Optical amplifiers are essential building blocks in many areas of research and in several applications. For example, in optical communication systems, which constitute the backbone of the Internet, they compensate loss induced by the transmission fiber ensuring signal integrity of the information being transmitted. The purpose of this project is to explore fundamentally new aspects and applications of optical phase-sensitive amplifiers (PSAs). PSAs are truly unique in the sense that they are the only known optical amplifiers that can achieve a quantum-limited noise figure (NF) of 0 dB, i.e. noiseless amplification.
We will leverage our world-leading expertise in optical fiber-based PSAs. We have previously focused on understanding the fundamental principles of PSAs and studied their impact in fiber-optic communication systems. We are now placed in a unique position to give a significant leap forward in this research field by exploring fundamentally new concepts and technology platforms, and utilize them in scenarios beyond the realm of optical communications.
More specifically, we will address questions such as: How would a laser based on a noiseless gain medium behave? In addition to the frequency, can the space dimension of light be amplified in a phase-sensitive manner? How can they improve quantum communications?
In order to address these questions, we will investigate new nonlinear waveguide structures different than those currently mostly used (optical fibers) to serve as the nonlinear element for amplification.
More specifically, we aim to study:
• Compact and high-performance nonlinear platforms for PSAs and other applications.
• Devices enabled by PSAs including ultralow noise lasers and broadband amplifiers.
• New optical amplification approaches for spatial division multiplexed systems.
• Few-photon nonlinear optics and quantum communications.
The significance of this project is that we will push forward with research on a new platform of optical amplifiers, which due to its generic feature of in principle being implementable at any wavelength, allows a very broad range of potential applications also outside the field of conventional optical transmission. Thus, this project can be expected to be an incubator for new and often cross-disciplinary (and sometimes unexpected) research areas. Much of the proposed work is exploratory, with aspects never studied before and with large potential benefits.