimental Techniques of Optics (PHYC 476L or 477L)
  • Pattern Recognition (ECE 517)
  • Probability Theory and Stochastic Processes (ECE 541)
  • Digital Image Processing (ECE 533)
  • ECE 549 - Information Theory and Coding
  • ECE 500 - Theory of Linear Systems
  • ECE 475 - Introduction to Electro-Optics and Opto-Electronics
  • ECE 516 - Computer Vision
  • ECE 595 –ST: Microwave Photonics
  • ECE 570 – Optoelectronic Semiconductor Materials and Devices
  • ECE 547 - Neural Networks
  • ECE 581 – Colloidal Nanocrystals for Biomedical Applications
  • ECE 510 - Medical Imaging
  • ECE 512 - Advanced Image Synthesis
  • ECE 506 - Optimization Theory
  • ECE 563 – Computational Methods for Electromagnetics
  • ECE 595 – ST: Detectors and Hardware
  • ECE 642 – Signal Detection and Estimation Theory
  • Fundamental Semiconductor LEDs and Lasers (ECE 577)
  • Advanced Topics: Quantum Optics II(PHYC 581)
  • Atomic and Molecular Structure (PHYC 531)
  • Methods of Theoretical Physics I (PHYC 466) or Mathematical Methods for Science and Engineering (MATH 466)
  • Foundations of Engineering Electromagnetics (ECE 555)
  • Advanced Techniques in Optical Imaging- (BIO 547)
  • Introduction to Electro-Optics and Opto-Electronics (ECE475)
  • Guided Wave Optics (ECE 564)
  • Optical Communication Components and Subsystems (ECE 565)
  • Synthesis of Nanostructures (ECE 518 or NSMS 518)
  • Nonlinear Dynamics and Chaos (MATH 412)
  • Quantum Computation (PHYC 571)
  • Quantum Information Theory (PHYC 572)

D. Free elective (22 Credit Hours):

  • 22 credit hours of free electives (500-level courses and above, including problems courses)

E. Dissertation hours (18 Credit hours):

  • ECE 699 or PHYC 699