Optical solitons are special wave packages that propagate without changing their shape. They are ubiquitous in nature, and occur in Plasma Physics, water waves to biological systems. While solitons also exist in optical fibers, discovered at Bell labs in the 80s, their technological use so far has been limited. While researchers studied their use for optical communication, eventually the approach was abandoned.
Now, a collaboration of a research group at KIT’s Institute of Photonics and Quantum Electronics (IPQ) and Institute of Microstructure Technology (IMT) with EPFL’s Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements (LPQM) have shown that solitons may experience a comeback: Instead of using a train of soliton pulses in an optical fiber, they generated continuously circulating optical solitons in compact silicon nitride optical microresonators. These continuously circulating solitons lead to broadband optical frequency combs. Two such superimposed frequency combs enabled massive parallel data transmission on 179 wavelength channels at a data rate of more than 50 terabits per second – a record for frequency combs. The work is published in Nature.
Optical frequency combs, for which John Hall and Theodor W. Hänsch were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2005, consist of a multitude of neighboring spectral lines, which are aligned on a regular equidistant grid. Traditionally, frequency combs serve as high-precision optical references for measurement of frequencies. The invention of so-called Kerr frequency combs, which are characterized by large optical bandwidths and by line spacings that are optimal for communications, make frequency combs equally well suited for data transmission. Each individual spectral line can be used for transmitting a data signal.
In their experiment, the researchers from KIT and EPFL used optical silicon nitride micro-resonators on a photonic chip that can easily be integrated into compact communication systems. For the communications demonstration, two interleaved frequency combs were used to transmit data on 179 individual optical carriers, which completely cover the optical telecommunication C and L bands and allow a transmission of data rate of 55 terabits per second over a distance of 75 kilometers. “This is equivalent to more than five billion phone calls or more than two million HD TV channels. It is the highest data rate ever reached using a frequency comb source in chip format,” explains Christian Koos, professor at KIT’s IPQ and IMT and recipient of a Starting Independent Researcher Grant of the European Research Council (ERC) for his research on optical frequency combs.
The components have the potential to reduce the energy consumption of the light source in communication systems drastically. The basis of the researchers’ work are solitons generated in low-loss optical silicon nitride micro-resonators. In these, an optical soliton state was generated for the first time by Kippenberg’s lab at EPFL in 2014. ”The soliton forms through nonlinear processes occurring due to the high intensity of the light field in the micro-resonator” explains Kippenberg. The microresonator is only pumped through a continuous-wave laser from which, by means of the soliton, hundreds of new equidistant laser lines are generated. The silicon nitride integrated photonic chips are grown and fabricated in the Center for MicroNanotechnology (CMi) at EPFL. Meanwhile, a startup from LPQM, LiGenTec SA, is also offering access to these photonic integrated circuits to interested academic and industrial research laboratories.
The work shows that microresonator soliton frequency comb sources can considerably increase the performance of wavelength division multiplexing (WDM) techniques in optical communications. WDM allows to transmit ultra-high data rates by using a multitude of independent data channels on a single optical waveguide. To this end, the information is encoded on laser light of different wavelengths. For coherent communications, microresonator soliton frequency comb sources can be used not only at the transmitter, but also at the receiver side of WDM systems. The comb sources dramatically increase scalability of the respective systems and enable highly parallel coherent data transmission with light. According to Christian Koos, this is an important step towards highly efficient chip-scale transceivers for future petabit networks.
[osd_subscribe categories=’optical-chips’ placeholder=’Email Address’ button_text=’Subscribe Now for any new posts on the topic “OPTICAL CHIPS’]
The Latest on: Petabit networks
[google_news title=”” keyword=”petabit networks” num_posts=”10″ blurb_length=”0″ show_thumb=”left”]
- The Learning Networkon February 25, 2024 at 12:30 am
By The Learning Network Using an immersive Times series as inspiration, we invite teenagers to document the local communities that interest them. Contest dates: Feb. 14 to March 20. By The ...
- The Learning Networkon February 23, 2024 at 12:06 am
By The Learning Network Mahomes? Messi? Ohtani? Doncic? How about Caitlin Clark, the college basketball superstar whose 3-point bombs are dazzling fans and transforming the sport? By Jeremy ...
- Computer Network Architecton February 22, 2024 at 4:01 pm
Computer network architects design, build and maintain a variety of data communication networks, from expansive cloud infrastructures to smaller intranets. Along with a host of technical skills ...
- EXTR Extreme Networks, Inc.on February 22, 2024 at 4:01 pm
Extreme Networks, Inc. provides software-driven networking solutions worldwide. It designs, develops, and manufactures wired, wireless, and software-defined wide area-network infrastructure equipment.
- Shanghai boffins stuff petabit on optical diskon February 22, 2024 at 4:01 pm
A bunch Shanghai boffins have used a tiny laser to cram loads of data onto a disk. The final result is a disk with a 3D stack of data layers that can hold a petabit (Pb) of information - that's the ...
- Arista Networks Inc ANETon February 16, 2024 at 7:59 am
We sell different types of products and services to both investment professionals and individual investors. These products and services are usually sold through license agreements or subscriptions ...
- Social networks are getting stingy with their data, leaving third-party developers in the lurchon February 9, 2024 at 8:12 am
2023 was the year social networks realized that they were sitting on massive troves of data. And some companies, such as Twitter (now X) and Reddit, decided to change their terms to shut out third ...
- AMC Networks’ U.S. Ad Sales Fall 23% in Final Quarter of 2023 as Streaming Subs Inch Upon February 9, 2024 at 4:12 am
AMC Networks saw its streaming subscribers increase by 2.7% sequentially and its U.S. ad sales drop by 23% year-over-year in the fourth quarter of 2023. Streaming subscribers stood at 11.1 million ...
- AMC Networks U.S. Ad Revenue Drops 23 Percent, Streaming Subs Rise to 11.4Mon February 8, 2024 at 8:04 pm
By Georg Szalai, Etan Vlessing AMC Networks — the company behind such cable channel brands as AMC, IFC and Sundance TV, as well as such streaming services as AMC+, Acorn TV and Shudder ...
- Mapping Transnational Crime Networkson February 4, 2024 at 4:00 pm
Eduardo Salcedo-Albarán, founder and director of the Vortex Foundation, spoke with City Journal associate editor Daniel Kennelly about his work and his latest book, Super Network of Corruption in ...
via Google News and Bing News