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The University of Southampton

ELEC3217 Photonics II

Module Overview

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

- To introduce basic concepts governing optical waveguides, fibres, lasers and optical amplification. - To foster a physical and quantitative understanding of key photonic devices. - To foster an understanding of the use of photonics in sensing and communications applications.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

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

  • Understand basic concepts governing optical waveguides and fibres, lasers and optical amplification
  • Describe key photonic devices
  • Describe the use of photonics in sensing and communications applications.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Understand the operation of many photonic devices, physically and theoretically
  • Approach research into photonic devices
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Use theoretical techniques for the solution of engineering problems


Laser and amplifier fundamentals - Absorption and emission of radiation - Einstein relations - Population inversion and threshold conditions - Gain saturation - Lineshape function and line broadening mechanisms - Laser modes and pulsed lasers. Semiconductor sources - DH, DFB, DBR - Single frequency operation - Intensity and Phase noise Optical detectors - Photodiodes - Receiver circuits - Responsivity, bandwidth, noise Optical amplifiers - Properties - bandwidth, gain, polarisation effects - Semiconductor amplifiers - Rare-earth doped fibre amplifiers - Noise contributions Optical devices - The electro-optic effect - Modulators - Fibre polarisers - Fibre couplers - Polarisation scramblers - Fibre Bragg gratings Optical fibre sensors - Discrete sensors - Signal processing schemes - Distributed sensors Optical waveguides - The planar dielectric waveguide - Waveguide fabrication - Waveguide phase and amplitude modulators Optical fibres - Step index fibre theory - Gradient index fibre theory - Optical fibre fabrication - Optical fibre attenuation - Optical fibre dispersion

Learning and Teaching

Completion of assessment task2.5
Follow-up work18
Preparation for scheduled sessions18
Wider reading or practice65.5
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Gines Lifante (2003). Integrated Photonics: Fundamentals.. 

John Wilson and John Hawkes (1998). Opto-electronics: An introduction. 

John M Senior (1992). Optical Fibre Communications: Principles and Practice. 



MethodPercentage contribution
Examination  (2.5 hours) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Examination 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Examination 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Linked modules

Pre-requisite: ELEC2212 or ELEC2219 or ELEC2228 or COMP6238

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