Syllabus for Preliminary Examination in Optoelectronics and Photonics

Revised September 2008


The Optoelectronics and Photonics preliminary examination will cover basic laser theory, semiconductor physics, optical properties of semiconductors and quantum wells, optical detection and noises, electromagnetic waves, and basic undergraduate electrical engineering knowledge. The primary emphasis will be on semiconductor materials and devices. The materials are roughly equivalent to those covered in EECS 232, 117, 130, and the equivalent of Physics 137A.

Expanded Description

1.      SEMICONDUCTOR OPTOELECTRONICS: basic semiconductor and device physics, optical properties of semiconductors, p-n junctions, joint optical density of states, optical absorption, amplification, semiconductor lasers, photodetectors and noises, quantum well devices.

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

3.      OPTICS AND E&M: Maxwell’s equations, boundary conditions, dielectric waveguides, optical fibers, Gaussian beam propagation, basic lens formula, ABCD matrices, diffraction theory.

4.      BASIC QUANTUM MECHANICS: Schrodinger equation, harmonic oscillator, blackbody radiation, occupation statistics (Fermi-Dirac, Bose-Einstein, Maxwell-Boltzman), Fermi's golden rule, Einstein AB coefficients, noises, optical gain and spontaneous emission.


  • Chuang, Physics of Optoelectronic Devices
  • Yariv, Optical Electronics, Quantum Electronics
  • Ramo, Whinnery and Van Duzer, Fields and Waves in Communication Electronics
  • 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, 119, 232, 233, 236A.