Physics C - (5 cfu)

Prof. Rosanna Capelletti Tel. 0521.905247 - Fax. 0521.905223


The purpose is to provide the students with basic concepts on magnetism, classical electromagnetism, wave motion, and optics. The student is expected to achieve the above mentioned concepts and to be able to apply them in solving simple problems.


The magnetic field
Magnetic field definition. The Lorentz force. Circular and helicoidal paths. Applications: mass spectrometer and Hall effect. Examples of magnetic fields. Magnetic force on current carrying wires. Torque and magnetic dipole moment for current carrying loops.

Magnetic fields induced by currents
Magnetic fields induced by current carrying wires. Force between current carrying wires. Application: the electromagnetic rail gun. The Ampère’s Law. Solenoids and toroids. Coil related magnetic dipole.

Electromagnetic Induction
Induction Faraday’s law. Lenz’s law. Induction and energy transfer. Induced electric fields. Inductance. Autoinduction. RL circuits. Magnetic field energy density.

Magnetic properties of matter
Earth magnetism. Magnetism and electrons. Diamagnetism, paramagnetism, and ferromagnetism. Induced magnetic fields. Displacement currents. Maxwell equations.

Electromagnetic oscillations and alternate currents
LC oscillation and damped oscillations. Alternate currents. RLC circuits. Transformers.

General properties of wave motion and mechanical waves
Wave function and wave equation. Phase and group velocity. Longitudinal and transverse waves. Harmonic waves. Superposition principle. Interference of harmonic waves. Steady waves. Wave propagation in elastic media. Sound waves. Wave energy and intensity.

Electromagnetic waves
From the Maxwell’s equations to the electromagnetic wave equation. Propagation velocity. Electromagnetic spectrum. Energy. Poynting vector. Electric dipole radiation. Polarised waves.

Huygens’ principle. Light rays. Reflection and refraction laws. Light dispersion. Prisms. Total internal reflection. Optical fibres.

Geometric Optics
Mirrors. Spherical diopters. Thin lenses. Lens aberrations. Centred paraxial optical systems.

Wave optics and polarisation
Interference from slits and thin films. Fraunhofer diffraction. Diffraction grating. Dispersion and resolving power. Light polarisation. Polarisation by reflection and selective absorption.

Attività d'esercitazione

Guided exercise solution in classroom will be routinely performed.

Modalità d'esame

A written test covering the whole course program including exercise solving is followed by a verbal one.


Mathematics. Calculus. General Physics A-B.

Testi consigliati

D. Halliday, R. Resnick, J. Walker, Fondamenti di Fisica (vol. unico), Casa Editrice Ambrosiana (english version available).
R. A. Serway, Principi di Fisica (vol. unico), ediSES (english version available).

Testi d'approfondimento

D. Halliday, R. Resnick, K.S. Krane, Fisica (vol. II), Casa Editrice Ambrosiana (english version available).

Ultimo aggiornamento: 10-11-2006

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