Ph / APh / EE / BE 118b  




Physics of Measurement

Winter 2017











Lecture Notes


Assigned Reading

Additional Resources





Ph / APh / EE / BE 118b

30 Jan 2017


Notes from first seven lectures are now posted.

Class meetings are held on Tuesdays & Thursdays from 2:30-3:55pm (mostly in E. Bridge 114), plus on occasional Fridays (time/place TBD).

Second revision of Winter 2017 class syllabus is posted. (Changes will likely happen, mid-stream.)

N.B. - If you're seeking access the Ph/APh/EE/BE 118a (Fall 2016) web pages, here's the link.



Tu / Thu
2:30-3:55 pm
East Bridge 114


Course Info

  • Professor & Co-Lecturer:  Prof. Michael Roukes, Physics, Bridge Annex 131 / roukes at
    Dr. Laurent Moreaux, Physics, Bridge Annex B126 / moreauxl at

  • Course Description:   In Winter term 2017 this course will explore concepts and principles of state-of-the-art photonic imaging applied to neural systems, with particular focus on the optical interrogation of brain circuit activity. The course will be carried out as a graduate-level seminar, with lectures from current literature by the instructor, senior scientists, and class participants. Topics covered will include advanced methods of free-space optics and integrated neurophotonics: optical fluorescence techniques, light perturbation of neural tissue (absorption/scattering), multiphoton imaging (2P, 3P, SHG), light-sheet microscopy, photoacoustic microscopy, optogenetic stimulation, functional imaging of neuronal activity (including electrophysiological and neurochemical activity) and of blood flow (neuro/vascular coupling). Recent advances in optical reporters and effectors (molecular and nanoparticle-based) enabling direct recording and stimulation of neural activity from the optical domain will also be surveyed.

  • Prerequisites:  Suggested background is 2 years of undergraduate physics, a course in mathematical methods, statistical physics (APh105 or Ph127 or equivalent, and analog electronics (Ph105 or equivalent.) In Winter term 2017, familiarity with basic optics is also assumed. Supplementary material may be provided to assist students lacking the aforementioned background, if needed. For undergraduates: to register you must be working on laboratory research, and have your current research advisor send an e-mail of support to the instructor.

  • Raison d'être:  This is a class designed for those embarking upon careers involving laboratory measurements in the physical and engineering sciences.  It is taught at a level appropriate for beginning graduate students in physics or engineering, however students from other disciplines are welcome. The suggested prerequisites are 2 years of undergraduate physics, a course in mathematical methods, statistical physics (e.g. APh105 or Ph127) and analog electronics (e.g. Ph105)…  but I’ll say, unofficially, there are no prerequisites but the desire to work hard to learn the material, and a willingness to actively engage in asking questions in class.  However, in my lectures I’ll assume you’re familiar with electronics and basic circuit theory , as well as Fourier analysis, auto- and cross-correlations, and concepts like spectral densities, etc.  You’ll probably find it a hard go without some knowledge of these.  With sufficient interest, the TA may schedule tutorials on such topics.  Additionally, the class will make a whole lot more sense to you, and be of obvious relevance, if you’ve already had some exposure to laboratory research involving hands-on physical measurements.

    The first term (Ph118a/Fall) of this course provides an introduction to concepts and principles of physical measurements that are crucial to experimental research. This is stuff that I want all of my students to know. Topics surveyed include signal domains and transduction, responsivity, backaction, fundamental noise processes, bandwidth and information, nonlinearity, frequency conversion, modulation, synchronous detection, signal sampling and time-domain methods, digitization, signal transforms, and multiple-measurement correlations. Where possible, examples will be formulated around current approaches providing state-of-the-art sensitivity. Possible examples may include quantum interference devices, bio/chemical sensors, photonic devices, and various micro- and nanomechanical systems, depending on time and students' interests.
  • Units:   9 units (3-0-6); first, second, third terms.
  • Grading:   Winter 2016 = pass/fail (ONLY)

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