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The University of Southampton

ELEC2212 Electromagnetism for Communications

Module Overview

The course presents the principles and applications of electromagnetic theory with examples in high-speed electronics, communications and electromagnetic compatibility, and provides an introduction to photonic engineering. It covers the underlying mathematics of vector fields and electromagnetics required for communications. Course participants will become familiar with the most common methods of data transmission including short and long distance electronic interconnect, fibre optic interconnect and wireless interconnect.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • Vector differential calculus
  • Maxwell's equations, their application and context
  • Electromagnetic boundary conditions
  • Interaction between electromagnetic waves, materials and interfaces
  • Electromagnetic wave propagation in free space and materials
  • Data transmission lines
  • Waveguides and optical fibres
  • Antennas for transmitting and receiving electromagnetic waves
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Understand use of vector calculus to represent fields and waves
  • Interactions between EM waves and matter and its application to communications (optical and wireless)
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Select and use appropriate interconnect for short and long distance communications
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Electromagnetic theory
  • Electromagnetic and electrostatic fields
  • Electromagnetic compatibility (EMC)
  • Basic coherent and non-coherent optics
  • Electromagnetic propagation and antennas


Electromagnetism in industrial electronics: electromagnetic compatibility, the mobile phone and optical fibre communications - Vectors, Vector fields, and Vector calculus - Div, Grad, Curl, - Divergence theorem, Stokes' theorem - Maxwell's equations - Coulomb's law and Gauss' Law - Energy and momentum in electromagnetic fields - Electrostatic dipoles and dielectrics - Electromagnetic wave propagation in air, metal conductors, and dielectric materials - Electromagnetic spectrum - Frequency dependent properties of metal transmission lines - Skin-depth and impedance - Reflection and refraction of light - Use of total internal reflection for data transmission in optical waveguides, and fibres - Frequency dependent properties of optical waveguides - Convergence of electronic and optical data transmission for semiconductor devices - Introduction to planar lightwave circuits, and silicon photonic devices - Radiation and antennas for wireless communications

Learning and Teaching

Wider reading or practice48
Completion of assessment task8
Follow-up work18
Preparation for scheduled sessions18
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Joseph Edminister. Electromagnetics. 

David J. Griffiths. Introduction to Electrodynamics. 

RF and Microwave Engineering: Fundamentals of Wireless Communications.


Assessment Strategy

Students will receive feedback in-class during lectures and laboratory sessions. Feedback will be given after the courseworks are marked. Demonstrators will help and advise students, as well as grading their work. Students may contact the teaching team via email for advice and academic support.


MethodPercentage contribution
Continuous Assessment 15%
Final Assessment  85%


MethodPercentage contribution
Set Task 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Set Task 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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