ECE 460

ECE 460 - Optical Imaging

Fall 2023

Optical ImagingECE460AB139248LAB01300 - 1650 W  3016 Electrical & Computer Eng Bldg Siyuan Wang
Optical ImagingECE460AB239249LAB01500 - 1850 T  3016 Electrical & Computer Eng Bldg Siyuan Wang
Optical ImagingECE460AB339250LAB00900 - 1250 W  3016 Electrical & Computer Eng Bldg Siyuan Wang
Optical ImagingECE460AL139247LEC41100 - 1220 T R  3013 Electrical & Computer Eng Bldg Peter D Dragic

Official Description

Scalar fields, geometrical optics, wave optics, Gaussian beams, Fourier optics, spatial and temporal coherence, microscopy, interference chromatic and geometric aberrations, Jones matrices, waveplates, electromagnetic fields, and electro-optic and acousto-optic effects. Laboratory covers numerical signal processing, spectroscopy, ray optics, diffraction, Fourier optics, microscopy, spatial coherence, temporal coherence, polarimetry, fiber optics, electro-optic modulation and acousto-optic modulation. Course Information: 4 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours. Prerequisite: ECE 329; credit or concurrent registration in ECE 313.

Subject Area

  • Electromagnetics, Optics and Remote Sensing

Course Director


Introduction to visible and infrared imaging systems covering fields, optical elements, electronic sensors, and embedded processing systems. Lectures and labs cover active and passive illumination, ranging, holography, polarization, coherence, spectroscopy and sampling.

Preview ECE 460


To introduce students to the design principles, hardware and laboratory practice of computational optical imaging systems.


  • Geometric optics and field propagation
  • Fourier analysis of field propagation
  • Fourier analysis of physical imaging
  • Field properties: Intensity and polarization
  • Field properties: Spectra and coherence
  • Detectors, focal planes, sampling and information
  • Aliasing, holography, interferometery
  • Multiplex imaging, active imaging systems
  • Detection and imaging applications

Detailed Description and Outline

To introduce students to the design principles, hardware, and laboratory practice of optical imaging systems.


  • Properties of Light: measurable quantities
  • Geometrical Optics
  • Wave Optics
  • Fourier Optics
  • Spatial and temporal field correlations
  • Low-coherence interferometry
  • Optical coherence tomography
  • Microscopy
  • Aberrations
  • Polarization
  • Waveplates
  • Electro-optics
  • Acousto-optics

Computer Usage

Homework porjects and laboratory activity will require use of computer for signal/image porcessing, data acquisition, analysis, plotting.


Reports will accompany each of the 10 laboratory sessions.

Lab Projects

1. Signal Processing

2. Spectroscopy

3. Ray optics

4. Diffraction

5. Fourier Optics

6. Spatial Coherence

7. Temporal Coherence

8. Microscopy

9. Polarization

10. Electro-optics/ Acousto-optics

Lab Equipment

  • Computers
  • Spectrometers, fiber optics
  • Lasers, LEDs
  • Lenses, mirrors, beam splitters, other optomechanical elements
  • Diffraction gratings, spatial filters
  • Interferometry systems
  • Inverted microscope, with phase contrast
  • Polarizers, waveplates, liquid crystal spatial light modulators
  • Electro-optic modulators
  • Accousto-optic modulators

Lab Software

Mathematica, Labview, Mathcad

Topical Prerequisites

ECE 329


Saleh and Tiech, Fundamentals to Photonics, 2nd ed., Wiley.


Saleh, B. E. A. and M. C. Teich (2007). Fundamentals of photonics. New York, Wiley.
Popescu, G. (2011). Quantitative phase imaging of cells and tissues. New York, McGraw-Hill.
Popescu, G. (2018). Principles of Biophotonics, Volume 1 - "Linear systems and the Fourier transform in optics", IOP Publishing.

Course Goals

The goals of ECE 460 Optical Imaging are to:

1. Develop an understanding of optical diffraction and image formation

2. Develop an understanding of the measurable properties of optical fields, including polarization, spectra, coherence and intensity

3. Develop an understanding of electronic image sensors and intensity sampling

4. Provide hands on exposure to elementary and advanced imaging systems, including Fourier filtering systems, focal planes, and imaging systems.

Instructional Objectives

ECE 460 combines lectures, discussions, analytic exercises (homework and prelabs), and laboratory exercises to provide an integrated analytic and hands-on understanding of imaging systems. The course consists of three segments: [1] field properties, diffraction and imaging, [2] sensors and sampling, and [3] example systems.

1. At the completion of the segment [1], students should be comfortable with the concept of spatial frequency and multidimensional Fourier analysis. They should have an intuitive understanding the action of lenses, gratings, prisms, and other optical components. They should be able to design, assemble, and analyze basic imaging systems. They should be able to analytically calculate and numerically model spatial field distributions given boundary conditions. These abilities will be evaluated through prelab homework and laboratory exercises. (1, 2, 6)

2. At the completion of segment [2], students should understand the physical processes of generating light and converting light intensities to electronic signals on focal planes. They should have laboratory experience with CCD detectors and imagers. They should understand the origins of aliasing and other sampling artifacts, and they should be aware of physical and digital processes for counteracting sampling limitations. (1, 2, 6)

3. Segment [3] provides students with hands-on experience in image formation, multidimensional imaging, active illumination, and optical design. At the completion of this segment students should have solid basic understanding of the analog to digital interface in imaging systems and confidence in design and analysis of imaging systems. (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)

Last updated

5/22/2019by James Andrew Hutchinson