Scientists reveal breakthrough in optical fibre communications

December 19, 2014, University of Southampton
A constellation diagram of one of the mainstream modulation formats of the future system: Sixteen Quadrature-Amplitude modulation

Researchers from the University of Southampton have revealed a breakthrough in optical fibre communications.

Academics from the University's Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC) have collaborated with colleagues at Eblana Photonics Inc, in Ireland, to develop an approach that enables direct modulation of laser currents to be used to generate highly advanced modulation format signals.

The research, published in the journal Nature Communications, explores a radically new approach to the generation of spectrally-efficient advanced modulation format signals as required in modern optical communication systems.

This new technology, patented by the University of Southampton and licensed to Eblana Photonics Inc, avoids the need for costly and power-inefficient external modulator schemes that are currently used to generate such signals..

Dr Radan Slavik, Principal Research Fellow at the ORC, said: "Our paper highlights the exquisite control that we have achieved over the optical field generated directly from a current-modulated semiconductor laser."

Direct current modulated lasers are of huge commercial relevance and are already widely used in optical communications, telecommunications and sensor and high power fibre laser systems. However, the inability to accurately control the full optical field emitted directly from such lasers has been a fundamental problem limiting applications.

Dr Slavik explains: "The new capability we have demonstrated will be of relevance and could be of significant impact within many scientific and engineering communities that are directly concerned with or exploit laser radiation.

"We have previously presented some of the results included in this paper at conferences, including a post-deadline presentation at Optical Fibre Communications (OFC), and at an international symposium and this has already generated a lot of interest from senior academics in our community, as well as from leading industrial players."

Dr Rob Lennox, Director of Sales at Eblana Photonics Ltd., Dublin, said: "We are very pleased to have collaborated on this innovative development work performed by the ORC team and are looking towards making this new approach a commercial reality."

Explore further: Breakthrough technique offers prospect of silicon detectors for telecommunications

More information: "Modulator-free Optical QAM Signal Synthesis', Nature Communications … full/ncomms6911.html

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not rated yet Dec 20, 2014
Is Dr. Slavik from G.E. Hollywood by chance? This appears to be a series-parallel electrode arrangement, and if so, then I've just been punched in the gut.

BTW, this same arrangement was hoped to allow the creation of a solid state scanning L.A.S.E.R., of a behavior similar to that of the electron beam in a C.R.T. and was discussed in 1984, about the time of digital gradient enhancement of video data, and NTSC color correction. It originated as a possible solution for the original Laser Printer, by using a scanning laser to deposit the ink directly on the paper, using no roller transfer.
Dec 20, 2014
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Dec 20, 2014
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Dec 20, 2014
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1 / 5 (2) Dec 22, 2014
A scanning laser of sufficient power could be a fearsome weapon. Say a ship in near earth space in geosynchronous orbit with one of these could incinerate a place on the earth of any arbitrary shape, akin to a mass area milling machine in a factory. Possibly not be much defense if the scanning wave was of sufficiently small wavelength to penetrate underground.

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