Course detail

Aerospace Photonics

FEKT-MPA-ASPAcad. year: 2023/2024

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.

Language of instruction


Number of ECTS credits


Mode of study

Not applicable.

Entry knowledge

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

Rules for evaluation and completion of the course

Evaluation: 2 optional tests (up to 10 points for both tests), 1 compulsory individual project (up to 20 points, minimum 10 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.

To get credit, you need to submit an individual project and get at least 10 points for it. To pass the exam, you need to take part in a written and oral exam. 


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


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.
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.

Study aids

Not applicable.

Prerequisites and corequisites

Not applicable.

Basic literature

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)
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)

Recommended reading

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)


Classification of course in study plans

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

Type of course unit



26 hours, compulsory

Teacher / Lecturer


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 

Fundamentals seminar

13 hours, compulsory

Teacher / Lecturer


Geometric optics
Wave optics and safety
Electromagnetic optics
Optical transmitters
Optical receivers
Transmission media
Link budget