OWT    Optical Waveguide Theory

Course L.048.24019 / L.048.92038, academic year 2019/2020, summer semester 2020. The course is part of the Master curricula for Electrical Engineering and Electrical Systems Engineering of the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, and Mathematics at the University of Paderborn. Besides students that follow the Engineering tracks, also students from other areas, where phenomena related to electrodynamics play a role, are most welcome. The course language will be English. Lecturer: Manfred Hammer.

Attention, please !
  • At present, restrictions of University procedures due to the COVID-19 pandemic are in effect. The start of the lecture period has been postponed to April 20, 2020. The schedule below shows the current planning for the course, adjusted to the shorter semester, assuming that it will be possible to have regular lectures and exercises classes.
  • At the moment, however, it looks as if regular classes, with all students present in the seminar room, won't be possible, at least for some first part of the semester. Hence we will have to start with this course using online means only:
    • In addition to the regular sheets (see the table below), lecture notes (handwritten …) will be available. These cover reasonably well the material that would have been discussed during the lectures, also those parts (like more elaborate derivations, blackboard) that are not explicitly on the sheets.
    • Regular video conferences will be held. Students are expected to have studied the material (sheets and notes) associated with the respective lecture in advance. The conference calls are then meant as an opportunity to ask questions on those parts of the theory that remain obscure, to ask for further examples, clarifications, etc., and also to get hints on excercise problems, if applicable. All students are requested to participate in these weekly conference calls. We will use the time slot on Wednesdays, 09:15 that was orginally allocated for the lectures (table) for these sessions.
    • The time slot on Thursdays, 09:15 can be used as an opportunitiy for individual contact, for further specific feedback and answers to individual questions. Contact me by e-mail, phone (send an e-mail first, I'll call back), or by video conference.
    • Solutions to the exercise problems should be handed in electronically by e-mail by the time indicated in the table below at the latest (.pdf format; typing is not necessary, scans/photos of handwritten pages are welcome as well, please use conversion to black and white, observe the file size).
    • We will use a UPB instance of Jitsi Meet for videoconferencing (in case you use the Chrome browser: adjust your privacy settings(!) — unfortunately things seem not to work as well with Firefox). In case of the regular meetings on Wednesdays, I will set up the call and send you an e-mail invitation in advance.
    • Start of the course: We meet for a first video conference on Wednesday, April 22, at 09:15. I'll set up and moderate the meeting and send you an e-mail link to the Jitsi site a little earlier (around 09:10, say). Please prepare your setup in advance, and observe your e-mail inbox. I ask all interested students
      • to register for the course in PAUL, if appropriate, and
      • to send me a notification on the e-mail address through which you can be reached regularly during this semester, e.g. for purposes of the videoconferencing.
    • We will switch to regular classroom sessions as soon as those are permitted again, then adhering to the schedule as given in the table below.

Dielectric optical waveguides constitute key-elements of present-day integrated optical / photonic circuits. This course provides an introduction to their theoretical background, and, as such, a sound basis for further, more specific, modelling, simulation, and design work, as well as for experimental activities in the field.


This course will not strictly follow a textbook. Most of our material, however, can be found, if not in a standard introduction to classical electrodynamics, then in slightly more specialized textbooks on optical waveguide theory or integrated optics. Examples are

At the moment only a preliminary distribution of topics over lectures exists, which may be subject to change, depending on the progress of the course.

