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SK2811 Fiber-optical Communication 7.5 credits

The high ways of the IT society are the optical fibers. An optical fiber can transport several tens of terabit per second over hundreds of kilometers. Fiber-optic communication is an established technique but is simultaneously in rapid technical development towards higher bit-rates and more complex networks. The course will give you the knowledge in order to understand both the fundamentals and the rapid development, that you as professional engineer can use the fiber optics efficiently. The course treats important devices as optical fibers, laser diodes, optical detectors, and receivers from physical and transmission system point of view. You will also learn how to optimise optical communication links and calculate the bit error rate. The language is english

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Choose semester and course offering to see current information and more about the course, such as course syllabus, study period, and application information.

Headings with content from the Course syllabus SK2811 (Spring 2022–) are denoted with an asterisk ( )

Content and learning outcomes

Course contents

Dielectric wave-guides: Attenuation, wavelength dispersion.

Light sources: Semiconductor laser, light emitting diode, rate equations, output power, modulation, noise, laser amplifiers, chirp.

Detectors: PIN diode, avalanche diode, responsivity, bandwidth, noise,

Systems: Direct detection systems, heterodyne systems, attenuation limitations, dispersion limitations, signal dependent noise, additive noise, bit error rate, optical networks, solitones.

Intended learning outcomes

The course content is knowledge of fibre optical components, links, and systems. The system relevant parameters of devices are derived from a physical description, and these parameters form the basis for designing fibre optic links.

After a completed course the participants should be able to:

  • Understand, describe, analyze, compare the most important devices: light sources, fibres and detectors from both physical and system point of view.
  • Design digital fibre optic links and.

Course disposition

No information inserted

Literature and preparations

Specific prerequisites

English B / English 6

Bachelor's degree in physics, electrical engineering or equivalent degree

Recommended prerequisites

It is anticipated that the students are acquainted with:
- Waveguides: Wave equation and the concept of modes. 
- Solid-state electronics: p-n-junction
- Circuit theory: Impulse response, convolution, transfer function of linear systems.
- Signal theory: Auto correlation function, power spectral density


No information inserted


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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


  • LAB1 - Laboratory work, 1.5 credits, grading scale: P, F
  • TEN1 - Exam, 6.0 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.

Other requirements for final grade

One written examination (TEN1, 6 credits) and lab course (LAB1, 1.5  credit)

Opportunity to complete the requirements via supplementary examination

No information inserted

Opportunity to raise an approved grade via renewed examination



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 SK2811

Offered by

Main field of study

Engineering Physics

Education cycle

Second cycle

Add-on studies

No information inserted


Richard Schatz (

Supplementary information

Replaces IO2653