SHE Level 4
SCQF Credit Points 20.00
ECTS Credit Points 10.00
Module Code MHH624197
Module Leader Roberto Ramirez-Iniguez
School School of Computing, Engineering and Built Environment
Subject Electronic Engineering
  • B (January start)

Summary of Content

The aim of this module is to provide students with a comprehensive and advanced understanding of optical communication systems. The topics covered include physics of light, optical sources and detectors, transmission media (optical fibre and optical wireless), optical communication techniques, and important parameters of an optical communication system. In addition, this module covers optical network components and standards. These topics will equip students with the knowledge, skills and ability to understand, compare and critically evaluate the advantages and limitations of modern optical communication technologies and techniques.


Physics of light Electromagnetic waves (definition, characteristics and EM spectrum) Optical rays (reflection, refraction and Snell's laws, TIR) Optical Sources General characteristics (numerical aperture, Active Area, Linewidth, modulation and response time) Principles of light emission LEDs (physical and operational characteristics) LDs (physical and operational characteristics) Driver electronics Optical Detectors Principles of photodetection General characteristics P-N photodetectors (physycal and operational characteristics) PIN photodetectors (physical and operational characteristics) Avalanche photodetectors (physical and operational characteristics) Detector circuits - optical receivers Optical Fibres Principles of fibre optics: light propagation (TIR, modes of propagation, acceptance angle and NA, choice of wavelength), linewidth, propagation velocities) Fibre losses (material losses, scattering, microbend losses) Dispersion Types (multimode: step-index, graded-index; single mode) Application of optical amplifiers (EDFA) Optical Communication Techniques Analog and digital transmission Coding Bandwidth and data rate (Effect of dispersion) Modulation Multiplexing (TDM, FDM, WDM) Simplex and Duplex systems Optical Communication Systems Bandwidth and rise-time budgets Power budget Dynamic range Noise BER Eye pattern Optical Wireless Communications Topologies Optical antennas The optical wireless channel Eye safety Optical Network Components: Optical filters, Splitters, Couplers, circulators, isolators, attenuators, repeaters, ADM, switches, AWG, Modulators, Grating (FBG), MEMS etc Optical Network SONET/SDH, HFC FTTC PON

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion, students should be able to:To describe and demonstrate critical analysis, interpretation and evaluation of optical communication technologies,techniques and system parameters.To critically compare optical network standards.To demonstrate independent learning and problem solving in relation to optical fibre and optical wireless communications .To describe current research and development trends in optical communications .

Teaching / Learning Strategy

The module will be delivered through a combination of lectures, tutorial, seminars, laboratories, directed study material, research presentations and case studies. Assessment of learning outcomes will be a combination of a laboratory based assessment and an examination of the student's knowledge and understanding and problem solving skills at the end of term.

Indicative Reading

J. Gowar, Optical Communication systems, 2nd Edition, Prentice Hall International Series in Optoelectronics, ISBN 0-13-638727-6 G. Keiser, Optical Fibre Communications, 4th Edition, McGraw-Hill International Editions, ISBN-0-07-1088083 Z. Ghassemlooy, W. Popoola and S. Rahbhandari, Optical Wireless Communications: System and Channel Modelling with MATLAB, 1st Edition, CRC Press, ISBN 978-1439851883 R. Ramirez-Iniguez, S. Idrus and Z. Sun, Optical Wireless Communications: IR for wireless connectivity, 1st Edition, CRC Press, ISBN 978-0-8493-7209-4 E. Hecht, Optics, 4th Edition, Addison Wesley, ISBN 0-8053-8566-5 M. J. N. Sibley, Optical Communications, 2nd Edition, Macmillan New Electronics, ISBN-0-333-61792-4 G. P. Agrawal, Fibre Optic Communication systems, 4th Edition, Wiley-Blackwell, ISBN 978-0470505113 Rajiv Ramaswami, Optical Networks: A Practical Perspective, 3rd Edition , Morgan Kaufmann; 3rd edition (July 16, 2009), ISBN-10: 0123740924 Journals: Relevant articles from IEEE, IET and OSA journals and conferences

Transferrable Skills

b7 Higher level cognitive skills including analysing and synthesising skills b7 Problem solving b7 Independent learning skills b7 Information retrieval, interpretation and research skills b7 Communication skills

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Practicals (FT) 24.00
Independent Learning (FT) 120.00
Assessment (FT) 20.00
Lectures (FT) 24.00
Tutorials (FT) 12.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Exam (Exams Office) 2.00 70.00 35% Exam (Exams Office)
Coursework 1 n/a 30.00 35% Lab based assessment