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ECE 498 YV -

Fall 2020

Official Description

Subject offerings of new and developing areas of knowledge in electrical and computer engineering intended to augment the existing curriculum. See Class Schedule or departmental course information for topics and prerequisites. Course Information: 0 to 4 undergraduate hours. 0 to 4 graduate hours. May be repeated in the same or separate terms if topics vary.

Course Director


Silicon photonics is a rapidly growing multi-$B industry as well as an active area of advanced research. This course will focus on practical applications of Electro-Magnetic concepts to photonic integrated circuits.


Silicon integrated photonics course covers four major topics:

1. Fundamentals of waveguide optics and passive silicon photonic devices including wavelength filters, mode converters, polarization and dispersion management.

2. Active silicon photonic devices based on carrier injection/depletion pn junction, photonic modulators, optical switches, photodetectors.

3. Application of integrated silicon photonics in optical communications systems in short and long haul optical links and datacenters.

4. Emerging applications of silicon photoncics in quantum computing, neuromorphic computing and biosensing.

Detailed Description and Outline

Silicon photonics is a rapidly growing industry as well as an active area of advanced research. This course will focus on practical applications of advanced EM concepts to silicon photonics integrated circuits. It combines the rigorous derivation of major physical concepts like matrix optics, waveguiding, coupled mode theory, pin junctions, etc. with the applications of these knowledge towards the design of practical silicon photonic devices like passive wavelength filters, active switches and modulators for optical communications, as well as germanium photodetectors. The emphasis will be given to interaction of guided EM waves with electrical charges in pin junction that would allow to understand the operation and design principles of a new class of photonic devices (modulators, switches, photodetectors, etc.) based on carrier-injection/depletion in silicon/germanium integrated optics. Fabrication approaches and CMOS integration challenges will be reviewed. System-level analysis of short-reach and long-haul optical links will be reviewed that will drive the design considerations for optical transmitter and receiver subsystems and individual devices.

1 .Optical communications: short-reach, long-haul, and data centers communications. Economic drivers towards photonic integration.

2. Symmetric dielectric waveguides. Computational methods for integrated photonics. Propagation matrix, finite difference time domain, eigenmode expansion. Design of waveguide structures.

3. Coupling to waveguide: edge, grating, evanescent coupling, spot-size converters. Packaging solutions and economic/functional/power constraints.

4. Cascaded MZI optical filters. Star couplers. Wavelength division multiplexing. Filters figures of merit.

5. Electro-optical effects. Phase and amplitude modulators. Index modulation in silicon. Thermal phase shifter, thermo-optic switch.

6. Review of PN-and PIN-junctions. Junction diode static and transient characteristics. Carrier-induced electro-optical effects.

7. Micro-ring modulators and switches, small-signal response, ring modulator design. Traveling wave design of reverse-biased electro-optic modulator. Design tradeoffs.

8. Introduction to short-reach and long-haul optical communications. Modulation formats, receiver and transmitter characteristics, optical link budget, BER and penalties

9. III-V integration with silicon photonics. Integrated lasers and amplifiers. Transmitter figures of merit.

10. Introduction to data center optical networks. Optical switching. Optical switches.

11. State of silicon photonics industry. Skills and competencies.

Computer Usage

Students are encouraged to solve some of the homework problems using computers.


Optional 4 credit hours: a comprehensive report is required that summarizes the design, fabricaiton steps, experimental results, and analysis of the chosen siliocon photonic circuit.

Lab Projects

Optional 4 credit hours: a hands-on independent project on CAD design, testing, and analysis of your own silicon photonic circuit.

Lab Software

Online mode solvers, finite-difference time domain modelling. .

Topical Prerequisites

Pre-requisite is ECE350.


Textbook: Mostly based on classnotes.

First part of the course is based on S.L.Chuang, Physics of Photonic Devices, 2nd Edition, Wiley, New York, 2009.

Supplementary Texts

L. Coldren, S. Corzine, M.L. Mashanovitch , Diode Lasers and Photonic Integrated Circuits, Wiley 2nd Edition (2012)

B.E.A.Saleh and M.C.Teich, Fundamentals of Photonics, 2nd ed., Wiley, New York, 2007.

Last updated

11/6/2019by Yurii Vlasov