525.796.8VL - Introduction to High-Speed Optoelectronics

Electrical and Computer Engineering
Summer 2023


This course provides the student with the fundamental concepts needed to address issues in both the design and test of high-speed optoelectronic systems. This is an emerging field where photonics is combined with high-speed electronics to generate, transmit, and process signals from microwave to terahertz frequencies. The purpose of this course is to introduce fundamental principles and state-of-the-art system applications. Topics include photonic and high-speed electronic principles, analog fiber optic link, principles of low-phase noise microwave sources, photonic methods for generating low-phase noise microwave signals, photonicbased RF signal processing techniques, and ultra-short optical pulse generation techniques. State-of-the-art applications include the low-phase noise opto-electronic oscillator, carrier envelope phase locked laser for time and frequency standards, photonic-based complex radar signal generators, phased-array antenna architectures including true time-delay beam forming and the ALMA radio-telescope array, photonic analog-to-digital converter techniques, electro-optic sampling, and Terahertz signal generation. Prerequisite(s): Bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering or physics. An undergraduate course in electromagnetics is required. A course in microwave theory is preferred.


Course Structure

ModuleTopics Covered
Module 1

Introduction / Optical Principles 

  • Course Overview 
  • Applications 
  • Wave nature of light 
  • Optical pulses and dispersion 
  • Maxwell’s equations 
Module 2

Photonic Fundamentals 

  • Polarization 
  • Fresnel equations 
  • Optical properties 
  • Optical waveguides 
  • Fiber optic waveguides 
Module 3

Single-Mode Optical Fibers 

  • Introduction 
  • Step-index fiber 
  • Weakly-guided approximation 
  • Attenuation 
  • Dispersion 
  • Nonlinearity 
Module 4

Photonic Active Devices 

  • Fundamentals of light-matter interaction 
  • Optical amplifiers 
  • Semiconductor lasers 
  • Electro-Optic (EO) modulators 
  • High-speed optical detectors 
Module 5

Modern Digital Fiber Optic Link 

  • History of fiber optic communications 
  • Fiber-optic components 
  • Optical fiber communication system 
  • Modulation technique 
  • Coherent optical communications 
Module 6

Microwave Fiber Optic Link 

  • Introduction 
  • Analog performance metrics 
  • Noise sources 
  • Fiber impairments 
  • Long haul link example 
Module 7 

Microwave Fiber Optic Link (cont.) 

  • Introduction 
  • Analog performance metrics 
  • Noise sources 
  • Fiber impairments 
  • Long-haul link example 
Module 8Mid-Term Exam
Module 9

Low-Noise Microwave Oscillators 

  • Applications 
  • Oscillator fundamentals 
  • Phase noise 
  • Measurement techniques 
  • Common microwave oscillators 
Module 10

Photonic-Based Microwave Oscillators 

  • Introduction 
  • Modulator-based oscillator 
  • Brilluoin-based oscillator 
  • Opto-electronic oscillator 
Module 11

Ultra-Short Optical Pulse Generation 

  • Mode-locked lasers 
  • Pulse shaping and compression 
  • Pulse propagation in optical fiber 
  • Optical solitons 
  • Pulse measurement 
Module 12

Carrier Envelope Phase Locked (CEPL) Laser 

  • History of time-frequency standards 
  • Principle of operation 
  • Applications 
  • Optical frequency combs 
Module 13

Ultra-Short Electrical Pulse Generation 

  • Photoconductivity 
  • THz pulsed imaging 
  • Electro-optic effect 
  • Electro-optic sampling 
Module 14

Microwave Photonic Applications 

  • Photonic-based radar 
    • Chirped waveform generation 
    • True-time delay beam steering 
  • ALMA radio-telescope 
    • Distributed coherent phased-array antenna 
Module 15

Integrated Microwave Photonics 

  • Overview of emerging technologies 
  • Soliton micro-resonator frequency combs 
  • Plasmonic modulators 
  • Chip-based SBS microwave oscillator 
  • SBS optical signal processing 
Module 16Final Exam 

Course Topics

Course Goals

The goal of this course is to introduce fundamental principles and state-of-the-art applications of photonics for generation, transmission and processing of high-speed signals in both continuous wave (cw) and pulsed formats. The ability to generate and process microwave and terahertz signals using optical techniques will be emphasized and compared to traditional microwave techniques.  Through this course it will be shown how photonics can be used to generate extremely broadband coherent signals and process ultra-fast electrical signals using nonlinear optical effects.  These unique properties are  combined with high-speed electronics to provide novel solutions for applications in sensing, communications and navigation.


Suggested References

Introduction to Modern Optics by Grant R. Fowles, Dover (1975). 

Fundamentals of Photonics, 2nd Ed., by B. E. A. Saleh and M. C. Teich, Wiley-Interscience (2007). 

Fundamentals of Microwave Photonics, Vincent J. Urick Jr., Jason D. McKinney and Keith J. Williams, Wiley (2015). 

Student Coursework Requirements

Mid-Term ExamJune 22
Final ExamAugust 1
Homework5-6 sets31%
Class Participation 5%

Grading Policy

Score RangeLetter Grade
100-97= A+
96-93= A
92-90= A−
89-87= B+
86-83= B
82-80= B−
79-77= C+
76-73= C
72-70= C−
69-67= D+
66-63= D
<63= F

Academic Policies

Deadlines for Adding, Dropping and Withdrawing from Courses

Students may add a course up to one week after the start of the term for that particular course. Students may drop courses according to the drop deadlines outlined in the EP academic calendar (https://ep.jhu.edu/student-services/academic-calendar/). Between the 6th week of the class and prior to the final withdrawal deadline, a student may withdraw from a course with a W on their academic record. A record of the course will remain on the academic record with a W appearing in the grade column to indicate that the student registered and withdrew from the course.

Academic Misconduct Policy

All students are required to read, know, and comply with the Johns Hopkins University Krieger School of Arts and Sciences (KSAS) / Whiting School of Engineering (WSE) Procedures for Handling Allegations of Misconduct by Full-Time and Part-Time Graduate Students.

This policy prohibits academic misconduct, including but not limited to the following: cheating or facilitating cheating; plagiarism; reuse of assignments; unauthorized collaboration; alteration of graded assignments; and unfair competition. Course materials (old assignments, texts, or examinations, etc.) should not be shared unless authorized by the course instructor. Any questions related to this policy should be directed to EP’s academic integrity officer at ep-academic-integrity@jhu.edu.

Students with Disabilities - Accommodations and Accessibility

Johns Hopkins University values diversity and inclusion. We are committed to providing welcoming, equitable, and accessible educational experiences for all students. Students with disabilities (including those with psychological conditions, medical conditions and temporary disabilities) can request accommodations for this course by providing an Accommodation Letter issued by Student Disability Services (SDS). Please request accommodations for this course as early as possible to provide time for effective communication and arrangements.

For further information or to start the process of requesting accommodations, please contact Student Disability Services at Engineering for Professionals, ep-disability-svcs@jhu.edu.

Student Conduct Code

The fundamental purpose of the JHU regulation of student conduct is to promote and to protect the health, safety, welfare, property, and rights of all members of the University community as well as to promote the orderly operation of the University and to safeguard its property and facilities. As members of the University community, students accept certain responsibilities which support the educational mission and create an environment in which all students are afforded the same opportunity to succeed academically. 

For a full description of the code please visit the following website: https://studentaffairs.jhu.edu/policies-guidelines/student-code/

Classroom Climate

JHU is committed to creating a classroom environment that values the diversity of experiences and perspectives that all students bring. Everyone has the right to be treated with dignity and respect. Fostering an inclusive climate is important. Research and experience show that students who interact with peers who are different from themselves learn new things and experience tangible educational outcomes. At no time in this learning process should someone be singled out or treated unequally on the basis of any seen or unseen part of their identity. 
If you have concerns in this course about harassment, discrimination, or any unequal treatment, or if you seek accommodations or resources, please reach out to the course instructor directly. Reporting will never impact your course grade. You may also share concerns with your program chair, the Assistant Dean for Diversity and Inclusion, or the Office of Institutional Equity. In handling reports, people will protect your privacy as much as possible, but faculty and staff are required to officially report information for some cases (e.g. sexual harassment).

Course Auditing

When a student enrolls in an EP course with “audit” status, the student must reach an understanding with the instructor as to what is required to earn the “audit.” If the student does not meet those expectations, the instructor must notify the EP Registration Team [EP-Registration@exchange.johnshopkins.edu] in order for the student to be retroactively dropped or withdrawn from the course (depending on when the "audit" was requested and in accordance with EP registration deadlines). All lecture content will remain accessible to auditing students, but access to all other course material is left to the discretion of the instructor.