This book offers a didactic introduction to light–matter interactions at both the classical and semi-classical levels. Pursuing an approach that describes the essential physics behind the functionality of any optical element, it acquaints students with the broad areas of optics and photonics. Its rigorous, bottom-up approach to the subject, using model systems ranging from individual atoms and simple molecules to crystalline and amorphous solids, gradually builds up the reader’s familiarity and confidence with the subject matter. Throughout the book, the detailed mathematical treatment and examples of practical applications are accompanied by problems with worked-out solutions. In short, the book provides the most essential information for any graduate or advanced undergraduate student wishing to begin their course of study in the field of photonics, or to brush up on important concepts prior to an examination.