Scientists' Next Generation Laser Technology Creates Lightspeed Broadband Connections

Date: 2019-01-16
Times: 52

According to James Consulting, the European Union team of scientists is using the next generation of laser technology to create a light-speed broadband connection that eliminates Internet data bottlenecks caused by increased demand.

The research team is funded by the European Union, consists of researchers from nine countries (Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Finland, Germany, Israel, France, Japan and South Korea) and 14 different organizations. The team calls itself 'PASSION', meaning: applied to future large-capacity metropolitan area networks, based on scalable spectrum/spatial aggregation of programmable transmission and switching module systems for photonics (creatively selecting letters in English words, the combination is abbreviated as PASSION).

The team's researchers are using vertical cavity surface emitting lasers (VCSEL), light sources and photonic integrated circuits, optical switches and semiconductor optical amplifiers to develop long-wave, high-capacity communication technologies. This will pave the way for light-speed metro connections, as well as new smart services such as future games and on-demand TV.

VCSEL is less expensive to produce and more energy efficient than conventional laser sources. In the future, ultra-high-speed components are expected to revolutionize the huge amount of intelligent services with a transmission rate of 112 Tb/s, which means that it takes only one second to send 28,000 HD movies.

In data communications, VCSEL has often been used for short-range connections within data centers. The use of this infrared laser for long-wave large-capacity communication is still a new concept.

VCSEL's high transmission efficiency and low energy consumption are also the main reasons why the PASSION team chose to develop VCSEL light sources. Paola Parolari, PASSION project manager, said: 'VCSEL may become the next major leap in metro communications. Currently, VCSEL is widely used in communications applications such as data communications, short-range connections within data centers, etc.'

Pierpaolo Boffi, PASSION project coordinator, said: 'VCSEL is now a buzzword. It has the advantages of low drive current, high optical power conversion efficiency and high directivity, making it an ideal choice for low-cost and energy-efficient transmission of large amounts of data.”

Boffi added that the goal of the PASSION is to reduce the current Internet energy consumption by a factor of 10. He said: 'If PASSION's goal is successful, it will be able to provide new technologies for high-capacity optical transmission with reduced space consumption and energy consumption.'

Cisco, the US Internet technology company, predicts that Internet traffic will grow at an unprecedented rate of 3.3 terabytes per year between 2016 and 2021.

Boffi added: 'If we value the citizen's online experience: improve broadband services such as telecommuting, enhance entertainment experiences such as HD 3D TV on demand or games, realize telemedicine, life assistance, and enhance social networks such as 'network learning'. We require a fiber network that is more advanced than current technology.'

PASSION will develop new transmission, detection and routing solutions and advanced network architecture based on VCSEL.

The PASSION team has received funding from the European Commission for €5,537,747 for the H2020 project, and has been funded by the Photonics Public Private Partnership (Photonics PPP). PASSION team members include: Politecnico di Milano, SM Optics, CTTC, Telefonica, VLC Photonics, Technische Universiteit Eindhoven, Effect Photonics, Finnish National Technical Research Center (VTT), Vertilas, OpSys Technologies, EPIC, NICT, and ChemOptics.

PASSION team researchers are studying the specifications and design of new devices and defining subsystems. Researchers expect to be able to implement and test these new devices in a few months.

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