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The University of Southampton

OPTO6007 An Introduction to Silicon Photonics

Module Overview

The course will present an introduction to guided waves, optical modes, and propagation characteristics of photonic circuits, using Silicon Technology by way of example.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

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

  • Gain knowledge on guided waves
  • Understand the motivations for silicon photonics including the technology drivers, and examples of implementation of Silicon photonic circuits
  • Understand characterisation techniques that can be applied to silicon photonic materials
  • Understand the operation of building blocks of an optical circuit at a preliminary level, including waveguides and key photonic devices such as couplers, bends, interferometers, ring resonators, modulators, integrated light sources and detectors.
  • Understand the issues surrounding integration of photonic devices as well as electronicphotonic integration
  • Learn about fabrication of Silicon Photonic devices, and associated fabrication techniques.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Follow, understand and appreciate current research in Silicon Photonics.
  • Undertake advanced study in the field of Silicon Photonics
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Efficiently solve scientific problems.
  • Think analytically.
  • Study effectively
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Understand the significant differences between short reach and long haul optical communications.
  • Design Silicon Photonics devices and circuits, and identify the appropriate fabrication and characterisation techniques.


- What is Silicon Photonics? Why is it required? What are the key technological metrics? Applications - Fundamentals of guided waves. - Modes of planar waveguides, propagation constants, effective index, mode profiles. - Modes of 2‐dimensional waveguides, basic waveguides structures, complex refractive index. - Coupling to waveguides: grating couplers; butt coupling, mode transformers, inverted tapers. - Waveguides loss mechanisms: absorption, scattering, the plasma dispersion effect and the effect of free carriers, the thermo‐optic effect. - Device preparation and characterisation: facets, anti ‐reflection coatings, waveguide loss measurements. The cut‐back method, the Fabry‐Perot method, scattered light measurement. - Waveguide based devices: the Mach Zehnder interferometer, the ring resonator, waveguide‐waveguide couplers, waveguide bends, modulators, variable optical attenuators, multiplexers. - Polarisation issues: polarisation independence, polarisation dependent loss, polarisation diversity schemes. - Integration issues: advantages and disadvantages of integration, photonic device integration, photonic‐electronic integration, power and power density issues on‐chip. - Advanced waveguides structures; Photonic crystals, slot waveguides, mid infrared waveguides. - A fabrication example of a Mach ‐Zehnder interferometer: process flow for fabrication, photolithography, etching, doping, deposition.

Learning and Teaching

Follow-up work14
Completion of assessment task18
Preparation for scheduled sessions14
Wider reading or practice60
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

L Pavesi & G Guillot (2006). Optical Interconnects: The Silicon Approach. 

G T Reed & AP Knights (2004). Silicon Photonics: An Introduction. 

G T Reed. Silicon Photonics: The state of the art. 

L. Pavesi & D J Lockwoodt (2004). Silicon Photonics. 



MethodPercentage contribution
Examination 75%
Worksheet 25%


MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework marks carried forward %
Examination %


MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework marks carried forward %
Examination %

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Linked modules

Pre-requisites: ELEC2212 OR ELEC2219 OR OPTO6012

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