ECE 3134 Introduction to Optoelectronics | ECE | Virginia Tech

Undergraduate PROGRAMS

Course Information


Fundamental principles of optoelectronics. The concept of photons, spontaneous emission, and stimulated emission. Rate equation analysis of light emitting diodes and lasers. Operation principles and device characteristics of photodetectors and solar cells. Advanced topics such as quantum well and emerging materials

Why take this course?

The course teaches the fundamental principles of optoelectronics. It introduces students to key concepts such as photons, absorption, spontaneous emission, and stimulated emission. Optical properties of materials such as semiconductors and dielectrics and their impact on device physics will also be treated. The pn junction will be reviewed in the context of optoelectronics. After taking this course, the students should be able to analyze the performance characteristics of devices such as light emitting diodes, lasers, photodetectors, and solar cells. The skills acquired in this course are required for a wide range of industries in areas such as optical communications, illumination and display, and photovoltaics. This course is also necessary for emerging research areas in nanoscale science and engineering.

Learning Objectives

  • Synthesize the relationships between basic parameters of photons, such as wavelength, photon energy, and frequency.
  • Analyze the operation of light emitting diodes and lasers by applying the concept of spontaneous emission and stimulated emission.
  • Calculate the relationship between current and optical intensity for lasers and light-emitting diodes through rate equation analysis.
  • Apply bandgap theory to determine the basic properties of semiconductor-based photodetectors and solar cells, such as the relationship between wavelength and the quantum efficiency of photodetectors, as well as wavelength and the conversion efficiency of solar cells.

Course Topics


Percentage of Course

Basic properties of photons and optical waves 10%
Photon absorption and emission 15%
Light emitting diodes 15%
Rate equation to describe laser performance 20%
Performance of photodetectors 15%
Photovoltaics 15%
Advanced topics such as quantum well and emerging materials 10%