EE 421 (was EE 412)

EE 421 is an introduction course to fiber optic communications. This course is designed as an elective course for both the EE senior undergraduate students and EE graduate students. Students are expected to have a general knowledge on fiber optic communications after taking this course. The content of this course focuses on the engineering aspects of fiber optic communications. The prerequisite of this course is EE 320: Introduction to Optical engineering. This course is offered once a year.

This course basically consists of four major parts:

The first part introduces the motivations of using fiber optic communication systems, which include the huge bandwidth, low attenuation, immune from the electromagnetic field interference, et al. (1 week)

The second part of this course deals with light propagation in the optical waveguides. Both the simple geometrical approach and wave optics approach are used to calculate the light propagation in the optical fiber. The geometrical approach (i.e., total internal reflection) provides an intuitive feeling about light propagation in the fiber while the wave optics approach i.e., Maxwell's equations) provides more accurate solutions. In particular, it can explain important concepts such as the conditions for single mode fiber and intramodal dispersions in single mode optical fiber. With the help of popular calculation software (e.g., Matlab, Mathcad), students are required to solve waveguide equations for single shape optical fibers (such as step index fiber). (5 week)

The third part of this course introduces some critical components that are needed in fiber optic communication systems. This includes the optical transmitter (laser diode), optical receiver (i.e., photodetector), modulators and demodulators (such as driving current approach and optical waveguide modulators), optical coupler (how to connect more than two fibers together), optical amplifier (including the basic principle of erbium doped fiber optic amplifiers), fiber optic gratings (a critical component for the multiple wavelengths fiber optic network systems), dispersion compensation device (such as chirped fiber optic grating based device) et al. (6 weeks)

The fourth part of this course talks about fiber optic networks. The major contents include fiber optic network architectures (such as star connect), multiplexing techniques in fiber optic networks (such as wavelength division multiplexing and time division mltiplexing), connection fiber optic networks with non-fiber optic networks (such as copper wire based networks), current trends in fiber optic networks, et al. (2 weeks)