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Module Specifications..

Current Academic Year 2023 - 2024

Please note that this information is subject to change.

Module Title Electrodynamics
Module Code PS412
School School of Physical Sciences
Module Co-ordinatorSemester 1: Lampros Nikolopoulos
Semester 2: Lampros Nikolopoulos
Autumn: Lampros Nikolopoulos
Module TeachersLampros Nikolopoulos
NFQ level 8 Credit Rating 5
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None
Repeat examination

The aim of the course is to develop a knowledge and understanding of a wide range of electromagnetic wave phenomena by solving, with appropriate physical insight, Maxwell's equations in particular circumstances, e.g. dielectrics, conducting media, waveguides, antenna behaviour, The module will also introduce radiation and radiating systems and study the dynamics of charged particles in electromagnetic fields.

Learning Outcomes

1. State and manipulate Maxwell's and Fresnel's equations.
2. Solve Maxwell's equations to find plane wave solutions in vacuum, isotropic dielectrics, conducting media, planar, rectangular and cylindrical waveguides.
3. Calculate the electromagnetic radiation from localised charges which move arbitrarily in time and space, taking into account retardation effects and account for the underlying approximations and assumptions.
4. Calculate the scattering of electromagnetic radiation by atoms and molecules. Explain the physics of Thompson and Rayleigh scattering.
5. Use the techniques of electromagnetism and vector analysis to solve numerical problems.
6. The student will have an awareness of ethical issues in relation to plagiarism

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Lecture24No Description
Assignment Completion10No Description
Tutorial6No Description
Independent Study85No Description
Total Workload: 125

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

Lecture Series: Microscopic Maxwell's Equations (MEs)
Review of Electrostatics, Magnetostatics; Coulomb's and Biot-Savart laws, Faraday's and Ampere's Law. Maxwell's Equations for Static fields. Derivation of (microscopic) Maxwell's equations in differential form for dynamic fields. Integral form of MEs. Charge-density current continuity equation. Charge and flux density. Lorentz force and mechanical effects of a point charge in an electromagnetic field; Electromagnetic energy and Poynting vector; Conservation of electromagnetic and mechanical energy.

Lecture Series: Maxwell's Equations in vacuum I - Monochromatic Plane waves
Lecture Series: Maxwell's Equations in vacuum I - Monochromatic Plane waves. Wave equation and radiation; general plane waves as solutions of the (vacuum) wave-equation in an unbounded domain; Monochromatic plane waves; Algebraic MEs. Plane waves in the k-space Electromagnetic energy and momentum density, Radiation flux, intensity radiation. Linearly, circularly and elliptically polarized EM waves.

Lecture Series: Maxwell's Equations in vacuum II - Wavepackets
Superposition principle and plane wave expansions; EM wave-packets. Total energy and momentum, standing waves, wave-packet propagation, total energy and momentum; Fourier-expansions, bandwidth, phase and group velocity of wavepackets;

Lecture Series: Macroscopic MEs
Macroscopic form of the MEs; electric and magnetic material constants. EM wave equation in unbounded materials; Dielectric and conducting (linear-isotropic-uniform) materials. Electric displacement and Magnetic induction fields; Energy flux density and Poynting vector in materials; Radiation pressure. Boundary conditions at interfacing materials;

Lecture Series: Radiation and simple materials I - Dielectrics and Insulators
Reflection (Hero) and refraction (Snell's) laws; Fresnel Equations, for p- and s-polarization. Index of refraction, impedance; power reflection and transmission. Brewster angle. Conductivity, non-dispersive conductors; the meaning of complex wavenumbers; the case of perfect and good conductors; radiation's skin depth Radiation pressure in dielectric and conducting material

Lecture Series: Radiation and simple materials II
Drude and Lorentz model for conductivity; Ohms'law, EM field propagation in plasma and cold metals. Plasma frequency Radiating systems; EM fields from a localized oscillating charge; the near and far (radiation) zone; electric field and dipole radiation Alternative formulation of electrodynamics in terms of vector and scalar potential fields.

Learning Activities
Tutorial Work: Physics: Tutorial questions are worked out on the content of the 'Lecture Series'. Maths: Vector algebra, partial and ordinary differential equations, multivariable calculus, complex arithmetics, Fourier transforms. Also: Students are provided with take-home questions and requested to work out the problems; in some cases of some more advanced problems a project is assigned (also in the context of CAs)

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment20% Examination Weight80%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
Oral ExaminationTake Home Problem Sets20%Every Second Week
Reassessment Requirement Type
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
This module is category 3
Indicative Reading List

  • David J. Griffiths: 1999, Introduction to Electrodynamics, Prentice Hall, 013805326X.
  • J.B. Marion and M.A. Heald: 0, Classical electromagnetic radiation, Academic Press,
  • I.S. Grant and W.R. Phillips: 0, Electromagnetism, John Wiley and Sons, 0471927120
  • R.H.Good: 1999, Classical Electromagnetism, Saunders College Publishing, 0030223539
  • J.D. Jackson: 1998, Classical Electrodynamics, John Wiley and Sons, 0-471-30932-X
  • Feynman, Leighton & Sands: 0, The Feynman Lectures on Physics Vol. 2,
  • Lorrain and Corson: 0, Electromagnetic Fields and Waves,
Other Resources

Programme or List of Programmes
APBSc in Applied Physics
PHABSc in Physics with Astronomy
Date of Last Revision04-SEP-08

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