UNIK4330 – Imaging and detection of optical and infrared radiation

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

Imaging optics. Radiometry, Planck radiation law, natural and artificial sources of visible and infrared light, propagation of light through the atmosphere. Review detectors for converting light to electrical signals, including photodiodes, photoconductors, bolometers and coherent detection. Review of noise mechanisms in detectors. Image sensors based on various materials, including silicon CCD and CMOS as well as detectors for thermal imaging. The signal path from light to digital image data. Characterization of image quality. Briefly about classical image sensors: film, camera tubes and the eye. Brief practical demonstrations of many course topics are given as part of the lectures.

Learning outcome

The course offers insight in the principle of operation of cameras and other optical sensors. The emphasis is on detectors and image sensors, wherein lies the origin of the term "megapixel". The course is mainly intended for developers and users of optical imaging and sensing systems. It also provides a useful background for analysis of optical image data.


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Recommended previous knowledge

Basic fysics in general, and in particular FYS3410 – Condensed matter physics. Some knowledge of electronics and/or signal processing is also useful, but brief introductions will be given when material from other disciplines are used.


3 hrs. lectures per week, including brief practical demonstrations.


Oral examination graded from A to F. Written examination may be used when there number of participants is large, as determined early in the semester.

PhD students must submit an essay focusing on a specific part of the course and demonstrating good understanding of this part. The focus topic will also be emphasized in the examination. The choice of focus topic can be adapted to the interests of the candidate.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

Students who can document a valid reason for absence from the regular examination are offered a postponed examination at the beginning of the next semester.

Re-scheduled examinations are not offered to students who withdraw during, or did not pass the original examination.

Facts about this course






Every spring


Every spring

Teaching language

Norwegian (English on request)