Start date 01/01/2015
End date 31/12/2018

Technologies for spatial-division multiplexing: The next frontier in optical communications

Optical fiber communication systems constitute the backbone of Internet. In this project, we propose to analyze and demonstrate concepts to reach substantially higher transmission throughput than in todays optical communication systems. This is essential, as the currently used technology approach, using single-mode optical fibers, is expected to be exhausted within the next decade, due to fundamental capacity limits of a single transmission channel. We will leverage our expertise in optical transmission experiments as well as in information theory, coding and digital signal processing to investigate, both theoretically and experimentally, concepts relying on spatial-division multiplexing (SDM). This has emerged as the most viable approach to significantly increase capacity by encoding data in several cores and/or modes of a single fiber. Specifically, we will establish a physical understanding of coupling among modes/cores in optical fibers supporting several modes or cores. This knowledge will serve as a basis in order and design novel modulation formats and coding schemes taking advantage of this new spatial dimension. We will further design and implement a spatial ? frequency superchannel that allows important scaling advantages as well as being compatible with monolithic integration for cost and energy efficiency. We will bring this together in transmission systems experiments using SDM hardware to reach unprecedented transmission performance.

Published: Fri 11 Nov 2016. Modified: Wed 08 Feb 2017