Bibliographic resources
Bibliography mandatory
Bibliography not mandatory
Summary Teaching Assignment
Academic Year 2018/2019
School School of Industrial and Information Engineering
Course 096061 - MICRO- AND NANO-OPTICS [C.I.]
Cfu 10.00 Type of Course Integrated Course
Lecturers: Titolare (Co-titolari) Marangoni Marco Andrea Arrigo, Della Valle Giuseppe

Programme Track From (included) To (excluded) Course
096510 - NANO OPTICS


The Aim of the course is threefold: (i) to introduce the student to the theoretical foundations and main applications of Microoptics and Nanooptics; (ii) to provide the student with a set of advanced tools and methods for the design and quantitative description of optical components and devices at the micro and nanoscale; (iii) to give the student the theoretical basis for the understanding of highly innovative topics in modern Photonics.

Expected learning outcomes
  • The student understands the physical basis of the optical phenomena taking place at the micro and nanoscale.
  • The student knows the guidelines for the modeling and design of micro and nanooptical devices.
  • The student is aware of the key functionalities implemented in micro and integrated optics and of the innovative challenges of nanooptics.

The student is able to apply the basic knowledge described above for:

  • explaining the operating principles of some prototypal optical devices at the microscale and nanoscale, with particular attention to their quantitative description and to the validity limits of the models under consideration;
  • solving simple problems in integrated and telecom optics, guided-wave photonics, dielectric periodic media, metal based (plasmonic) nanostructures and metamaterials;
  • understanding new trends in the high-tech market (from IT highways, to lab-on-chip and nanomedicine) dealing with advanced photonic structures.


1. Introduction to optical communication systems. Historical evolution. Introductory concepts: analog and digital transmission, multiplexing techniques, modulation formats. Layout of an optical communication system: topology, design criteria, integrated optical devices. Analysis of the bit-error-rate as a function of the main noise system sources. Communication systems limited by attenuation and dispersion.

2. Integrated optical devices. Couplers and power splitters in integrated optics. Coupled mode theory. Transfer matrix of the directional coupler. Functional analysis of the directional coupler as a 3-dB coupler, as a frequency filter and as an optical switch. Other types of couplers and beam splitters: the bifurcation, the multimode interference coupler, the star coupler.

3. Optical filters in integrated optics. FIR (Finite Impulse Response) and IIR (Infinite Impulse Response) filters. General spectral properties of filters. Mach-Zehnder interferometer: spectral response and engineering guidelines. The Arrayed Waveguide Grating (AWG): operation principle, transfer function, engineering guidelines. Functional analysis of the AWG as a de/multiplexer, as a router and as a reconfigurable add-drop filter. Ring resonant filter: transfer function and main features.

4. Electro-optic intensity modulators. The electro-optic effect: basic principles. X-cut and Z-cut lithium niobate modulators. Lumped and travelling electrodes. Bandwidth limitations. Integrated optical intensity modulators: architectures (Mach-Zehnder interferometer, directional coupler, deltabeta-reversed directional coupler) and performance. Comparison with bulk modulators.

5. Recent advances in the field of optical communications. DPSK modulation formats: signal to noise ratio and architecture of transmitters and receivers. Coherent detection and digital signal processing for multi-level transmission formats and dispersion compensation. Concluding seminar on fabrication techniques, packaging issues and new technological perspectives.

6. Theoretical Foundations of Nanooptics. Electromagnetism as an eigenvalue problem: electromagnetic harmonic modes, symmetries and classification of harmonic modes. Scaling properties of Maxwell's equations. Wave propagation in homogeneous and inhomogeneous media: angular spectrum representation, TE-TM decomposition, scalar diffraction theories, optical Schroedinger equation.

