The fundamental principles of optics are envisaged namely those relevant for applications in  photonics, particularly those related with the detection of light, telecommunications, signal processing, optical and optical devices. In lab classes one aims to verify experimentally relevant principles in Photonics, and measure the optical constants of materials, with student involvement in planning of experimental activities and handling of optical instrumentation

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Paulo António Martins Ferreira Ribeiro


Weekly - 3

Total - 45

Teaching language



There are no particular previous courses required  to enrollment in this course. However, the course requires the following knowledge:

  •  Classical Mechanics
  • Electromagnetism
  • Mathematics:
    • Trigonometry
    • Diferenciation and Integration
    • Diferencial Equations
    • Complex Algebra


•Photonics: Optical Electronics in Modern Communications; Amnon Yariv, Pochi Yeh; six edition; Oxford University press 2007
•Optics and Photonics An Introduction; F. Graham Smith and Terry A. King, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd; 2000
•Fundamental of Photonics; BEA Saleh, M.C. Teich; John Wiley & Sons, Inc.; 1991
•Principles of Optics: Electromagnetic Theory of Propagation, Interference and Diffraction of Light; Max Born and Emil Wolf, Cambrige;7ª Edição, 1999
• Classroom Handouts, Paulo Ribeiro,2012

• Guides for Experimental activities, Paulo Ribeiro,2012


Teaching method

Teaching Methods

The Course of Photonics includes classroom presentation and exhibition of matter and of experimental activities classes in optics laboratory. A teaching methodology centered on the ongoing activity of the student is adopted, which includes the completion of online lessons and experimental activities and participation in the presentation of the program topics and problem solving. The classroom presentations are supported by video projection and demonstrations and simulations technological and applications are always emphasized. The teaching-learning process relies on E-Learning platform that posts all the course information, the learning units, lessons, set of experimental activities proposals within the learning units, quizzes, videos, information about relevant conferences in Photonics, catalogs of photonics components and devices manufacturers and scientific articles.

Evaluation method

 Assessment Elements 

•Online Activities: quizzes and lessons (AO)
•Experimental Activities: 4  to  5 experimental activities experimentais requiring full experiment preparation and programming, execution  and reporting. Each report will be evaluated and assigned a mark  (AE).

•Final test (T)

•Final Exam (E)
•Exclusion:  access to the final exam, by carrying out with success  all online  and experimental activities


  • N Online Activities: AO=1/N∑AOi
  • N Experimental Activities: AE=1/N∑AEi
  • Final Test: T
  • Final Exam: E
  • Final Mark:

CF=0,15xAO+0,45xAE+0,4x(T or E) 

Scales and Rounding 

 All ratings are given on a scale of 0 to 20 and those of the components are rounded to one decimal place and the final to units.

Subject matter


1. Introduction: Photonics, optoelectronics, biophotonics and nanophotonics. Applications and state of the art in the field of Photonics.
2. Production and Detection of Light: Introduction; light sources, thermal detectors, quantum detectors, image detection, spectral response, noise sensitivity and response time.
3. Photonic Materials and Devices: Light propagation equations, optical properties of inorganic and inorganc materials for use in Photonics.
4. Optics of Crystals: Introduction; propagation in anisotropic uniaxial and biaxial crystals (quartz, lithium niobate, calcite, KTP, KDP and organic crystals); birefringence; normal surface; classification of anisotropic crystals; theIndex  ellipsoid; optical activity.
5. Modulation and Switching of Light: Introduction; linear and quadratic electro-optical effects; electro-optical modulator, phase and amplitude modulation, photorefractive effect, Faraday effect; acousto-optic effect; phase conjugation; measuring of electro-optical properties.
6. Optical Fibre and Optical Amplifiers: Introduction, propagation modes, attenuation, distortion. Principles of amplification of light, spontaneous and stimulated emission, doped fiber amplifiers with rare earths, Raman amplifiers, semiconductor amplifiers.
7. Optical Components and Instrumentation: Introduction; lens mirrors and prisms, polarizers retarder plates, spatial filters, expanders, beam splitters, optical beam expander, stops, optical filters, gratings, optical assemblies and optical benches, reflectometry, Polarimetry and Ellipsometry, interferometers and interferometry, spectrometers.


Programs where the course is taught: