MIT courses 2023


In Spring 2023, I will be offering two courses: 2.S990 Fashion Engineering, and 2.718/2.719 Photonic materials

2.S990: Fashion Engineering

Lectures: Mon, Wed 11:00AM - 12:30PM

Level: Graduate (undergrads can take), 12 units: 3-1-8


Fashion is one of the biggest industries in the world, which is driving innovation in polymer science, mechanical engineering, manufacturing techniques, optical engineering, and manufacturer-consumer interactions. On the other hand, the textile industry faces numerous environmental and sustainability problems, from the massive consumption of water for cotton production, to half a million tons of microplastics and an estimated 11 million tons of textile waste landfilled annually in the US alone.

The course will outline underlying physical and engineering principles that are used in engineering and manufacturing of fibers and textiles. These include fundamentals of polymer science, mechanical, thermal, and moisture transport engineering of fibrous media, visual color science and engineering, and friction and wear of polymer and composite fibrous materials. The students will practice analyzing how the material and structure of woven, knitted, and nonwoven textiles translates into their strength, stretchability, abrasion resistance, visible color and reflectance, passive cooling or heating, and anti-microbial and self-cleaning properties. 

The students will study and analyze real-life examples including different commercial and specialty textiles and will learn to use the life cycle assessment analysis to identify and prioritize the materials, processes, and designs that have the greatest potential for the reduction the environmental impact of the textile and garment production. They will also study examples of textile/garment-related patent applications and will practice drafting applications for their design ideas.

The course will include lab tours, hands-on experience, guest lectures, industry panels and discussions with mentors from industry, military, and academia currently working on the development of smart fibers, fabrics and garments. In the team exploratory project, student teams will analyze and make a presentation on one of highly successful commercialized fiber/textile-based technologies proposed by the instructor. In the final class project, each student will prepare and present a mock patent application describing a fiber- or textile-based product. Project ideas will proposed by the instructor in collaboration with the textile/design industry experts.


  • Basic characteristics of fibers and yarns
  • Textile terminology and units 
  • Types and properties of ‘natural’ fibers and fabrics
  • Synthetic fiber production: intro to polymer science
  • Fiber extrusion techniques
  • Textile pattern construction: weaving & knitting 
  • Color formation, different dyeing techniques, active coloring
  • Heat and moisture transport engineering in textiles
  • Textile industry and sustainability 
  • Microplastic pollution
  • Smart and specialty textiles

Prerequisites: none

Recommended: 2.00 Intro to Design; 2.001: Mechanics & Materials; 2.051: Intro to Heat Transfer

Evaluation: Class discussions 10%, Homework 30%, Exploratory projects & class presentations 30%, Final design project 30%


Photonic materials

MIT Course Number: 2.719/2.718

Lectures: Tue-Thu 9:30AM - 11:00AM

Instructors: Dr. Svetlana V. Boriskina

Level: graduate + undergraduate, 12 units: 3-0-9


Light-matter interactions underscore the emerging fields of quantum science and engineering, energy harvesting, and radiative heat transfer. Understanding and engineering these interactions requires the knowledge of advanced computational techniques in both time and frequency domains. This course will equip the students with practical how-to information and computational tools to select, engineer, and optimize broadband optical response of materials and photonic devices for different applications as well as to process and visualize the results.

Concepts in optics, material science, and thermodynamics (light absorption, reflection, emission, guiding, visual color formation, radiative cooling and heating, photonic sensing, photonic metamaterials and meta-surfaces engineering) and numerical methods (data analysis and visualization, algorithms and software engineering, eigenproblem and boundary-value problem solutions, time- v. frequency-domain photonic solvers, direct v. inverse photonic design techniques) are introduced and applied to model and design photonic materials for a variety of applications. The target audience for the class includes students who focus on advancing photonic and materials engineering in their research as well as those who aim to understand practical aspects and use software tools to model optical behavior of materials for solar, thermal, wearable, radiation-shielding, biosensing, imaging, or environmental degradation applications. The course development has been supported with a curriculum development grant from MathWorks.

The students leave the course with a set of practical coding and visualization tools that they can build upon and/or apply directly to solving their research problems in the areas ranging from quantum materials to material spectroscopy to radiative heat transfer to photonic biosensing. The ultimate goal of the pilot is to educate “computing photonic materials bilinguals” – students fluent in computing, photonics, and materials science.


The course will include six modules and a final project.

Module 1: Photonic fundamentals review (Optical fields and sources, Maxwell equations and constitutive relations, time-to-frequency domain transformations, dispersion equations).

Module 2: Canonic material models & material interfaces (Lorentz, Drude, and Debye models, reflection and refraction, interferometry, ellipsometry, colorimetry, data visualization).

Module 3: Global & local structure of optical fields; Guided and confined modes (Energy, momentum, stress tensor, reciprocity, polarization, surface modes and waveguiding modes, eigenvalue problems).

Module 4: Composite photonic materials & metamaterials (Light scattering by small particles; effective permittivity models, zero- and negative-index metamaterials, photonic crystals and quasicrystals, role of symmetries in photonic and numerical design, anisotropic and optically-active materials).

Module 5: Thermo-photonic materials (Solar and thermal radiation, frequency-selective surfaces, radiative cooling, laser cooling, plasmonic heating, intro to the near-field heat transfer).

Module 6: Photonic material fabrication & characterization techniques (Lithography, epitaxy, colloidal chemistry, extrusion, X-ray spectroscopy, Raman scattering, FTIR spectroscopy.

Advanced topics: Quantum and topological materials (2D materials, low-symmetry materials, ferromagnets, ferroelectrics, multiferroics, phase transitions).

Computing topics to be covered throughout the course: recursion, numerical integration, direct v. inverse design, uniqueness of solutions, eigenvalues and eigenvectors, root search algorithms in real and complex domains, algorithm stability and convergence properties, optimization, spectral analysis, cluster analysis, power analysis, data visualization.


18.02 Calculus, 8.02 Physics II or 6.013 Electromagnetics and Applications, and 18.03 Differential Equations

Recommended: 2.71/2.710 Optics, 2.096J Introduction to Numerical Simulation, 2.097J Numerical Methods for Partial Differential Equations. 

Assignments: There will be 16 assignments based on using & modifying computational demos provided by the instructor (60%) and one final design project (40%).

Final Project deliverables: Project proposal (1-2 pages) describing a metamaterial or a metamaterial-based device, its application/impact & design strategy + 15 minute presentation and a project report.

The final class projects will focus on studying and presenting a design of a photonic metamaterial or a metamaterial-/ composite-media based device, describing the physics behind its operation and application areas. Metamaterial examples from the literature will be provided by the instructor.