Scheme: Wolfson Research Merit Awards
Organisation: University of Southampton
Dates: Apr 2013-Mar 2018
Summary: The ultimate information carrying capacity of existing optical fibre technology is
close to being realized. Exploiting the best lasers, receivers and state-of-the-art electronics it is now possible to transmit 100 Terabit/s of data (e.g. sufficient to carry ten-million, 10Mbit/s broadband signals) over 1000km scale distances through a single fibre with a width similar to that of a human hair. However, with internet traffic growing by >40% year-on-year, there are growing concerns of a future “capacity crunch”, beyond which networks will not be able to support further traffic growth (at least not in an economically viable manner). My research is concerned with developing radically new forms of fibre, associated components and system approaches capable of supporting 100x higher data rates than existing optical communication technology. Current fibres incorporate a single data pathway defined by the fibre core, a localized region in the very centre of the fibre doped with germanium. I aim to increase capacity by establishing multiple data pathways through the same fibre either by incorporating multiple cores in the cross-section, or by making the core much larger so that it inherently supports more signal paths. The challenges of both approaches are numerous and substantial and include mitigating interference between channels and accommodating the inevitable signal attenuation due to propagation losses. I am also developing even more radical forms of fibre that guide light in a “hollow core” defined by an array of microscopic air holes incorporated in the fibre cross-section.
These fibres potentially offer lower losses and ~30% faster data transfer times than the solid glass fibres currently used and can also support multiple data
pathways. I lead several specialist groups at Southampton carrying out this exciting and globally relevant body of work and am collaborating with other world-leading groups both within the UK and internationally to advance my research.
Scheme: University Research Fellowship
Dates: Oct 1992-Sep 2002
Summary: This project summary is not available for publication.