Course detail

Aerospace Photonics

FEKT-MPA-ASPAcad. year: 2022/2023

Students will get acquainted with basic concepts of photonics, the theory of photons and optical waves, particular components of photonic systems, and laser beam shaping. Students will also get acquainted with optical transmitters and receivers, the interaction of the optical beam with the atmospheric transmission medium and other transmission environments, adaptive optical and PAT systems, statistical and stationary parameters of photonic links, and their energy budget. Students will get an overview of particular photonic communication systems operating in horizontal and vertical directions and will also get acquainted with optical satellite systems. Students will design their own photonic communication system in an individual project.

Learning outcomes of the course unit

The graduate of the course will be able to: (a) describe the basic aspects of photonics, photon and optical wave; (b) describe and explain the principle of the passive components function of the photonic system; (c) describe and explain the function of optical detectors; (d) explain the interaction of optical beams with the transmission medium; (e) describe the profile of the atmospheric transmission medium in the horizontal and vertical directions; (f) describe adaptive optics systems and PAT systems; (g) name and describe statistical and stationary parameters of photonic links; (h) calculate the photonic link energy budget; (i) design the photonic link; (j) name, describe and compare different types of photonic links; (k) name and describe optical satellite systems.


The subject knowledge on the Bachelor´s degree level is requested.


Not applicable.

Recommended optional programme components

Not applicable.


Saleh B. A. E., Teich M.C., Fundamentals of Photonics, New York: John Wiley & Sons, 2006. 978-0-471-35832-9. (EN)
Stotts L. B., Free Space Optical Systems Engineering: Design and Analysis, New York: Wiley Telecom, 2017. 9781119279020. (EN)
Andrews D.G., An Introduction to Atmospheric Physics, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010. 978-0-521-69318-9. (EN)
Sharma M., Chadha D., Chandra V., High-altitude platform for free-space optical communication: Performance evaluation and reliability analysis, IEEE/OSA Journal of Optical Communications and Networking, vol. 8, no. 8, pp. 600-609, 2016. doi: 10.1364/JOCN.8.000600. (EN)
Kaushal H., Kaddoum G., Optical Communication in Space: Challenges and Mitigation Techniques, IEEE Communications Surveys & Tutorials, vol. 19, no. 1, pp. 57-96, Firstquarter 2017. doi: 10.1109/COMST.2016.2603518. (EN)

Planned learning activities and teaching methods

Teaching methods include lectures and numerical excercises. Course is taking advantage of e-learning (Moodle) system. Students have to elaborate a single project during the course.

Assesment methods and criteria linked to learning outcomes

Evaluation: 2 tests (up to 10 points for both tests), 1 individual project (up to 20 points). The test has a compulsory written part (up to 50 points) and a compulsory oral part (up 20 points). The content of the exam corresponds to the subject annotation.

Language of instruction


Work placements

Not applicable.

Course curriculum

1. System aspects of photonics – photon and optical wave
2. Passive components of photonic systems
3. Laser beam shaping
4. Optical transmitters, optical fiber amplifiers, repeaters, and EO modulators
5. Optical detectors and optical signal receivers
6. Interaction of optical beams with a transmission medium, propagation of optical beams in optical fibers and in a vacuum
7. Horizontal and vertical modeling of the Earth's atmospheric transmission medium
8. Adaptive optics, optical systems, and PAT systems, multi-hop relaying
9. Statistical and stationary parameters of photonic systems, modulation
10. Photonic link budget
11. Properties and parameters of individual types of ground-to-air, air-to-air, space-to-space, space-to-ground photonic links
12. Satellite systems – European Data Relay System, SOTA, OPALS, OSIRIS and etc.
13. Expected development of aerospace photonic systems


The aim of the course is to acquaint students with the principles of photonics and basic components of optical and photonic systems, to explain the principle of laser beam shaping, to explain the principle of optical sources operation, amplifiers, repeaters, and modulators. Another goal is to acquaint students with the principle of laser beam detection, to explain the principle of interaction of optical beams with transmission media. Students will get acquainted with horizontal and vertical photonic communication systems, which include adaptive optical systems or PAT systems. In the course, they will learn to calculate the energy budget of photonic links. The aim of the course is also to acquaint students with specific optical satellite systems.

Specification of controlled education, way of implementation and compensation for absences

Evaluation of activities is specified by a regulation, which is issued by the lecturer responsible for the course annually.

Classification of course in study plans

  • Programme MPA-SAP Master's, 1. year of study, summer semester, 4 credits, compulsory

Type of course unit



26 hours, compulsory

Teacher / Lecturer

Fundamentals seminar

13 hours, compulsory

Teacher / Lecturer