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ES4C4 Optical Communication Systems

  • Module code: ES4C4
  • Module name: Optical Communication Systems
  • Department: School of Engineering
  • Credit: 15

Content and teaching | Assessment | Availability

Module content and teaching

Principal aims

This module is designed to present the key elements driving the growth in optical communication systems. The approach necessary includes not only an appreciation of device principles but also the broader picture of optoelectronic systems integration, essential to the future provision of high bandwidth for multimedia applications. Within the module the principles of optical fibre waveguiding and fibre transmission characteristics are presented. In addition, the operation of modern optical devices is described. Furthermore, the module also considers the detailed design, analysis and operation of optical fibre communication systems and networks. In particular, it presents detailed coverage of important optical fibre and free space networks for future communication applications, with both the facilitating technologies and the networks resulting from their integration being considered. The module aims to provide specialist knowledge of the strategies and techniques involved in the design and implementation of optical communication systems.

Principal learning outcomes

By the end of the module students will be able to: • Analyse and design modern optical fibre systems. • Display advanced knowledge of modern optical components and their integration and exhibit considerable insight into emerging technologies in optical fibre and infrared/visible optical wireless systems. • Quantify, and understand the significance of, dispersion and attenuation in optical fibre communications. • Utilise the Gaussian approximation to the fundamental propagation mode in optical fibres. • Demonstrate advanced understanding of optical receiver signals, amplification, noise, distortion and measurement. • Analyse optical preamplifiers and interpret the results. • Employ the optical fibre V-parameter to produce fibre design curves.

Timetabled teaching activities

20 x 1 hr lectures; 1 x 1 hr seminar; 1 x 1 hr examples class, 1 x 3 hr laboratory Total 25 hours

Departmental link

Other essential notes

Advice and feedback hours for answering questions on the lecture material (theory and examples) and past examination questions Students are required to pass both examination and assessments »40%

Module assessment

Assessment group Assessment name Percentage
15 CATS (Module code: ES4C4-15)
D (Assessed/examined work) Assignment 20%
  Laboratory Exercise 10%
  3 hour examination (Summer) 70%
VA (Visiting students only) 100% assessed (part year) visiting 100%

Module availability

This module is available on the following courses:

  • MEng Engineering (H10G) - Year 4
  • MEng Electronic Engineering (H60D) - Year 4
  • Postgraduate Taught Communications and Information Engineering (H641) - Year 1
Optional Core


  • Postgraduate Taught Data Analytics (G5PA) - Year 1
  • MEng Engineering (H107) - Year 4
  • MEng Engineering with Intercalated Year (H109) - Year 5
  • MEng Engineering (H10C) - Year 4
  • MEng Engineering (H10D) - Year 4
  • MEng Engineering (H10K) - Year 4
  • MEng Engineering (H10L) - Year 4
  • MEng Engineering (H10M) - Year 4
  • MEng Engineering with Year in Research (H110) - Year 5
  • MEng Electronic Engineering (H60C) - Year 4
  • MEng Electronic Engineering (H635) - Year 4
  • MEng Electronic Engineering with Intercalated Year (H636) - Year 5
  • MEng Electronic Engineering with Year in Research (H637) - Year 5
  • Postgraduate Taught Energy and Power Engineering (H642) - Year 1
  • MEng Electronic Engineering with Exchange Year (H64Z) - Year 4