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In 2009, half of the Nobel Prize for Physics was awarded to Charles K. Kao for ground breaking achievements concerning the transmission of light in fibres for optical communication. Kao’s award marks just one in a long line of Nobel Prizes associated with photonics and optoelectronics, and in the spirit of the award, these discoveries have made a truly profound impact on our every day life. Flat panel displays, high speed Internet, solid-state lighting, digital cameras, medical instrumentation, solar power, we are a society of optoelectronics junkies with an insatiable thirst for bright and shiny gadgets.

Throughout this course we discuss the fundamentals of the field photonics and optoelectronics – the former being the concerned with the manipulation and control of light and the second being the interface between photonics and electronics. We will discuss how light is emitted in semiconductor devices, how it can be transmitted, guided, modulated, switched and detected. Along the way we will consider some of the many applications where optoelectronics has made a significant contribution.

Lecture Times / Locations:

   Time  Location  Weeks
 Lecture 1
Wednesday 11am - 12pm
Rupert Myers Theatre
1, 3-7, 8-13
 Lecture 2
Thursday 9 am -10 am
RM151, Old Main Building
1, 3-7, 8-13

Course Notes:

Course notes are to appear here:

Tutorial Problems:

The latest tutorial problems are available here and will be worked through as part of the Thursday lecture.

Assessment PHYS3720:
   Date Set:  Date Due:  % of Total Mark:
 Mid Session Test:
11am-12pm Wednesday 30 April (Week 8)
 Assignment 1:
11am Wednesday 26 March (Week 4)
4pm Wednesday 30 April (Week 6)
 Assignment 2:
(Week 9)
4pm Friday 23 May (Week 11)
 Final Exam:

Recommended Texts:

Fundamentals of Photonics 2nd Edition, B. E. A. Saleh & M. C. Teich, ISBN: 978-4711-35832-9
Optoelectronics & Photonics: Principles and Practices, S. O. Kasap, ISBN: 0-321-19046-7

Course Outline:

 Topics Covered
 Week 1
Introduction to optical fibres: electromagnetic theory of dielectric waveguides, critical angle & total internal reflection, evanescent fields, numerical aperture, modes of a planar waveguide, V parameter.
 Week 2
 Week 3
Optical fibre waveguides: types of optical fibres, ray optics picture of step and graded index fibres, numerical aperture of a fibre, materials for fibres, fibre drawing process, novel modes of guiding in optical fibres.
 Week 4
Attenuation in optical fibres: attenuation coefficient, absorption loss, scattering loss, microbending losses, coupling losses, erbium doped fibre amplifiers.
 Week 5
Dispersion: modal dispersion in multi-mode waveguides, modal dispersion in graded index fibres, material dispersion, waveguide dispersion, dispersion shifted fibres, wavelength division multiplexing, introduction to ultra-fast pulses, solitons.
 Week 6
Introduction to optical communications systems: modulation formats, Fibre transmission standards, connectors, splices and couples, switching, WDM/DWDM and transmission bands, cross-talk, homodyne and heterodyne detection, quantum communications.:
 Week 7
Optical fibre sensors and applications: Intensity based sensors, phase modulated fibre optic sensors, Mach-Zehnder interferometers, Michelson interferometeres, Sagnac interferometer, sensing in novel fibres, smart structures.
 Week 8
Semiconductor fundementals: energy bandstructure basics, electrical conduction in solids, direct and indirect semiconductors, recombination of electrons and holes.
 Week 9
Semiconductor materials and junctions: doping semiconductors, fabrication of semiconductor materias, semiconductor junctions, p-i-n junction, heterojunctions, quantum wells, quantum wires and quantum dots.
 Week 10
Semiconductor light emitting devices: light emitting diodes, internal and extrernal quantum efficiency, power-conversion efficiency, responsivity, diode lasers, photon and carrier confinement, specific laser structures, quantum well lasers, distributed feedback lasers, surface emitting lasers, new laser designs.
 Week 11
Optical detectors: noise in detectors, figures of merit, thermal detectors, photon detectors, photomulitpliers, photovoltaic detectors, QWIPs, CCDs, single photon detection.
 Week 12
modulation and switching of light: Mach Zehnder Interferometers, Mach-Zehnder switches, electro-optic modulators, acousto-optic modulators, magneto-optics and micromechanical switching, introduction to spatial light modulators.
 Week 13
reviews non-linear optical processes and describes how they are used in laser systems. Topics will include second harmonic generation, high harmonic generation, parametric conversion and super continuum generation.

Contact Information:

Dr Peter Reece
School of Physics
University of New South Wales
Kensington NSW 2052

Room 121 / LG45
Old Main Building (K15)
Kensington Campus
Ph: (02) 9385 4998