Optical Communication Technology

Course Description

The course deals with the basic phenomena associated with the technology that enables optical transmission of information. The components needed for building communication systems are described (lasers, modulators, fibers, photodetectors). The examples of optical communication systems are given.

General Competencies

The course gives explanation of background physics connected with phenomena of generation, propagation and detection of optical waves. After completing the course the students are expected to be able to understand principles of working of all photonic components that build optical communication systems. Furthermore, they will be able to design simple optical systems.

Learning Outcomes

  1. describe the physical method of wave propagation inside the fiber, describe the limitations of fiber data transmission
  2. describe the laser working principle, describe the main laser types
  3. describe the mechanisms that enable realization of high-quality semiconductor lasers
  4. describe the methods of modulation and working principle of modulators used in optical communication systems
  5. describe the working method and limitations of semiconductor detectors
  6. describe the multiplexing methods used in optical communication systems
  7. design simple fiber links

Forms of Teaching


Lectrures are given with the use of powerpoint presentations published on the web pages.


Solving problems takes place when necessary (according to the treated subject). Exercises are held by teaching assistant.

Laboratory Work

Four laboratory exercises take place as a part of the course.

Grading Method

By decision of the Faculty Council, in the academic year 2019/2020. the midterm exams are cancelled and the points assigned to that component are transferred to the final exam, unless the teachers have reassigned the points and the grading components differently. See the news for each course for information on knowledge rating.
Continuous Assessment Exam
Type Threshold Percent of Grade Threshold Percent of Grade
Laboratory Exercises 0 % 10 % 0 % 10 %
Mid Term Exam: Written 0 % 25 % 0 %
Final Exam: Written 0 % 25 %
Final Exam: Oral 40 %
Exam: Written 0 % 45 %
Exam: Oral 45 %

Week by Week Schedule

  1. Overview of optical communication and non-communication systems; Waves, plane waves, mathematical description of plane waves, polarization, intensity.
  2. Wave coherence, interferometers, holography
  3. Guided optical waves, fibers, fiber types
  4. Restrictions on information transmission in fibers (attenuation, dispersion)
  5. Absorption, spontaneous emission, stimulated emission, Einstein's coefficients, lineshape function
  6. Laser principle, basic laser gain equation, mode selection, laser types, examples: HeNe laser, CO2 laser.
  7. Mid-term examination
  8. Semiconductor properties, quantum mechanics concepts, direct- and indirect-bandgap semiconductors, semiconductor materials, p-n junction, heterojunctions
  9. Optical semiconductor sources, Light-emitting diodes (LEDs)
  10. Laser diodes, characteristics of laser diodes, laser diode types (Fabry-Perot, DFB, DBR, tunable singlemode lasers, VCSEL)
  11. Modulation principles in optical systems, direct modulation on LEDs and laser diodes, electro-optic modulators, electroabsorption modulators, magneto-optic modulators
  12. Semiconductor photodetectors, PIN and avalanche photodiodes
  13. Optical amplifiers
  14. Design of optical communication systems, power budget, rise-time budget
  15. Multiplexing in optical communication systems, WDM systems, properties of DWDM and CWDM systems

Study Programmes

University undergraduate
Electronics (module)
Elective Courses (6. semester)
Wireless Technologies (module)
Elective Courses (6. semester)


B.E.A. Saleh, M.C. Teich (2007.), Fundamentals of Photonics 1991, John Wiley
G.P. Agrawal (2010.), Fiber-Optic Communication Systems, John Wiley
P. Bhattacharya (1997.), Semiconductor Optoelectronic Devices, Prentice Hall


Laboratory exercises


ID 91856
  Summer semester
L1 English Level
L1 e-Learning

Grading System

89 Excellent
76 Very Good
63 Good
50 Acceptable