The Nonlinear Optics Web Site


This area will provide teaching resources for students and educators. Please send comments and suggestions for educational materials to the site administrator.


This area will offer resources and activities for students of all ages. Stay tuned!


We will discuss topics of interest to undergraduates and provide technical resources that will enable university students with a sophomore/junior-level of math and science to understand nonlinear optics.


Nonlinear optics is best learned at the advanced level through self study and interaction with peers under the guidance of an individual who is well versed in the fundamentals of the field.

The typical student should have a strong background in the typical physics core required in most graduate programs. This includes a year-long course in Quantum Mechanics and Electricity & Magnetism as well as a semester of Statistical Physics and Classical Mechanics.

Physics 545- Nonlinear Optics

A course in Nonlinear Optics (Physics 545) was taught in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Washington State University in the spring of 2010.

Click here for software that was used in this course

Course Syllabus

Writing Skills

From writing the dissertation, to submitting proposals and papers under time pressure, writing is an essential skill. Click here for tips on technical writing.

Lecture Book

Part of the course requirements demanded that each student convert a section of the lecture notes into the form of a book using LaTeX. This exercise would force the students to organize their thoughts about a topic as well as to practice technical writing skills and learn to use LaTeX as well as other relevant software.

Each submission was edited by two other students (devil's advocates) and then graded by me (usually with lots of edits). The students then rewrote each section according to my edits, and resubmitted their work. Subsequently, I re-edited each section and then brought the pieces together into the final form.

The process became such a large undertaking that some of the sections never made it through the final editing process. Thus, some of the sections are still in rough form. In addition, only a few of the homework problems and solutions made it into the book. While it is my intention to eventually add the problems and solutions, I may end up getting too busy to do so.

Much of the course used the excellent textbook by Robert Boyd as the basis of the lectures. However, two major sections not normally covered in such a course were included. First, a section on quantum field theory was used to reformulate the perturbation theory used to calculate the nonlinear susceptibilities. Having the results in terms of creation and annihilation operators makes the quantum process more intuitive, and leads directly to defining a diagramatic approach for evaluating the nonlinear-optical susceptibilities. Secondly, a section that motivated Feynman diagrams explained the connection between nonlinear susceptibilities and the virtual processes involved.

Click here to download the book. You may use it freely; but, no section may be reproduced without a link to this web page. Enjoy!