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Photonics and Nanoelectronics - ELE00076H

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  • Department: Electronic Engineering
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Eugene Avrutin
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2024-25
    • See module specification for other years: 2023-24

Module summary

This module contains lectures and workshops with a focus on optics, quantum mechanics, solid state and semiconductor physics basics, and their applications in nanoelectronic and photonic devices. Device applications of free space and waveguide optics are introduced. Key quantum mechanical phenomena, such as quantum tunnelling, harmonic oscillator, magnetic spins, quantum statistics (with application to solid state and semiconductors), particle localisation in nanostructures, absorption and emission (spontaneous and stimulated) of light are described. Sample problems are solved in the workshops, preparing the students for assessment. Major applications of nanoelectronics, photonics, and nanophotonics are discussed, and future trends evaluated.

Related modules

No pre-requisites but Nano-related modules are recommended

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 2 2024-25

Module aims

  • To explain the operating principles and main technical characteristics of major photonic components (sources, receivers, modulators, amplifiers) and their impact on system design.

  • To explain the challenges and main routes from the miniaturisation and integration of optical components and circuits to the nanoscale.

  • To explain the optical properties of nanostructures (quantum wells, wires, dots) and the main differences from those of bulk (3D) materials.

  • To explain new possibilities offered by the use of nanostructures in photonic components.

  • To introduce the students to electron transport in nanoelectronic, spintronic and organic devices.

  • To explain the principles and development of quantum mechanics.

  • To apply quantum mechanics to nanoelectronic devices.

  • To explain the principle and the operation of nanoelectronic devices.

  • To develop skills in the selection and application of appropriate numeric and algebraic techniques

Module learning outcomes

  • Be able to list, and have an appreciation of, the major technical characteristics of traditional and advanced optoelectronic components.

  • Be able to distinguish between different types of nanostructures (wells, wires, dots) and describe the bandstructure of semiconductor nanostructures and its effect on optical properties.

  • Be able to explain how the optical properties of nanostructures affect the performance of optoelectronic devices.

  • Be able to explain the new possibilities in optoelectronics and photonics offered by the use of nanostructures.

  • Be aware of the main routes and challenges of integration and miniaturisation of optical components.

  • Appreciate the main challenges in fabrication and technology of photonic and nanophotonic devices.

  • Be able to assess the main trends in photonics and nanophotonics.

  • Be able to differentiate between microelectronic and nanoelectronic devices Understand the density of states in 3D, 2D, 1D and 0D devices.

  • Understand the length scales associated with quantum mechanical phenomena.

  • Be able to explain the fundamental physics and quantum mechanics that underpin nanoelectronic: photoelectric effect, de Broglie wave, atomic models, uncertainty principle, wave function, Schrödinger equation, eigenfunctions, quantum numbers, probability densities, angular momentum, electron spin.

  • Be able to explain the concepts of a quantum well, quantum transport and tunnelling effects.

  • Be able to use quantum mechanics to calculate the energy levels of periodic structures and nanostructures.

  • Be able to use quantum mechanics to calculate quantum tunnelling behaviour Be able to describe the principle and operation of tunnelling, spintronic, low-dimensional and organic nanodevices: quantum dots, nanowires, nanopillars, magnetoresistance, spin-dependent electron transport, organic electronics and single electron transistors.

  • Be able to give examples of applications of nanoelectronic devices.

  • Have developed confidence and fluency in advanced mathematical calculations

  • Be able to explain and evaluate advanced technical concepts concisely and accurately.

  • Be able to select, adapt and apply a range of mathematical techniques to solve advanced problems.


Task Length % of module mark
Closed/in-person Exam (Centrally scheduled)
Photonics and Nanoelectronics
N/A 50
Coursework 1
N/A 6.25
Coursework 2
N/A 6.25
Coursework 3
N/A 6.25
Coursework 4
N/A 6.25
Coursework 5
N/A 6.25
Coursework 6
N/A 6.25
Coursework 7
N/A 6.25
Coursework 8
N/A 6.25

Special assessment rules




Module feedback

'Feedback’ at a university level can be understood as any part of the learning process which is designed to guide your progress through your degree programme. We aim to help you reflect on your own learning and help you feel more clear about your progress through clarifying what is expected of you in both formative and summative assessments. A comprehensive guide to feedback and to forms of feedback is available in the Guide to Assessment Standards, Marking and Feedback.

The School of PET aims to provide some form of feedback on all formative and summative assessments that are carried out during the degree programme. In general, feedback on any written work/assignments undertaken will be sufficient so as to indicate the nature of the changes needed in order to improve the work. The School will endeavour to return all exam feedback within the timescale set out in the University's Policy on Assessment Feedback Turnaround Time. The School would normally expect to adhere to the times given, however, it is possible that exceptional circumstances may delay feedback. The School will endeavour to keep such delays to a minimum. Please note that any marks released are subject to ratification by the Board of Examiners and Senate. Meetings at the start/end of each term provide you with an opportunity to discuss and reflect with your supervisor on your overall performance to date.

Indicative reading

G.P. Agrawal, "Fiber-optic communications systems", Wiley 2005,

Booth, KM, & Hill, SL, 'The essence of Optoelectronics' Prentice Hall, 1998.

B.A. Saleh and M.C. Teich, “Fundamentals of photonics”, Wiley 2007

K. Goser, P. Glosekotter and J. Diestuhl, Nanoelectronics and Nanosystems (Springer, Berlin, 2004). V. V. Mitin, V. A. Kochelap and M. A. Stroscio, Introduction to Nanoelectronics (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2008).

D. Natelson, Nanostructures and Nanotechnology (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2016).

D. J. Griffiths, Introduction to Quantum Mechanics (Cambridge University Press Cambridge, 2017).

G. L. Squires, Problems in Quantum Mechanics (Cambridge University Press Cambridge, 1995).

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.