7. Photonic Crystals. Generalities on periodic lattices. Bloch electromagnetic theorem. Photonic band structure. One-dimensional PCs: periodic layered media, band states and gap states, surface states and bulk defect states. Applications to Bragg reflectors and filters, omnidirectional dielectric mirrors, photonic Bragg fibers. Two-dimensional PCs: a polarization-indepenendent band-gap, point and line defects and application to PC cavities and waveguides, out-of-plane propagation and PC fibers. PC Interfaces: negative refraction and superprism effect.

8. Near-field Optics. Evanescent waves. The diffraction limit to optical imaging. From the far-field to the near-field. Introduction to near-field optical microscopy and applications.

9. Plasmonics. Optical properties of noble metals. Surface Plasmon Polaritons (SPPs): derivation of the SPPs dispersion equation, optical properties of SPPs, excitation and detection of SPPs, plasmon-polaritons in thin metallic films (SR/LR-SPPs). Introduction to plasmonic waveguides. Localized plasmons (LPs): quasistatic theory of localized plasmonic resonances in noble metal nanospheres, optical properties of metallic nanoparticles (resonant polarizability, absorption and scattering cross-sections, field-enhancement, resonance tuning). Introduction to plasmonic nanosensing (SPR and SERS).

10. Metamaterials. Negative dielectric media. Artificial magnetism and materials with negative magnetic permeability (stack of metal cylinders, split ring resonators). Negative refractive index materials (NRM) and the effects of a reversed wave-vector. Surface electromagnetic modes in NRMs and Pendry's Perfect Lens. Experimental evidence of super-lenses with real materials. Introduction to Transformation Optics for the steering of light and cloacking of objects.


No pre-requisites, but the teaching makes use of the basic concepts of Optics and Electromagnetism.


Written examination, optionally followed by an oral examination. The written exam consists of open questions (typically 3 questions to be solved in 2 hours and 15 minutes), aimed at ascertaining:

  • the understanding of the physical basis of the optical phenomena at the micro and nanoscale;
  • the knowledge of the definitions, theorems and general concepts dealing with optical waveguides, integrated optics telecom components, photonic crystals, plasmonic nanostructures and metamaterials;
  • the capability to discuss, both qualitatively and quantitatively, the performance of prototypal micro and nanooptical devices as a function of their key parameters;

Risorsa bibliografica obbligatoriaNotes and handouts edited by the teacher. https://beep.metid.polimi.it/
Risorsa bibliografica facoltativaG. P. Agrawal, Fiber-Optic Communication Systems, Editore: John Wiley & Sons, (IV Ed.), Anno edizione: 2010, ISBN: 987-0-470-50511-3
Risorsa bibliografica facoltativaC.-L. Chen, Foundations for guided-wave optics, Editore: John Wiley & Sons, Anno edizione: 2007, ISBN: 987-0-471-75687-3
Risorsa bibliografica facoltativaC. Madsen, J. Zhao, Optical Filter Design, Editore: John Wiley & Sons, Anno edizione: 2007
Risorsa bibliografica facoltativaL. Novotny, B. Hecht, Principles of Nano-Optics, Editore: Cambridge University Press, (II Ed.), Anno edizione: 2012, ISBN: 978-0-511-81353-5
Risorsa bibliografica facoltativaJ. D. Joannopoulos, S. G. Johnson, J. N. Winn, R. D. Meade, Photonic Crystals - Molding the Flow of Light, Editore: Princeton University Press, (II Ed.), Anno edizione: 2008, ISBN: 978-0-691-12456-8
Risorsa bibliografica facoltativaW. Cai, V. Shalaev, Optical Metamaterials: Fundamentals and Applications, Editore: Springer, Anno edizione: 2010, ISBN: 978-1-4419-1151-3

Software used
No software required

Learning format(s)
Type of didactic form Ore di attività svolte in aula
Ore di studio autonome
Computer Laboratory
Experimental Laboratory
Project Laboratory
Total 100:00 150:00

Information in English to support internationalization
Course offered in English
Study material/slides available in English
Textbook/Bibliography available in English
It is possible to take the examination in English
schedaincarico v. 1.10.0 / 1.10.0
Area Servizi ICT