ECE 495
Photonic Device Laboratory

Displaying course information from Spring 2013.

Section Type Times Days Location Instructor
AB1 LAB -     Stewart Fryslie
AD1 DIS 0900 - 0950 M W   241 Everitt Lab  Kent Choquette
Official Description Active photonic devices and lightwave technology. Hands-on experience with several classes of lasers (HeNe laser, semiconductor edge emitting lasers, vertical cavity surface emitting lasers), photodetectors, and photonic systems. Familiarization with experimental optical characterization techniques and equipment. Course Information: 3 undergraduate hours. 3 graduate hours. Prerequisite: ECE 487 recommended.
Course Prerequisites
Course Directors Kent D Choquette
Detailed Description and Outline


1) Introduction to photonics

2) Emission & absorption)

3) Optical gain

4) Laser saturation & threshold

5) Optical resonators (modes and Gaussian beams)

6) Fabry-Perot interferometera

7) Photodetectors

8) Light emitting diodes

9) Edge emitting semiconductor lasers

10) Microcavity lasers (VCSELs)

11) Gain/resonance spectral alignment

12) Optical Fibers

13) Optical fiber amplifiers and lasers

14) Silicon photonics and components

15) Si-photonics

16) Free space optical interconnects

Lab Projects

Lab 1) He-Ne Laser

Lab 2) HeNe Emission & Beams

Lab 3) Photodetectors

Lab 4) Light Emitting Diodes

Lab 5) Edge Emitting Lasers

Lab 6) VCSELs

Lab 7) Microcavity Lasers (MNTL)

Lab 8) Fiber Lasers

Lab 9) Silicon Photonics

Lab 10) Free Space Interconnect

Lab Equipment

Optical spectrum analyzers, power supplies, oscilloscopes, semiconductor parametric analyzers, Fabry-Perot interferometers

Topical Prerequisities

ECE304 recommended.


Class notes.

ABET Category

Engineering Science: 2 credits or 67%
Engineering Design: 1 credit or 33%

Course Goals

To introduce advanced undergraduates and graduate students to active photonic devices and applications. To provide “hands-on” experience with several classes of lasers (HeNe laser, semiconductor edge emitting lasers, vertical cavity surface emitting lasers, and fiber lasers), photodetectors, and photonic systems, as well as to introduce to experimental optical characterization techniques and equipment. During the Spring 2015 semester, for the first time a lab on Si-photonics will be conducted, where designs will be submitted to a photonics foundry, and characterization data will be provided for analysis.

Instructional Objectives

By the end of the course, students will be able to do the following:

1. Align a discharge-pumped HeNe laser and optimize the output power. (b, c, d, g)

2. Recognize below and above threshold characteristics of a laser under continuous wave (CW) and pulsed operation. (a, b, d)

3. Measure the beam waist and determine the divergence of a laser beam. (a, b, d)

4. Calculate the small signal gain and saturation intensity for the He-Ne laser and verify the latter in the laboratory. (a, k, m)

5. Measure the spectral separation of longitudinal and/or transverse optical modes of various types of lasers. (a, b, d)

6. Using the excited state lifetime, emission wavelength, transition linewidth, and population inversion, estimate the pumping time required to reach threshold. (a, b, d, e)

7. Measure the emission profile and electrical properties of a light emitting diode. (a, b, d)

8. Measure the differential slope efficiency and wall plug efficiency of a laser. (a, b, d)

9. Measure on-wafer characteristics of vertical cavity surface emitting lasers. (a, b, d)

10. Determine the influence of micro-cavity effects on semiconductor laser output. (a, b, d)

11. Use a variety of photodetectors and characterize their device parameters. (a, b, d)

12. Measure emission and gain spectrum of an optical fiber amplifier and laser. (a, b, d)

13. Use an optical spectrum analyzer, interferometer, and optical power meter. (a, b, d)

14. Analyze an optical communication data link and characterize. (a, c, d, e, g, k)

Last updated: 11/9/2014 by Kent D. Choquette