ROAM: Revolutionising Optical Fibre Transmission and Networking Using the Orbital Angular Momentum of Light

Research area Optical Communications 
Dates 01 February 2015 - 31st January 2018
Funder H2020
Contact person Professor Siyuan Yu

This project relates to the topic of smart optical and wireless network technologies and its overall objective is to investigate and demonstrate the use of the orbital angular momentum (OAM) modes of light for communications and networking.

The ROAM project main goal will be to develop and demonstrate OAM-based fibre communication and networking. A 10x improvement of capacity in fibre communication, and a 10x improvement in scalability and power consumption in switching for data-centres applications are the expected outcomes, which will have a significant industrial impact for both data-centre infrastructure manufacturing and data-centre service providers. 

This exciting project proposes the use of OAM modes in optical fibres to form a unique type of mode division multiplexing scheme – OAM multiplexing. The aim is to circumvent some of the fundamental limitations faced by other mode division schemes. 

The ROAM project will address the limitations of current optical transmission technologies as follows:

  • The OAM multiplexing scheme will (like other mode division schemes) address the problem of the now limited frequency domain multiplexing channel count due to fully used optical bandwidth, by enabling the transmission of multiple multiplexed channels at the same optical carrier frequency.
  • The OAM multiplexing scheme will address the non linear limitation due to channel count in SMF. This is because OAM modes that are supported by novel OAM fibres have one order of magnitude larger mode cross-sectional area than that of single-mode fibres (SMF).
  • The OAM multiplexing scheme will address the scalability problem encountered by few-mode MDM fibre transmission technology. This is achievable due to the low and limited coupling between the OAM modes in novel OAM fibres, which reduces the need of MIMO processing.
  • The OAM multiplexing scheme will also support multi-core implementations, therefore providing not only multiple channels per core, but also multi-cores per fibre. It will therefore potentially provide more capacity than multi-core fibres where a single mode propagates in each core. 

Therefore the proposed approach to be explored in the project is very promising in breaking the limitations of current fibre transmission technologies, thereby increasing fibre transmission capacity and spectral efficiency (or distance - spectral efficiency product) in a scalable fashion, similarly to that provided by WDM two decades ago.  

This project brings together experts of the Smart Internet Lab and in particular members of the Photonics Research Group and HPN Reseach Group in the Faculty of Engineering.  

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