ELEC_ENG 382: Photonic Information Processing



ELEC_ENG 222 and ELEC_ENG 224


Introduction to photonic information processing; coherent and incoherent light; electro-optic and acousto-optic modulation; optical signal processing; holography; optical storage.

REQUIRED TEXT: Saleh and Teich, Fundamentals of Photonics , Wiley, latest edition

SUPPLEMENTAL TEXTS: A. Yariv, Optical Electronics , Oxford Press, 5th edition (1997). In addition, course notes will be distributed.

COURSE INSTRUCTOR: Prof. Selim Shahriar


COURSE GOALS: Introduce students to concepts in photonic information processing, i.e., how light is used in modern systems for encoding, manipulating, storing, and retrieving information.


  • Week 1: Introduction to Photonic Information Processing, Coherent vs. Incoherent Light
  • Week 2: Optical Propagation — A Linear System Approach: Paraxial Approximation and Fresnel Diffraction
  • Week 3: Gaussian Beams of Light and Their Propagation Characteristics
  • Week 4: Far-Field Limit and Fraunhofer Diffraction
  • Week 5: Thin Lens Imaging and Resolution Limits
  • Week 6: Optics of Anisotropic Media, Electro-optic Effect
  • Week 7: Propagation in Anisotropic Media, Electro-optic Modulation
  • Week 8: Acousto-optic Effect, Interaction of Light and Sound, AO Modulation
  • Week 9: Spatial Light Modulation, Application to Photonic Signal Processing
  • Week 10: Holography and Optical Storage

COMPUTER USAGE: Incidental use of MATLAB, Mathematica, or equivalent.

HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENTS: Homework assignments will be given to reinforce concepts taught in class.

LABORATORY PROJECTS: A few lab demonstrations of examples of photonic information processing will be presented.

GRADES: Homeworks – 20%, Exams – 80%

COURSE OBJECTIVES: When a student completes this course, s/he should be able to:

•  Have an understanding of photonic information processing.

•  Know what is the difference between coherent and incoherent light.

•  Understand how coherent light propagates in free space — that free-space propagation is equivalent to a linear shift-invariant filter.

•  Understand the differences between plane waves and Gaussian beams of light, the latter being the outputs of most lasers.

•  Do detailed calculations relating to the propagation and focusing of Gaussian beams of light.

•  Know how free-space diffraction affects the design of satellite-to-satellite and other open-space optical communication links.

•  Understand imaging with thin lenses and the origin of the fundamental resolution limit.

•  Know how light propagates in anisotropic media and what are electro-optic and acousto-optic effects.

•  Understand basic concepts of electro-optic and acousto-optic modulation of light.

•  Know how the above concepts are used in photonic information processing.

•  Apply the theory of light propagation to understand how holography and optical storage works.

•  Be prepared to take advanced courses in the area of photonics.

ABET CONTENT CATEGORY: 100% Engineering (Design component).