Photonic and Quantum Engineering – Photonics


Optical, quantum, and nanoscale technologies are investigated within the Photonics track.

These booming fields are expected to lead to revolutions not only in communication systems, which need to sustain the huge (and ever-growing) amount of data sent and received every day all around the globe, but also other digital application scenarios such as quantum computing, medical sensing, renewable energy production.

This track is closely linked with the “Quantum Information” one, which can be found here.

How does the study plan work

A list of the courses available in the “Photonics” track for the 2022-2023 academic year is reported below.


Two courses are mandatory: Photonic Technologies (that includes Fiber Optics and Photonic Devices) and Molecular Photonics. The other courses can be freely chosen while keeping to some basic rules: the student will have to pick at least 6 courses from the ICT subjects and 2 courses among related subjects.

Furthermore, a soft skill course must be selected, and students must pass the B2 English exam.


It is further advised to choose about 30 ECTS credits per semester to keep your workload balanced.

Our core subjects:

Our related subjects:

Mandatory Courses

The Photonic Technologies course is mandatory.

It is composed of 2 parts: Fiber Optics and Photonic Devices.

Furthermore the Molecular Photonics course must also be taken.

Fiber Optics (mod. A of Photonic Technologies)

The course focuses on the physical layer of wired telecommunication systems, with special emphasis on fiber optics.


The student will also perform 5 laboratory experiments.


The main topics of the course are: principles and fundamental equations of electromagnetism, Poynting vector, polarization; transmission lines and characteristic impedance; metallic waveguides (modes, dispersion, losses); and finally optical fibers (ray model, modes, attenuation, modal and chromatic dispersion).

Photonic Devices (mod. B of Photonic Technologies)

The course will present the operational principle of the most relevant photonics devices (light modulators, optical amplifiers, photonic sensors etc.) and the technologies (materials, waveguides, fibers etc.) used to realize them.


Some applications of the photonic devices in will be also reviewed.

Molecular Photonics

The course discusses optical properties of matter at molecular scale. Spectroscopy and radioscopy are introduced to study spectral and reflectance of materials, hyperspectral optical configurations and sensors.


The course also covers surface plasmon, Kretschman configuration, nanostructured plasmonic sensors, lithography, metamaterials for lenses. Selected applications are presented to geology and agriculture (e.g. remote water detection), food industry, gas sensing, and medical diagnostics.

ICT Subjects

Select 6 courses from the following list


The course will discuss design, implementation, and experimental characterization of antennas and wireless links.


Topics include, among others, antenna parameters, dipole, wire and patch antennas, antenna arrays, antennas for satellite, GPS and mobile communications.


During the course students will attend a laboratory of antenna design with professional software.


This course is devoted to the interactions of light with living tissues and their technological applications to non-invasive biomedical imaging and treatments techniques.


The topics covered by this course include fundamentals of light and matter, light-tissue interactions (light scattering and absorption in tissues), principles of lasers and non-linear optics as preliminaries to later discuss applications such as optical microscopy, biomedical imaging, spectroscopic techniques, plasmonics and photonic biosensing.

Digital Communications

The objective of this course is to illustrate problems, principles and techniques in modern digital communications.


The aim is to give tools for evaluating performance, simulate and design modern digital transmission systems. In particular, we cover both single carrier modulation using decision feedback equalization or sequence detection and multicarrier modulation with OFDM using a cyclic prefix.

Digital Signal Processing

The course exploits basic signal analysis knowledge that the student is assumed to have acquired from previous studies to explore advanced concepts in the field of digital signal processing. The course will review Z-transform, linear time-invariant systems, FIR/IIR filters, to investigate the design and usage of digital filters, interpolation/decimation of digital signals, frequency analysis of digital signals. Practical application examples, useful in many areas of information engineering, will be provided.


The course aims at providing basic knowledge of modern telecommunication architectures, as well as fundamental mathematical tools for the modelling, design and analysis of telecommunications networks and services.

The course will also give you some practical experience with network protocols and devices, thanks to a series of lab experiences that will introduce you to the art of router and socket programming.

Ancillary to all this knowledge, the course will help you develop some basic management skills that shall belong to the baggage of each engineer.

Some of the topics that will be considered by the course are data traffic sources, multimedia streams and content, packet switched networks: basics of data networks, ISO/OSI and TCP/IP protocol stacks, congestion control and scheduling algorithms and the application layer

Millimeter-wave Devices

Course details will be available soon


Nanophotonics is an emerging field of study that deals with emission, propagation, manipulation, and detection of photons in structures of nanometers in size. Within the course, nanostructures will be considered for light generation (quantum wells, nanocrystals, nanowires), light propagation (dielectric and plasmonic nanowaveguides) and light manipulation (photonic crystals, metamaterials, resonant gratings). The course will also review practical methods to build, characterize, and simulate nanophotonic structures and devices.

Optical and Quantum Communications

The course consists of two parts.


