Integrated Optical Systems

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Are you intrigued by the potential of optical systems to reshape the future of technology? Optical systems offer numerous advantages over traditional silicon chips: they are energy-efficient, generate less heat, weigh less, and come at a lower cost. Imagine contributing to the evolution of large language models like Chat GPT but with a million-fold improvement in energy efficiency, making them truly sustainable. What is even more exciting is that integrated optical quantum computers operate at room temperature, unlike electronic quantum computers that require near absolute zero temperatures to function effectively. Additionally, optical sensors often exhibit superior sensitivity in virus and molecule detection. So, how can you make them more accessible for everyday settings, such as hospitals? If you are eager to explore these areas of research, the specialisation in Integrated Optical Systems is for you.

Students work on real-world cases. For example, you can identify disease-related proteins, such as those linked to cancer. Imagine a sensor with minuscule probes. When a patient's sample flows over these probes and captures certain proteins, it causes a change in the way light moves through the sensor. The shift in light signals the presence and quantity of these proteins, helping evaluate a patient's susceptibility to cancer.

Dr. Lantian Chang, assistant professor


The focus of the specialisation is on the design, simulation, fabrication, and testing of integrated optical systems, such as photonic integrated circuits. You will explore the most effective materials, fabrication processes, and design techniques. There is a strong emphasis on building blocks including waveguides, lasers,  optical amplifiers, and 3D printed micromirrors. Through practical examples like designing micro ring resonators and evaluating their performance by means of simulations, you will gain insight into fundamental concepts. Integrating optics and electronics is another area you will explore. For example, how can you generate, manipulate, and detect optical signals within electronic circuits? Additionally, you will learn about optical phenomena at the nanoscale, including nanolasers, nanowaveguides, photonic crystals, or plasmonic propagation, and perform various simulations.

Examples of courses you will follow within this specialisation:
  • Learn the fundamentals of light-matter interaction at the nanoscale and perform simulations of nanostructures, such as optical nanowaveguides, in the course Nano-Optics.
  • Perform a complete design and optimisation of an integrated photonic device in the course Integrated Optics.
  • How do the main components of a laser system function? How can you distinguish between parametric and nonparametric nonlinear processes? Learn this and more in the course Laser Physics and Nonlinear Optics.

Thanks to our collaboration with ASML and the nanotechnology research institute MESA+, you will work on exciting real-world cases. For example, you can design a waveguide generating optimal white light for microscopy and spectroscopy by using a white light laser. What about investigating methods to make waveguides smoother, which can contribute to advancing laser technologies integrated into chips?


As a graduate of the Master's in Electrical Engineering with a specialisation in Integrated Optical Systems, you have acquired specific scientific knowledge, skills, and values that will help you in your future career.

  • Knowledge

    After completing this Master’s specialisation, you:

    • have an in-depth understanding of electromagnetic waves;
    • have a thorough understanding of optical waveguides, photonic crystals, and plasmonic effects;
    • have proper knowledge of optical components, such as on-chip lasers, directional couplers, and related applications.
  • Skills

    After successfully finishing this Master’s specialisation, you:

    • are able to do finite-difference time-domain (FDTD) simulation for photonic crystals and plasmonic effects;
    • are able to simulate optical modes in waveguide structures;
    • are able to design simple on-chip systems with multiple components like waveguide-based optical sensors.
  • Values

    After completing this Master’s specialisation, you:

    • are aware that photonic integration is a critical technology for drastic energy reduction in data communication and computation;
    • realise that photonic integration is a major enabling technology for sensing, healthcare, and quantum computing, among others;
    • understand the current challenges in fabrication technology development, system design, and availability for applications.


Is this specialisation not exactly what you are looking for? Maybe one of the other specialisations suits you better. You can also find out more about related master’s at the University of Twente:

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