Electromagnetism and Optics B - LEB


Biomedical Engineering

Curricular Unit (UC)

Electromagnetism and Optics B

Mandatory  x
Scientific Area FIS Category  

Course category: B - Basic; C - Core Engineering; E - Specialization; P - Complementary.

Year: 2nd Semester: 1st ECTS: 5.5 Total Hours: 150
Contact Hours T: 45 TP: 15 PL:15 S: OT:3
Professor in charge

 Rui Alberto Ribeiro dos Santos

T - Lectures; TP - Theory and practice; PL - Lab Work; S - Seminar; OT - Tutorial Guidance.

  • Learning outcomes of the curricular unit

    1. Know and master the theoretical foundations of classical electrodynamics, and of geometrical and wave optics.

    2. Develop the ability to analyse and model a variety of problems in classical electrodynamics, and in geometrical and wave optics, by applying the above principles.

    3. Be able expeditiously to perform the calculations required for solving the problems described in the preceding item.

  • Syllabus

    1. Coulomb's law. Electric field and potential. Electrostatic energy. Gauss' law.

    2. Conductors, dielectrics and semiconductors. Capacitance. Capacitors and their association.

    3. Steady currents. Resistance and resistivity. Ohm's and Joule's laws. Association of resistors. Kirchhoff's laws. Circuit analysis. Electric generators and motors. Energy and power. Thévenin and Norton equivalent circuits.

    4. Magnetic field. Lorentz force. Magnetic field of currents. Ampère's law. Magnetic flux. Faraday's law. Magnetic energy of an induction coil. Dia-, para- and ferromagnetic materials.

    5. Sinusoidal alternating currents. Impedance. RL, RC, RLC series circuits, RLC parallel circuit. Instantaneous power and mean power, real, reactive and apparent power. Power factor and power factor correction.

    6. Maxwell's equations. Displacement current. Electromagnetic waves.

    7. Laws of reflection and refraction. Electromagnetic spectrum. Interference, diffraction, polarisation and absorption of light.

  • Demonstration of the syllabus coherence with the curricular unit's objectives

    The syllabus follows the criteria used internationally in similar courses in engineering degrees. Lectures always include several practical examples which promote classroom discussion and easier assimilation of the theory as well as its connection to other courses in the LEB. The exercises proposed in the problem sets (more than 200) allow students, individually or in group, to apply the theoretical concepts to a wide variety of practical situations and thus gain the necessary confidence and skills to use them correctly in many different contexts. This is to impart to students that calculation is an essential ingredient of physics and the ability to obtain numerical results that can be checked by experimental observation underpins the huge success of modern sciences and technologies.

  • Teaching methodologies

    The lectures follow the expository method, always accompanied by practical examples and with extensive use of the white board. Problems classes are designed to clarify difficulties encounterd when solving the problem sets that are expected to have been previously worked out by the students. The course Moodle pages contain extensive study material, past exams  and external links to complementary study material, including videos and virtual experiments (Java applets).


    Assessment for this course is in the form of one written test, taken at the end of semester, and/or a written exam, taken on either of two set dates. Both test and exam are of 2.5 hours duration and cover the entire syllabus.

    The minimum pass grade is 10 (out of a maximum of 20) in all cases.

  • Demonstration of the coherence between the teaching methodologies and the learning outcomes

    Solving a large number of exercises allows students to strengthen their theoretical knowledge through hands-on practice. Real life examples are used to make a connection with the real world and with other courses The aim is also to enhance student participation and motivation.


  • Main Bibliography

    1. P.M. Fishbane, S. Gasiorowicz, S.T. Thornton, "Physics for Scientists and Engineers", Prentice Hall, 2nd ed.,1996.

    2. M. Alonso, E.J. Finn, "Física”, Addison Wesley, 2ª ed.,1999.

    3. D.J. Griffiths, "Introduction to Electrodynamics", Prentice-Hall, 3rd ed., 1999.