Wireless, Photonics and Space Engineering

120 credits (MSc, 2 years )

The backbone of modern telecom infrastructure consists of optical fibre-based systems in combination with wireless technologies. Medical applications of photonics and microwaves are numerous, and sensing applications include radar, environmental monitoring and radio astronomy. 
Satellite-based microwave systems aid our everyday life, e.g. television broadcasting, navigation and weather forecasts, and are used in remote sensing of the Earth and space geodesy.

Programme description

Over the past decades, photonics and wireless technology have grown at an exceptional rate and investments in future telecom systems will have a profound impact on social and economic development, but everything wireless needs hardware.

This programme offers a unique opportunity to study a combination of subjects for which Chalmers has world-class facilities: Onsala Space Observatory with radio telescopes and equipment to study the Earth and its atmosphere, the Nanofabrication Laboratory with a clean-room for research and fabrication of advanced semiconductor devices and integrated circuits, and research laboratories with state-of-the-art photonics and microwave measurement equipment.

We focus on applied science and engineering, where we combine theory with hands-on practise, labs and projects. We are involved in cutting edge research and the manufacturing of components for e.g. microwave and millimetre wave electronics, instruments for radio astronomy and remote sensing, optical fibres, lasers, and microwave antennas.

As a student of this programme, you will gain solid knowledge in wireless, photonics and space engineering as well as specialised skills in a chosen sub-field. You will be prepared for a career in the field through studies of wireless and optical communication components and systems, RF and microwave engineering, photonics, and space science and techniques.

Roughly 30% of the students are international students with a bachelor degree from different countries across the world, whereas the remaining 70% have a bachelor from Chalmers.

Location: Campus Johanneberg​
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Programme overview

The programme starts with five compulsory courses that form a common foundation in wireless, photonics and space engineering. Through semi-compulsory courses, students can then specialize in wireless, photonics or space engineering, or a combination thereof.​​​​​

Please note that the above schematic view corresponds to the academic year starting in autumn 2018. Minor changes may occur.

Elective courses
Students can choose from a wide range of elective courses, including the following:
  • Image processing
  • Modern imaging
  • Introduction to communication engineering
  • Radioastronomical techniques and interferometry
  • Applied signal processing
  • Introduction to microsystem packaging
  • Fundamentals of micro- and nanotechnology
  • Introduction to law​
  • Computational electromagnetics​
  • Implementation of digital signal processing systems​

Career opportunities

As an alumni graduating from this programme you will work as a technical specialist in design, development, or production for microwave and photonic technologies. The great mix of both small and large companies, regionally and globally located, ensures high employability. Wireless and fibre optical communication between people as well as the emerging field of communication between machines are rapidly increasing and will need more specialists with solid knowledge in hardware for microwave, photonics and space technology. It is a global industry, and there are alumni from this program working in many countries across the globe.

Chalmers has large and internationally recognised research laboratories in photonics, microwave and millimetre wave electronics, antenna engineering, and advanced receivers for space observatories. A Master’s degree from this programme is the perfect background for pursuing PhD studies at these laboratories, as well as at other university laboratories abroad specialised in the same field.

Research and industry connections

Swedish industry has a strong tradition in wireless, photonics and space engineering. The Western part of Sweden is a leading European node for research, development and business in microwave technology. The present largest regional microwave employers are Ericsson, Saab and RUAG Space. Ericsson has research and development of cellular radio base stations and microwave radio links. Ericsson is at the forefront of developing technologies for the new 5G networks and Lindholmen in Gothenburg is a leading R&D centre. Saab develops and delivers state of the art radar systems for defence and security applications, and RUAG Space in Gothenburg develops antennas, data handling systems and on-board computers for the space sector. 

Chalmers University of Technology is internationally recognised for research in microwave technology, antennas and communication systems. Entrepreneurship is strong in the region and it supports many small enterprises and growing start-ups within the microwave business such as microwave sensor systems for space (Omnisys Instruments), microwave detection of foreign bodies in food (Foodradar Systems), medical microwave imaging (Medfield diagnostics), antenna test systems (Bluetest) and integrated waveguide technology (Gapwaves).
The teachers in the program are active researchers at Chalmers. We conduct application-oriented research on high-speed electronics for future communication and remote sensing applications, optoelectronics and fibre optics for long haul transmission and short reach interconnects, THz imaging systems, and advanced receivers for space applications. Since microwave power amplifiers dominate the energy consumption in mobile communication networks, we work on advanced transistor technologies and amplifier designs for increasing power efficiency. Research at the photonics laboratory focuses on different methods to increase data flow in fibre optical communication systems. For example, new optical amplifiers with extremely low noise with the potential to fourfold the transmission distance for long distance links has been presented, as well as energy and cost-efficient lasers for high capacity short distance links. This technology is well suited for interconnects and networks within e.g. data centres or supercomputers.
The Department of Space, Earth and Environment is involved in the development of methods to quantify gas emission from active volcanoes. Apart from geophysical research and risk assessment, this will provide information on ozone depletion and climate change. A method based on UV/visible light for quantifying hydrocarbon emission from oil-related industrial activities has also been developed. Data from satellite global radar mapping is used to understand the role of forest in the global carbon cycle. Chalmers takes part in constructing the Square Kilometer Array (SKA), the world's largest and most advanced radio telescope. A compact feed antenna with extremely large bandwidth is developed for this purpose. This antenna technique can also be used in satellite communication terminals, radio links and medical imaging.
Together the research laboratories cover phenomena and applications of electromagnetic waves on all frequencies from microwaves to visible light. Not only are we connected to research, but also several companies have emerged from research at Chalmers e.g.: Gapwaves, Bluetest, Food Radar Systems, Gotmic, Low-noise factory, Omnisys Instruments, Smoltek, and Wasa mm-wave.

Related links

Department of Space, Earth and Environment
Department of Microtechnology and Nanoscience
Onsala Space Observatory


Published: Fri 03 Jul 2020.