cod. 1005253

Academic year 2023/24
2° year of course - Second semester
- Federica POLI
Academic discipline
Campi elettromagnetici (ING-INF/02)
Ingegneria elettronica
Type of training activity
72 hours
of face-to-face activities
9 credits
hub: PARMA
course unit

Learning objectives

At the end of the course the students will gain knowledge on light propagation in waveguides and optical fibers, and on the working principles of the main photonic components used in communication systems (lasers, modulators, couplers, amplifiers). Moreover, the students will be able to:
− analyze and describe a communication system based on optical fibers;
− analyze the properties of waveguides and optical fibers, and of the main photonic devices with simulations based on a numerical method;
− summarize and describe the main results of a numerical analysis, using a proper technical vocabulary;
− understand the technical specifications of optical fibers and photonic components, in order to properly use them in a laboratory setup;
− summarize and describe the main results of an experimental activity in laboratory.


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Course unit content

The course provides the theoretical bases to study light propagation in waveguides and optical fibers, and the working principles of photonic devices used in communication systems. Conventional optical fibers are thoroughly described, with particular emphasis on the characteristics that make them suitable for optical communications. The main optical components and photonic devices used in modern communication systems, such as lasers, modulators, couplers and amplifiers, are presented in detail. Special attention is paid to the main research topics in the field of photonics for optical communications.
Some lessons of the course will be devoted to numerical simulations and to experimental activities in laboratory.

Full programme

Each class corresponds to 2 hours
CLASS 1: Introduction to modern photonic technologies
CLASS 2: Dielectric slab waveguide: TE and TM modes, plane waves, guided modes
CLASS 3: Dielectric slab waveguide: guided mode cut-off condition, field confinement, introduction to the asymmetric slab waveguide
CLASS 4: Dielectric integrated optics waveguides: different types (buried, strip-loaded, ridge, rib) and guided mode field distribution
CLASS 5: Standard optical fibers: geometry, materials, fabrication process
CLASS 6: Standard optical fibers: attenuation (absorption, scattering, micron and macro bending), guiding mechanism
CLASS 7: Standard optical fibers: numerical aperture, single-mode regime, single-mode and multi-mode fibers
CLASS 8: Guided modes in standard optical fibers: hybrid, TE and TM mode, dispersion curve
CLASS 9: Guided modes in standard optical fibers: weakly guiding approximation and pseudo-modes LP
CLASS 10: Dispersion in optical fibers: intermodal and intramodal dispersion, chromatic dispersion (material, guidance, polarization)
CLASS 11: Optical fibers for submarine communications
CLASS 12: Hollow-core fibers: different categories and guiding mechanisms, photonic crystals and their properties
CLASS 13: Power dividers and couplers: Y junction, directional coupler, 3 dB coupler
CLASS 14: Filters and interferometers: Fabry-Perot filter, multimodal interferometer (MMI)
CLASS 15: Filters and interferometers: Mach-Zehnder interferometer, arrayed-waveguide grating (AWG)
CLASS 16: Optical modulators: lithium niobate modulators, electro-absorption modulators
CLASS 17: Optical amplifiers: energy levels and photons, interaction electromagnetic waves-matter, main parameters
CLASS 18: Erbium-doped optical fiber amplifiers (EDFAs): main component, pumping schemes, propagation and population rate equations, optimum length, noise figure
CLASS 19: Semiconductor lasers: III-V semiconductors for photonic devices, emission mechanism
CLASS 20: Semiconductor lasers: homojunction laser, double heterojunction laser
CLASS 21: Photodetectors: photon detectors and thermal detectors
CLASS 22: Photodetectors: photon detectors based on the external (photoemissive devices) and internal (semiconductor devices: photoconductors, junction photodiodes) photoelectric effect

Numerical simulation activities:
CLASS 1: Introduction to numerical simulations of optical fibers and photonic devices
CLASS 2: Calculation of the guided modes in a dielectric slab waveguide
CLASS 3: Numerical analysis of the properties of silicon waveguides
CLASS 4: Calculation of the guided modes in a step-index fiber
CLASS 5: Calculation of the dispersion curve of the guided modes in an optical fiber
CLASS 6: Calculation of the chromatic dispersion of the guided modes in an optical fiber
CLASS 7: Numerical analysis of the properties of specialty optical fibers: guided mode effective area and overlap integral, with Perfectly Matched Layers as boundary conditions
CLASS 8: Calculation of the guided modes in a hollow-core fiber

Experimental activities in laboratory and seminars:
CLASS 1: Introduction to laboratory activities: instruments (tunable laser, optical spectrum analyzer, power meter)
CLASS 2: Introduction to laboratory activities with optical fibers: fiber end cut, splice, connectors
CLASS 3: Passive (couplers, modulators, gratings) and active components (laser sources), and coupling to optical fibers
CLASS 4: Realization of the experimental setup of an erbium doped fiber amplifier


S. Selleri, L. Vincetti, A. Cucinotta, “Optical and Photonic Components”, Esculapio, 2015
B. E. A. Saleh, M. C. Teich, “Fundamentals of Photonics”, 3 rd Edition, Wiley, 2019
K. Okamoto, “Fundamentals of Optical Waveguides”, 3rd Edition, Academic Press, 2021
Scientific papers suggested during the lessons of the course.

Teaching methods

The teaching activities include lessons carried out using multimedia presentations, videos/images and web pages (48 hours). In addition, practice lessons are planned, with experimental activities in laboratory (8 hours) and numerical simulations carried out using COMSOL Multiphysics, a software for the analysis of the electromagnetic wave propagation at optical frequencies in linear and non-linear optical media (16 hours).
The slides of the presentations shown during the lessons are uploaded to the Elly web site of the course. The registration to the course is necessary to download the slides. Please notice that the presentations are considered an essential part of the teaching material.
Students who are not attending to the course should periodically check the teaching material and the information provided by the instructor on the Elly web site.
It should be noted that the teaching methods may be subject to change according to the actual health situation.
Further information about the lessons will be provided just before the beginning of the course.

Assessment methods and criteria

The learning assessment is made with:
− an oral exam with questions on the topics developed during the
lectures, with the aim to verify the learning level of the student. The oral
exam is evaluated in the range 0/30;
− an individual report on a numerical simulation activity carried on with COMSOL Multiphysics, used during the practice lessons. This individual activity concerns one of the kind of photonic devices or optical fibers presented during the laboratory lessons. Students can collect the text describing the activity during the final part of the course, or later by appointment with the professor. A Word template in .docx is available on the Elly web-site of the course. Students are encouraged to use it to prepare the report. The .pdf file of the report must be sent by email to the professor no later than three days before the date of the oral exam. The report is
evaluated according to accuracy, completeness and clarity, in the range 0/30.
The mark of the oral exam is communicated to the student at the end of the oral test. The mark of the report is announced to the student just after the end of the oral exam. At the same time, the student can view the report with the corrections. The final mark is calculated as the average of the ones obtained for the oral exam and the report, which are both in the range 0/30. The honors are given to the students who obtain the maximum score for both the oral exam and the report.
The online registration to the exam is mandatory and it is possible until three days before the exam date.
Further information about the examination procedure will be given to the students during the lessons and made available on the Elly web-site of the course.

Other information

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