Syllabus for Preliminary Examination in Optoelectronics and Photonics

Revised October 2014


The Optoelectronics and Photonics preliminary examination will cover basic laser theory, semiconductor physics, optical properties of semiconductors and quantum wells, optical detection and imaging, electromagnetic waves, and basic undergraduate electrical engineering knowledge. The materials are roughly equivalent to those covered in EE232 (Lightwave Devices), EE118 (Optical Engineering), EE117 (Electromagnetic Fields and Waves), and EE130 (Integrated Circuits).

Expanded Description

1.      SEMICONDUCTOR OPTOELECTRONICS: basic semiconductor physics, including optical properties of semiconductors, Schrodinger equation, harmonic oscillator, blackbody radiation, , quantum structures, joint optical density of states, spontaneous emission, optical gain and absorption; devices and device physics, including basic diodes, transistors , heterojunction devices, semiconductor lasers, and photodetectors.

2.      BASIC LASER THEORY: Optical resonators, longitudinal modes, transverse modes, lasing threshold, concept of photon lifetime, rate equation, direct modulation.

3.      E&M: Maxwell’s equations, boundary conditions, dielectric waveguides, optical fibers, interference and diffraction theory.

4.      OPTICS: Geometric optics and ray tracing, lens formula, ABCD matrices, Gaussian beam propagation, imaging systems, Fourier optics, coherence.


  • Chuang, Physics of Optoelectronic Devices
  • Yariv, Optical Electronics, Quantum Electronics
  • Hetcht, Optics
  • Ramo, Whinnery and Van Duzer, Fields and Waves in Communication Electronics (or other equivalent semiconductor physics textbook)
  • Muller, Kamins, Device Electronics for Integrated Circuits (or other equivalent semiconductor physics textbook)

NOTE: The following courses may not be used to fulfill the prelim breadth requirement if you take the optoelectornics prelim: EECS 117, 118/218A, 119, 232, 233, 236A.