6 ECTS credits
175 h study time

Offer 1 with catalog number 4016690ENR for all students in the 2nd semester at a (E) Master - advanced level.

2nd semester
Enrollment based on exam contract
Grading method
Grading (scale from 0 to 20)
Can retake in second session
Taught in
Partnership Agreement
Under interuniversity agreement for degree program
Faculteit Ingenieurswetenschappen
Applied Physics and Photonics
Educational team
Heidi Ottevaere (course titular)
Wendy Meulebroeck
Nicolas Le Thomas
Alberto Curto
Activities and contact hours
104 contact hours Seminar, Exercises or Practicals
Course Content

Part 1: Research Methodology in Photonics
Introducing research methodology, consulting scientific sources, analyzing and displaying of measurement results in tables and graphs, orally presenting scientific measurement results and writing a research paper.

Part 2: Lab demonstrations
Demonstration of the application of research methods through 4 topics related to the ongoing research of groups involved in the photonics master program. The topic will be introduced by the promotor and illustrated though a practical exercise.

Part 3: Photonics Laboratory
Alignment of a HeNe laser, characterization of different types of sources (lasers, VCSELs, LEDs, white light sources), study the polarization behavior of light, characterization of optical components (mirrors, filters, lenses, prisms, gratings, beam splitters), study of different types of materials and coatings, coupling light into fibers and study fiber characteristics, characterization of waveguides, spatial filtering and building a 4f processor, control different instruments by LabView software. These experiments are performed in the framework of an optical application (interferometry, medical sensing, microscopy, imaging).

Course material
Digital course material (Required) : Laboratories in Photonics Research, Laboratory notes and powerpoint slides
Practical course material (Required) : Instrument manuals and catalogues
Additional info

Co-lecturers UGent: Prof. Nicolas Le Thomas, Prof. Alberto Curto

Course material:

- Laboratory notes and powerpoint slides
- Instrument manuals and catalogues

Learning Outcomes

Algemene competenties

The aim of this course is to teach the student the basic concepts of research methodology and subsequently to apply those in lab exercises based on knowledge acquired in the courses photonics, microphotonics and optical materials.  The topics of research methodology that will be covered include consulting sources and performing a literature study (scientific papers and patents), correctly analyzing measurement data and displaying the latter in graphs, orally presenting scientific results and writing them down into a research paper.
Next, these techniques will be illustrated through four research topics to be chosen by the student and related to the ongoing work of the different research groups involved in the photonics master program. In each case the promoter will situate the topic in the broader scope of the research group and subsequently the student will get more familiar with the topic through demonstrations and hands-on training, given by a PhD student working on the topic.  In this way the student will gain an overview of the research ongoing in the groups involved in the photonics master program.
Finally, the student will apply the knowledge gained in the first two parts of the course in lab-exercises through which he will acquire the expertise and insight needed to operate laboratory and demonstrator setups. These include the elementary skills, which will allow the student to work with optical elements and optical systems and give him insight in the relevant optics theory. Both free space optical systems (characterization of laser beams, 4f processor), fiber based and integrated optical systems (laserdiodes, waveguides) are studied. The student also comes in contact with typical measurement software such as LabView. The basic experiments will be divided over 8 modules in which the core measurement techniques are covered. The lab exercises illustrate in an integrated manner basic knowledge gained through the courses photonics, microphotonics and optical materials and require application of the research methods (literature study, reporting) learned in the first part of the course

With this course the student contributes to the following learning outcomes:

  • Master and apply advanced knowledge in the own field of engineering in case of complex problems
  • Apply Computer Aided Engineering (CAE) tools and sophisticated calculation- and communication-instruments in a creative and target-oriented way
  • Specify, design and test complex photonic components and systems
  • Understand and apply the properties of the most important optical materials
  • Have knowledge of the most important application areas of photonic materials, components and systems
  • Understand non-optical aspects of photonic systems, in particular electronic, mechanical and thermal aspects
  • Analyse own results and results of others in an objective manner
  • Understand the context of technical or scientific papers in the field of photonics and further investigate unclear parts independently
  • Take up independent positions about complex situations and be able to defend the point of view
  • Use own knowledge in a creative, target-oriented and innovative way when it comes to research, conceptual design and production
  • Reflect on own way of thinking and acting and be aware of the own expertise
  • Exhibit eagerness to learn about fundamental scientific and technical fields which are closely related to photonics
  • Ability to talk about field of specialisation, also in English
  • Project planning: ability to formulate objectives, report efficiently, keep track of end-goals and progress of the project
  • Ability to work in a team in a multi-disciplinary working-environment and start to take the lead
  • Report on technical or scientific subjects orally, in writing and in graphics
  • Function as a member of an international team
  • Act in an ethical, professional and social way
  • Understand the safety standards specific for photonics engineering
  • Pay attention to all aspects of reliability, safety and ergonomics
  • Use photonic components and systems accurately
  • Interpret the manuals of standard photonic instrumentation and work with this instrumentation
  • Find original and innovative solutions for problems in photonics

Exam requirements:

The students should be able to design a simple photonics experiment, choosing the adequate instrumentation, make basic experiments, record their measurements, analyze their results, draw conclusions, and present their results orally as well as written.


The final grade is composed based on the following categories:
Other Exam determines 100% of the final mark.

Within the Other Exam category, the following assignments need to be completed:

  • lab work with a relative weight of 100 which comprises 100% of the final mark.

Additional info regarding evaluation

- Answering to questions which are asked during the lab (20%-individual)
Students are asked to have prepared the exercises before the start of every lab session. This is checked during the duration of the laboratory by interrogating the students. The quality of their responses are part of their final score on this course.  
- Attitude in the lab + progress made (20%-individual)
- Content of the laboratory logbook (20%-group)
During the lab students are asked to keep a scientific logbook (one per group) on their practical experiments. They also receive a quotation on the quality of the logbook.
- Oral presentation of scientific work + answers to questions (20%-individual)
At the end of this laboratory course each group of students has to present during 20 minutes their results on one of the practical lab modules. After the presentation the students’ knowledge about the different laboratories is tested on an individual basis and orally.  
- Writing a research paper of one of the laboratories (20%-individual)

Examination during the second examination period is possible in modified form. In case of force majeure situations (illness, lock-down, conflict with internship in the resit period) on-campus students are allowed to present on-line.

Allowed unsatisfactory mark
The supplementary Teaching and Examination Regulations of your faculty stipulate whether an allowed unsatisfactory mark for this programme unit is permitted.

Academic context

This offer is part of the following study plans:
Master of Electronics and Information Technology Engineering: Standaard traject (only offered in Dutch)
Master of Photonics Engineering: On campus traject
Master of Electrical Engineering: Standaard traject BRUFACE J
Master of Teaching in Science and Technology: ingenieurswetenschappen (120 ECTS, Etterbeek) (only offered in Dutch)