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SK2402 Fundamentals of Photonics 7.5 credits

The course outlines the fundamental physics underlying the generation, transmission, manipulation and detection of light in photonic components. These are the principles underpinning basic optical devices such as fibers, resonators, lasers and modulators, which nowadays have a widespread use for telecommunication, information processing and sensing in applications ranging from the internet, ta medicine, environmental monitoring and aerospace.

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Headings with content from the Course syllabus SK2402 (Autumn 2019–) are denoted with an asterisk ( )

Content and learning outcomes

Course contents

The course covers the physical principles underlying the operation of basic photonic components such as lasers, modulators, optical fibers and detectors and involving the generation, transmission, manipulation and detection of light.

Specifically, the course covers the following topics:

  • Electromagnetic optics
  • Beam optics
  • Guided-wave optics
  • Coupled mode theory
  • Optics of periodic systems
  • Resonator optics
  • Acousto-optics
  • Electro-optics
  • Nonlinear optics
  • Ultrafast optics
  • Generation and detection of light

Intended learning outcomes

After completing the course, the student should be able to

  • explain the physical principles underlying the generation, transmission, manipulation and detection of light.
  • choose, derive and apply suitable models to predict and analyze the response of basic photonic components such as optical waveguides, resonators, modulators, frequency converters and switches, optical sources and detectors.
  • identify and critically discuss the limits of validity and applicability of the different models.
  • perform basic measurements through hands-on work in a photonic lab.
  • analyze and present data acquired using lab instruments and generated by simulations.
  • be able to solve with the necessary literature practical and theoretical problems within the field of photonics.

Course disposition

No information inserted

Literature and preparations

Specific prerequisites

At least 120 credits in engineering and natural sciences and knowledge of English B or equivalent.

Recommended prerequisites

No information inserted


No information inserted


B. E. A. Saleh and M. C. Teich, “Fundamentals of Photonics”, Wiley series in Pure and Applied Optics, J. Wiley & Sons Publ. Information about the edition and any additional literature will be announced in the course PM.

Examination and completion

If the course is discontinued, students may request to be examined during the following two academic years.

Grading scale

A, B, C, D, E, FX, F


  • INL1 - Assignments, 2.5 credits, grading scale: P, F
  • LAB1 - Laboratory work, 1.0 credits, grading scale: P, F
  • TEN1 - Examination, 4.0 credits, grading scale: A, B, C, D, E, FX, F

Based on recommendation from KTH’s coordinator for disabilities, the examiner will decide how to adapt an examination for students with documented disability.

The examiner may apply another examination format when re-examining individual students.

The examiner, in consultation with the KTH Disability Coordinator (Funka), decides on any adapted examination for students with documented permanent impairment. The examiner may grant another examination form for reexamination of single students.

Other requirements for final grade

The course is examined by written exam (TEN1; 4 credits, grade scale A / B / C / D / E / Fx / F), as well as approved assignments (INL1; 2.5 credits, grade scale P / F) and laboratory work (LAB1; 1, 0 credits, grade scale P / F). The rating on TEN1 determines the grade on the course.

Opportunity to complete the requirements via supplementary examination

No information inserted

Opportunity to raise an approved grade via renewed examination



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Ethical approach

  • All members of a group are responsible for the group's work.
  • In any assessment, every student shall honestly disclose any help received and sources used.
  • In an oral assessment, every student shall be able to present and answer questions about the entire assignment and solution.

Further information

Course web

Further information about the course can be found on the Course web at the link below. Information on the Course web will later be moved to this site.

Course web SK2402

Offered by

SCI/Applied Physics

Main field of study

Engineering Physics

Education cycle

Second cycle

Add-on studies

No information inserted


Katia Gallo (