ECE 5134G Advanced Fiber Optics and Applications | ECE | Virginia Tech


Course Information


Theory of optical fiber waveguide propagation and design applications in communication and sensing systems.

Why take this course?

The course introduces students to the basic building blocks of optical fiber technology. These include the types and properties of fibers, optical sources and detectors, and fiber components and devices. These building blocks are introduced in the context of long distance fiber optical transmission systems which push the technology to its limits. The material is necessary for advanced study of optical communications and the skills acquired in this course are fundamental for employment in the rapidly growing fiber optics industry.


Prerequisites: Graduate standing

Graduate Standing

Major Measurable Learning Objectives

  • Carry out modal analysis of step-index optical fibers
  • Evaluate material, modal, and waveguide dispersion of optical fibers and estimate their information carrying capacity
  • Design and analyze optical fibers and fiber components and devices
  • Describe the fundamental properties of semiconductor light sources, including laser diode and light-emitting diode (LED)
  • Describe the principles of operation and noise mechanisms of photodetectors, including p-i-n and avalanche photodiodes
  • Utilize the basic fiber building blocks in the development and operation of optical fiber systems

Course Topics


Percentage of Course

Digital data links 4%
Ray Theory 4%
Modal Analysis 12%
Signal degradation mechanisms 8%
Optical fiber sources 8%
Detectors and receivers 8%
Coupling and connecting 4%
System Design Considerations 12%
Fiber sensors 8%
Passive and active fiber components and devices 12%
Fiber Nonlinearities 8%
Advanced Topics/ResearchProjects 12%