The former analyzes design and performance of a transmission link over optical fibers; to this end, standard characterization from digital communications will be revisited, including fibers as channels, light impulse propagation and amplification, and shot noise analysis.


The latter discusses quantum theory applied to telecommunications: quantum operators and projectors, spectral decomposition, quantum decision theory, and the design of a quantum communication system.

Optical Networks

The course discusses the physical layer of optical communication systems. Fiber optics will be reviewed for coupled mode theory and nonlinear propagation.


Then, instruments such as the optical time domain reflectometer and the optical spectrum analyzer will be described. Passive (couplers, isolators, filters) and active (amplifiers, modulators, diode lasers, photodiodes) devices and transmission equipments will be characterized. Students will also have the opportunity to perform 8 laboratory experiments.

Satellite Communication Systems

Course details will be available soon

Visible-light and Metasurfaces Communication

Course details will be available soon

Related Subjects

Select 2 courses from the following list

Nanostructured Materials

The course discusses physical chemistry properties of the solid surface, including surface energy, electrostatic and steric stabilization.


It also describes the chemical synthesis of nanoparticles (metals, semiconductors, oxides), nanorods, nanowires, nanotubes, and thin films depositions.


The students will synthesize and characterize different nanomaterials in the lab and will also visit nanotechnology research centers to get direct experience of current technological processes.

Optoelectronics for Green Technologies

The course reviews properties of semiconductor materials (silicon and compounds), and mechanisms for light absorption and generation in them, as well as spontaneous or stimulated light emission. Optoelectronic devices will also be presented, such as the LED (light emitting diode), lasers, photodetectors. Also, solar cells will be discussed (homojunction and heterojunction) and HEMT (high electron mobility transistors) and their applications.

Photovoltaic Science and Technology

The course reviews the main types of photovoltaic cells and modules. Crystalline silicon (c-SI) cells will be investigated in depth, with their whole production chain from polysilicon to the cell. Also thin-film modules will be discussed.


Finally, the installation of a photovoltaic cell will be studied, also detailing legal authorizations and standardization requirements for the connection to the main grid.

Programmable Hardware Devices

This course presents the basics about electronics for real-time data management systems and offers some Hands-on Laboratories of data management with FPGA

Quantum Information and Computing

Besides its tremendous advancements in physics, quantum theory is also expected to revolutionize classical information theory based on 0/1 bits and also how we compute and handle information. In this spirit, this course will discuss quantum principles such as quantum logic and the qubit, no-cloning theorem, quantum copying, quantum entanglement, quantum teleportation, quantum key distribution, quantum information and entropy measures, quantum computing algorithms.

Soft Skills

Select 1 course from the following list.

Public Speaking Lab

The lab aims to help students improve their oral communication through the study and practice of the elements contributing to successful communication. The focus is on raising the students' awareness on the importance of verbal and non verbal language in interactions to make communication more effective.


The students will learn the meanings of body language and paralanguage (voice intonation, volume, etc), how they are used in different types of interactions (one-to-one, one-to-many, computer-mediated, etc.), and will have to apply them in a number of assigned tasks.


The lab requires the students' active participation in all class activities, aimed at applying the communication strategies learned.

Project Management

This course will provide the foundations of the project management.


Traditional (such as the Project Management Institute approach) as well as more advanced techniques - such as the Agile Methodology - will be reviewed.


Special focus will be put on the methodologies more suited for the ICT environment.

Public values in media and ICT

The learning outcomes are: the understanding of the nexus between media and communication development and democratic principles of access, inclusion, participation, pluralism, and equality; the role and responsibilities of actors involved in the design, development and regulation of media and ICT through a critical reading of the multistakeholder approach; the understanding of trends and prospective visions in the implementation of values and democratic principles in the development of knowledge and communication societies; the acquisition of a gender-aware perspective through which communication processes and practices can be understood.

Elective credits

Select one course (6 ECTS) among all the courses of this Master’s (free choice). In addition, you have to select two courses (up to 15 ECTS) from this Master’s or any other one of the University of Padua, submitted to the condition of being relevant for the ICT scientific area.


These are mandatory activities

English language B2

Students must certify that they have a proficiency level "English B2" according to the CEFR scheme. To this end, students can:
  • Submit a certificate issued by a recognized external certification agency;
  • Take an internal test at the University of Padova Language Centre (CLA) to verify that they can interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity that makes regular interaction with native speakers quite possible without strain for either party.
Recognized certifications

Final project

Students are asked to carry out a substantial individual project in their final year. The project can be carried out either at the University of Padova (30 ECTS combining a 21 ECTS Final Project and a 9 ECTS Report), or in an external institution, such as an Industry or a Research Center, either national or international (30 ECTS combining a 21 ECTS Final Project and a 9 ECTS Internship). It is also possible to do the internship in an external institution, and the final project at the University, though we suggest to carry out the whole work in a single place.

Find out more about the other curricula

Join Us