Our weekly procedure consists of lectures (14×) and tutorials / exercises classes (10×), from week 15, April 08, until week 29, July 16, on Wednesdays and Thursdays, in the time slots 09:15 - 10:45 (Wed) and 09:15 - 10:45 (Thu), in the seminar room P1.5.01.4 / P1.5.01.5 in the TET-corridor. The prospective schedule (irregularities are mostly caused by public holidays) is as follows:

Week Date Time Room
17 We, 22.04. 09:15 - 10:45 P1.5.01.4 Lecture A (sheets) Homework (a)
17 Th, 23.04. 09:15 - 10:45 P1.5.01.4 Lecture B (sheets)
Deadline for homework delivery! 18 We, 29.04. 09:15 - 10:45 P1.5.01.4 Lecture C (sheets) Homework (b)
18 Th, 30.04. 09:15 - 10:45 P1.5.01.4 Exercises (a)
19 We, 06.05. 09:15 - 10:45 P1.5.01.4 Lecture D (sheets)
19 Th, 07.05. 09:15 - 10:45 P1.5.01.4 Tutorial (b)
Deadline for homework delivery! 20 We, 13.05. 09:15 - 10:45 P1.5.01.4 Lecture E (sheets) Homework (c)
20 Th, 14.05. 09:15 - 10:45 P1.5.01.4 Exercises (b), Tutorial (c)
21 We, 20.05. 09:15 - 10:45 P1.5.01.4 Lecture E, continued
21 Th, 21.05. ---
Deadline for homework delivery! 22 We, 27.05. 09:15 - 10:45 P1.5.01.4 Lecture F (sheets) Homework (d)
22 Th, 28.05. 09:15 - 10:45 P1.5.01.4 Exercises (c)
23 We, 03.06. 09:15 - 10:45 P1.5.01.4 Lecture G (sheets)
23 Th, 04.06. 09:15 - 10:45 P1.5.01.4 Tutorial (d)
Deadline for homework delivery! 24 We, 10.06. 09:15 - 10:45 P1.5.01.4 Lecture G, continued Homework (e)
24 Th, 11.06. ---
25 We, 17.06. 09:15 - 10:45 P1.5.01.4 Lecture H (sheets)
25 Th, 18.06. 09:15 - 10:45 P1.5.01.4 Exercises (d), Tutorial (e)
Deadline for homework delivery! 26 We, 24.06. 09:15 - 10:45 P1.5.01.4 Lecture I (sheets) Homework (f)
26 Th, 25.06. 09:15 - 10:45 P1.5.01.4 Exercises (e)
27 We, 01.07. 09:15 - 10:45 P1.5.01.4 Lecture J (sheets)
27 Th, 02.07. 09:15 - 10:45 P1.5.01.4 Tutorial (f)
Deadline for homework delivery! 28 We, 08.07. 09:15 - 10:45 P1.5.01.4 Exercises (f) Homework (g)
28 Th, 09.07. 09:15 - 10:45 P1.5.01.4 Tutorial (g)
Deadline for homework delivery! 29 We, 15.07. 09:15 - 10:45 P1.5.01.4 (Summary)
29 Th, 16.07. 09:15 - 10:45 P1.5.01.4 Exercises (g)

All sheets, as far as provided, are tentative; there is a chance that the contents will be adapted before the lecture, very briefly before the lecture, or, if mistakes are discovered, even after the lecture. Cummulative .pdfs of the sheets used in all lectures are available, in original and compactified form. Note that, along with the sheets used for the separate classes, these are likely to change. In addition to the sheets, the lectures will rely heavily on a traditional blackboard; it is recommended that students take notes.

The lectures will be accompanied by bi-weekly homework assignments. These intend to deepen the topics of the lecture, to fill in omitted details, and to apply and extend the theory. While a discussion on the topics of the homework is encouraged, the problems are to be solved and the solutions to be written down individually. Solutions are to be handed in (on paper) at the beginning of the lecture indicated by the dots Deadline for homework delivery! in the table above, at the latest. Earlier submissions are always welcome. The solutions will be (roughly) corrected and (roughly) graded. The problems will then be discussed in detail in the following exercises class. Each student is supposed to be able to explain her or his solutions, and each student should regularly present an answer to (part of) a problem. The bi-weekly tutorials will be an occasion to raise questions on the topics of the course, to ask for specific hints on homework problems, and to continue with the solutions. This obviously requires the students to have studied the problems in advance. The course closes with an oral examination.