• Offered by Research School of Physics
  • ANU College ANU Joint Colleges of Science
  • Classification Specialist
  • Course subject Engineering
  • Areas of interest Photonics, Physics, Engineering, Communications

Optical fibres now constitute the backbone of the world’s long-distance telecommunications systems and are also being used increasingly in other areas, such as sensing, biophotonics, automotive, etc. The course sets out to provide a basic understanding of optical transmission systems concentrating on light propagation along fibres and light processing using fibre- and planar waveguide-based devises. Light propagation includes: modal propagation and Maxwell's equations; ray tracing, Snell's and Fesnel's Laws; single-mode, multi-mode and special fibres; pulse propagation and dispersions; nonlinear effects; fibre and planar waveguide fabrication; analytical and numerical techniques; birefringence and bend loss. Light processing devices include: couplers and splitters; gratings and arrayed waveguide gratings; Mach-Zehnder and multimode interferometers; optical amplifiers and attenuators; polarisers. With knowledge of the basic physical principles of these key photonic components we consider how they affect the practical performance and limits; and how they influence the design of real-world telecommunication systems. Laboratory work covers mainly hands-on fibre-based experiments and some numerical simulations.

This course is co-taught with undergraduate students but assessed separately.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. In-depth understanding of the operation of key components in a lightwave communication system using analytical and numerical methods;
  2. Critical analysis of the main factors affecting the performance and limits of real-world lightwave communication systems;
  3. Hands-on working knowledge of fibre optic components, their handling, and how they are integrated for information transmission;
  4. Able to design a lightwave transmission system using simulation software by applying cognate knowledge;
  5. To demonstrate independent acquisition and evaluation of further relevant knowledge beyond the classroom.
  6. Be able to understand and communicate recent developments in telecommunications from published works.

Other Information


Indicative Assessment

  1. In-class activities (Quizzes) (10) [LO 1,2,4,5]
  2. Assignments (Including one 10-15 page paper and presentation) (25) [LO 1,2,4,5,6]
  3. Laboratory (25) [LO 3]
  4. Examination (40) [LO 1,2,4,5]

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The course will be taught in flipped classroom (blended) mode. The expected workload will consist of approximately 130 hours throughout the semester including:

• Face-to face component which may consist of 1 x 2 hour workshop per week and 4 x 3 hour laboratory sessions throughout the semester.

• Approximately 94 hours of self directed study which will include watching online lectures and preparation for workshops and other assessment tasks.

Inherent Requirements

To be determined

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must be studying a Master of Engineering. Incompatible with ENGN4513, PHYS3060, PHYS6501.

Prescribed Texts


Assumed Knowledge

PHYS1001, or PHYS1101, PHYS1202 and PHYS2017 or equivalent


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

First Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
2317 21 Feb 2022 28 Feb 2022 31 Mar 2022 27 May 2022 In Person N/A

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