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European Union selects Europe's top experts to develop lasers and fibre components to improve the capacity and efficiency of next generation optical networks

Published: 
9 September 2008

The Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC) at the University of Southampton has announced commencement of the research programme PHASORS (PHase Sensitive Amplifier Systems and Optical Regenerators and their applicationS), a €3.9M R&D project funded under the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) theme of the 7th Framework programme of the European Union (FP7). The technology being developed in PHASORS will deliver components to meet new communications challenges such as Phase Sensitive Amplification which has the potential to substantially improve the transmission capacity and energy efficiency of today's optical communication networks.

Professor David Richardson of the ORC, the project leaders, said: "This project brings together the best of Europe's components and systems innovators to develop the critical components and subsystems required for future ultrahigh capacity optical communications networks. While the technical challenges to be overcome are significant, and should not be underestimated, success in the project should ultimately allow more effective use of the phase and amplitude of optical data signals, providing major capacity and cost benefits to network providers and operators alike."

The new components to be developed include high power narrow line-width sources and nonlinear fibre gain media. Techniques to phase lock an incoming optical signal to either single or multiple pump beams will be developed, as will techniques to overcome unwanted nonlinear effects. These technologies and components will be used by the partners in beyond Next Generation Networks (b-NGN) system demonstrators as well as to develop novel Test and Measurement equipment. The high performance components developed will also have a wide range of use in other application areas including sensing, aerospace, metrology, quantum communications and medicine.

PHASORS brings together world-leading experts in non-linear optics and signal processing from the Optoelectronics Research Centre at the University of Southampton, Chalmers University of Technology, The Tyndall National Institute at University College Cork, and the National and Kapodestrian University of Athens, along with leading industrial partners Onefive GmbH and Eblana Photonics specializing in high performance lasers and OFS, Denmark specializing in custom optical fibres.

John Magan, EU project officer for PHASORS, commented: "The PHASORS proposal was one of the highest rated by the evaluators and I look forward to working with the team as they progress toward the challenging project objectives. The project tackles one of the key aspects highlighted in the FP7 ICT programme, in addition to direct forefront technical demonstrations of phase sensitive amplifiers, the components developed within PHASORS can potentially be widely applied in other ICT projects and beyond in future networks."

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