EU-funded project improves global data transmission

Sep 15, 2011
EU-funded project improves global data transmission

Researchers have developed two new components that could help Europe meet some of its most pressing communication challenges in optical amplifier research.

The EU-funded team, from Denmark, Greece, Ireland, Japan, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, developed an ultra-low noise amplifier and an optical regenerator for phase-encoded signals. These innovations could improve the transmission capacity and energy efficiency of optical communication networks.

Writing in the journal , the team describe how these new data transmission systems came about. The study was given a funding boost of EUR 2 698 947 as part of the PHASORS ('Phase sensitive amplifier systems and optical regenerators and their applications') project, funded under the 'Information and communication technologies (ICT)' Theme of the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7).

Noiseless optical amplification is the ultimate goal of optical amplifier research, as it offers the potential to significantly improve the performance of a wide range of applications such as optical communication (fibre based or free space), optical spectroscopy and sensing, and photon detection.

At the moment, data transmission through optical networks is restricted by 'phase noise' - the rapid, short-term, in the phase of a signal, which affects the quality of the information sent. It results in data transmission errors, and in 'cross talk' brought about when the signal interacts with other signals on different wavelengths.

The scientists on this study set out to test the theory that noiseless linear amplification can be realised in a non-deterministic or phase-sensitive manner. While noiseless linear amplification suffers from low success probability and is impractical for mainstream applications, scientists have pinned their hopes on phase-sensitive amplifiers (PSAs), long recognised as capable of realising practical, deterministic noise-free amplification. Today, all commercial optical amplifiers remain phase insensitive.

The scientists successfully developed an optical amplifier which can amplify light with extremely low noise. The researchers were able to reduce the noise figure to 1 dB by using a 'phase-sensitive fibre-optic parametric amplifier'. In traditional erbium-doped fibre amplifiers, the noise figure is often at least 3 dB, something which makes the signal patchy and unreliable.

The researchers believe that their groundbreaking findings could now easily be applied in various applications such as high-capacity systems. 'This is the ultimate . It enables connecting cities, countries and continents more efficiently by placing the amplification hubs at much greater intervals. The signal can also be modulated more effectively. In addition, the amplifier is compatible with any modulation format, with traditional laser transmitters, and can be very broadband, making it compatible with many lasers at different wavelengths,' says one of the study authors, Professor Peter Andrekson from Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden.

The second development from the PHASORS project, which ran from 2008 to June of this year, was an optical regeneration subsystem that eliminates interference for high-speed binary-phase-encoded signals. Unlike previous devices developed, this new device gets rid of directly without the need for conversion to an electronic signal, which slows things down somewhat.

As well as telecommunications, these new devices could have significant applications across a range of disciplines such as optical sensing and metrology.

The broad scope of the PHASORS project is to target the development and application of fiber-based PSA technology in 40 Gb/s broadband core networks. The overall aim is make sure Europe stays ahead in this relatively new area of technological development.

Explore further: Precision gas sensor could fit on a chip

More information: Tong, Z. et al. (2011) Towards ultrasensitive optical links enabled by low-noise phase-sensitive amplifiers. Nature Photonics. DOI: 10.1038/nphoton.2011.79

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Novel optical amplifier without the noise

Jul 08, 2011

Researchers in Sweden have succeeded in delivering an optical amplifier capable of amplifying light with extremely low noise. The study is published in the journal Nature Photonics.

Photonics: Pump up the bandwidth

Jun 21, 2006

U.S. scientists say they've developed an optical amplifier based on silicon that works across a wide range of frequencies.

Fiber Optical Transmission In Demand Of Higher Capacity

Apr 02, 2010

( -- With the increasing high volume content over the internet, such as multimedia and high definition images, new transmission methods need to be found to handle the increasing data demand. Nippon ...

Recommended for you

New filter could advance terahertz data transmission

23 hours ago

University of Utah engineers have discovered a new approach for designing filters capable of separating different frequencies in the terahertz spectrum, the next generation of communications bandwidth that ...

The super-resolution revolution

23 hours ago

Cambridge scientists are part of a resolution revolution. Building powerful instruments that shatter the physical limits of optical microscopy, they are beginning to watch molecular processes as they happen, ...

Precision gas sensor could fit on a chip

Feb 27, 2015

Using their expertise in silicon optics, Cornell engineers have miniaturized a light source in the elusive mid-infrared (mid-IR) spectrum, effectively squeezing the capabilities of a large, tabletop laser onto a 1-millimeter ...

A new X-ray microscope for nanoscale imaging

Feb 27, 2015

Delivering the capability to image nanostructures and chemical reactions down to nanometer resolution requires a new class of x-ray microscope that can perform precision microscopy experiments using ultra-bright ...

New research signals big future for quantum radar

Feb 26, 2015

A prototype quantum radar that has the potential to detect objects which are invisible to conventional systems has been developed by an international research team led by a quantum information scientist at the University ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.