High-speed optical communications

eas photonics high speed optical communications

Over 20 years, the Aston Institute of Photonic Technologies has researched and developed advanced nonlinear techniques for increased capacity, transmission distance and improved functionality of fibre systems.
Spin-off companies have commercialised our research and we continue to collaborate closely with industry to make our applied experimental, modelling and simulation work relevant to commercial system requirements.
Our research in this area specialises in:

  • Optical signal regeneration
  • Quasi-lossless transmission techniques
  • Ultra-long Raman-assisted  transmission technologies
  • Advanced modelling of high-speed fibre transmission systems

Optical Communication Using Ultra-long Raman lasers

An ideal transmission medium that could allow the nonmodified transfer of information from a transmitter to a receiver is the ultimate and likely unreachable dream of telecommunications. In practice, any real transmission medium introduces distortions into the signal that can be either recoverable (e.g., dispersive broadening) or not fully removable (e.g., noise). Optical fiber waveguides are an example of a medium with numerous attractive features such as low loss, large bandwidth, and low cost. Despite the reduced loss, optical fiber transmission takes place over extremely long distances, requiring periodic signal amplification, which introduces noise. An adequate combination of classical optical fiber technology with novel techniques might further improve the properties of the transmission medium. We discuss and demonstrate the possibility of creating transmission media with cross-domain (spatial and spectral) transparency (effective zero local attenuation across the plane) and reduced noise by applying ultralong Raman fiber laser technology.

Telecoms applications:

  • Quasi-losses transmission regime;
    - Fully distributed amplification  minimises noise
  • Increased gain bandwidth
  • Turnable  gain wavelength and bandwidth

Fibre laser applications:

  • Ultra-long lasers;
    - Ultra dense  frequency combs
  • Random lasers;
    - Cavityless lasing: simple configuration
  • Supercontinuum generation:
    - Increased efficiency
    - Low cost using telecom fibres


All optical processing:

  • Nonlinear pulse processing;
    - Generation of non-Gaussian optical pulses
    - Triangular pulses
    - All optical wavelength switching & routing
  • Optical phase conjunction;   
    - All optical compensation of linear and nonlinear transmission impairments 


All optical processing:

  • EPSRC funded research;
    - Fundamentally new nonlinear information technologies for optimisation of fibre  capacity
  • Oclaro: Telecoms applications of ultra-long Raman fibre lasers
  • Rostelecom: Advanced Raman amplifiers for single span applications
  • Other recent collaborations: France Telecom (Orange), Azea Networks, Xtera, Ericsson, BT, Nortel

Major publications:

  •     “Performance optimization of ultra-long Raman laser cavities for quasi-lossless transmission links”, Optics Communications 277/1, pp. 214-218 (2006).
  •     “Experimental Demonstration of Mode Structure in Ultra-Long Raman Fibre Lasers”, Optics Letters Vol. 32, No. 9, 1135-1137 (2006).
  •     “Impact of Nonlinear Spectral Broadening in Ultra-Long Raman Fibre Lasers”, Optics Express, 15(25), 16690-16695 (2007).
  •     “Turbulent Broadening of Optical Spectra In Ultra-Long Raman Fibre Lasers”,  Phys. Rev. A. 77 (2008).
  •     “Simultaneous spatial and spectral transparency in ultra-long fiber lasers”, Phys. Rev. Lett. 101(2008).

Contact: Dr Paul Harper; p.harper@aston.ac.uk, +44 121 204 3525


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