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Optoelectronics In Electrical Engineering Curriculums

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1998 Annual Conference


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 28, 1998

Start Date

June 28, 1998

End Date

July 1, 1998



Page Count


Page Numbers

3.436.1 - 3.436.6

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Alexander D. Poularikas

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 3532

Optoelectronics in Electrical Engineering Curriculums Alexander D. Poularikas

Electrical and Computer Engineering University of Alabama in Huntsville, Huntsville, Alabama 35899

Modern electrical engineering students need to learn about any new emerging field that directly impacts and is important to their profession. The development of the low-loss fibers, the miniature laser/detector systems, the photonic switches, the nonlinear optical devices, the optical signal processing, etc., have created the need to incorporate this special new knowledge into electrical engineering curriculum. However, the curriculum is restricted to a specific number of credit hours and, in most cases, it is impossible to add new courses unless other courses, which may be important, are deleted. To alleviate this problem, some 15 years ago Professor Seely and the author proposed the embedded method as a solution tot he problem. This method is flexible, can be adopted by any level of instruction, can be incorporated in any field within the electrical engineering discipline, is easily implemented, and can also be adopted by any other field outside engineering that needs such a modification.

1. Rationale

In the same way that the invention of the transistor initiated the modern electronics era, the nearly simultaneous development of low-glass optical fiber and the recent semiconductor laser/detector systems initiated the photonics area. Within the past few years, long-haul telecommunications have become dominated by light wave systems. Research laboratories are engineering systems based on III-V materials to manipulate photons in some of the same sophisticated ways that silicon systems manipulate electrons. Such systems and devices are referred to as photonics systems and devices. Parallel development of other materials, such as nonlinear optical organic materials, show great promise for providing a basis for sophisticated and inexpensive devices. Compact, robust passive optical systems have been demonstrated that would have been regarded as impossible only a few years ago. Practical optical amplifiers based on erbium-doped glass fibers are now commercial products. It seems inevitable that the key technologies for transmitting and processing information will soon be based on the manipulation of photons, rather than electrons. Many, if not most, of these systems will be integrated hybrids of photonic and electronic devices, that is, optoelectronic devices.

It is essential that institutions of higher education must be prepared to provide the knowledge required to incorporate emerging photonics technologies into society. The rapid development of laser sources, optical fibers, and semiconductor optoelectronic devices has lead to an abundance of applications that directly impact our everyday experience. A growing photonics industrial base assures employability of graduates from the field of optoelectronics. These industries

Poularikas, A. D. (1998, June), Optoelectronics In Electrical Engineering Curriculums Paper presented at 1998 Annual Conference, Seattle, Washington.

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