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


  • Laser fundamentals (experiments), focussing on longitudinal modes, saturation, short pulse generation, laser threshold, photodetectors, and pumping methods
  • Laser projects and laser system experiments
Lab Equipment
After the experiments are completed, students carry out special projects of their own choosing which utilize the following items of equipment: Pulsed Nd: YAG, excimer and dye lasers; CW AR+ and dye lasers; multichannel detection systems (such as OMAs); a wide variety of spectrographs and electronic detection equipment (boxcar integrators, lock-ins, etc.)
W.T. Silfvast, Laser Fundamentals.
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.

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: 5/23/2013