Optical Communications (OC)

This is a quasi compulsory one-semester module for students of the International M.Sc. Course Communications Technology (CT). It provides a solid basis for understanding fiber-optic data transmission systems. Important components like the silica optical fiber as transmission medium, light-emitting diode or laser diode transmitters, optical amplifiers, as well as photodiode receivers are discussed in some detail. The entire system is characterized in terms of its bit error ratio performance and power budget. Signal multiplexing and restoration are also covered.


  • Properties of optical communication systems
  • Optical fibers: ray-optical model, step-index and graded-index fibers, wave-optical model, chromatic dispersion
  • Loss in optical fibers: absorption and scattering
  • Fabrication of fibers
  • Wave propagation in planar waveguides
  • Semiconductor materials: crystal lattices, direct and indirect bandgaps, mixed compound semiconductors, absorption and refractive index, emission and absorption
  • Light-emitting diodes for communications
  • Laser diodes
  • Photodiodes
  • Optical communication systems: detection sensitivity for digital signals, optical power budget
  • Signal multiplexing: electrical time division multiplexing (ETDM), dense and coarse wavelength division multiplexing (WDM), optical (de-)multiplexing devices, space division multiplexing (SDM)
  • Signal restoration: electronic repeater, erbium-doped fiber amplifier (EDFA), alternative optical amplifiers


  • A comprehensive English written manuscript is provided.


  • Bachelor degree (as required for the CT Master Program)

Note to German Electrical Engineering Students:

  • Dieses Modul befasst sich mit den Grundlagen der optischen Kommunikation. Es ist damit eine ausgezeichnete Ergänzung für Studierende der Elektrotechnik mit Schwerpunkt Kommunikationstechnik, obwohl es im Studienplan nicht aufgeführt ist. Als freies Modul kann es selbstverständlich dennoch gewählt werden.


  • Rainer Michalzik
  • Institut für Optoelektronik
  • Albert-Einstein-Allee 45
  • 89081 Ulm
  • Raum: 45.2.234
  • Telefon: (0731) 50-26048
  • Telefax: (0731) 50-26049

Dates, locations

Lectures / exercises
Monday 10:15−12:00 h, room 43.2.104
Wednesday 10:15−12:15 h, room 45.2.101

Monday, 20.04.2020



Hours per week

L 3, E 1 (6 credits)

Course Number

ENGFN 71723


Date of Exam:

To be determined


By announcement after the exam; see your online account