Department of Physics and Technology

Light in water, ice and snow – Optics at IFT

The optics group conducts research primarily on light in water, ice and snow. When light from the atmosphere hits these elements, it will be both dispersed and absorbed depending on the size and shape of the particles and molecules it hits.

Inst for fysikk og teknologi – Optikk
Arne S. Kristoffersen

Optics group at Finse

Arne S. Kristoffersen


Arne Skodvin Kristoffersen / UiB
Optikkgruppen IFT
Arne S. Kristoffersen

Main content

We in the Optics Group at IFT try to understand how light behaves under different conditions, and make measurements of – among other things – absorption, attenuation, scattering and polarization of light in water, ice and snow. We often travel to make field measurements in situ, but we also work in the laboratory and do computer simulations.

(Look through the picture carousel for videos of our group.)

There is great diversity in our research, and work is also being done on the fluorescence microscope, neural network training and underwater communication.

A definition of a master's project in optics is usually the result of a discussion between the supervisor and the student that ensures that the student gets to work with something interesting while also meeting the group’s research goals.

There is a wide range of possible master's theses in optics, for example:

  • Measurement of the optical properties of snow, ice and/or sea – opportunities for traveling to exotic locations.
  • Microscopy. Fluorescence and imaging. We have been working on measuring the duration of fluorescence and use a confocal microscope with a pulse laser as a light source.
  • Computer simulations. We have great expertise in modeling radiation transport in the atmosphere and the sea, as well as training of neural networks.
  • We work closely with the Institute of Biosciences, and have worked extensively on the optical properties of microalgae, both fluorescence and light scattering, as well as algal migration in water under different lighting conditions.
  • Underwater imaging and communication. Light fades rapidly under water and is also spread from particles. We are working on finding solutions that can make this easier, including using polarized light.