30.118 Optical Engineering & Communications

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This course is not offered in 2020.

This is an introductory optics course that will cover the theory and design principles of optics and photonics with an emphasis on applications. Optical communication systems, lightwave system components, multichannel systems, fiber optics will be covered. The course outline includes the following:

  • Introduction
  • Optical Signal Generation: Lasers/Transmitters
  • Signal Propagation in Fibers
  • Impairment in Fibers
  • Loss Management: Optical Amplifiers
  • Dispersion Management Techniques
  • Impairment Management
  • Multichannel Lightwave Systems
  • Optical Networks


Course Lead/Main Instructor


To provide exposure to the theory and design principles of optics and photonics with an emphasis on applications in fiber optic communications that serves as the backbone of the internet.

Learning Objectives

  • Demonstrate critical thinking skills in topics relating to optics and photonics devices.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the fundamental quantities used to describe light propagation and the optical description of dispersive and non – dispersive media.
  • Apply methods for the analysis of light propagation in optical fibres.
  • Identify and apply techniques for the analysis of transmission data rates
  • Identify and apply techniques for the analysis of optical transmitters and resonators.
  • Identify and apply techniques for the analysis of optical receivers and optical filters.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of multichannel lightwave systems.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of data multiplexing strategies
  • Demonstrate knowledge of techniques for photonic device fabrication.
  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the design and operational principles of applications in optics and photonics

Measurable Outcomes

  • Apply the different light models according to the conditions necessary for using each model
  • Describe the different types of light guiding devices
  • Formulate solutions for transmission data rates
  • Formulate solutions for periodic layered media
  • Apply design and operational principles to analyze optoelectronic devices including optical transmitters and optical receivers
  • Apply optics concepts towards mitigation of impaired data transmission
  • Describe the components and associated parameters of optical fiber communications systems
  • Describe the components and operational principles of optics and photonics based systems
  • Describe techniques for photonic device fabrication


  • Attendances for mid-term and final exams are compulsory.
  • Assignments must be submitted on time. Late submission will not be accepted and graded.
  • Participation in class is highly encouraged. Meaningful interactions that help to advance either yours or peers’ understanding of concepts is encouraged.

Text & References

  • Textbook: Fiber Optic Communications by Joseph C. Palais.
  • Reading material provided in class or on eDimension.


  • Assignments and Course Projects – 30%
  • Mid-term Exam – 25%
  • FInal Exam – 35%
  • Class Participation – 10%