Breakthroughs in Optical Networking and Optoelectronic Components

Alcatel-Lucent today announced, in four post deadline papers accepted at the OFC/NFOEC conference in San Diego, California, new optical networking milestones, including a new optical transmission record and three novel new photonic integrated circuits.

In a post deadline paper, Bell Labs researchers in its Villarceaux, France center, in partnership with Alcatel-Thales' III-V Lab and the optical solution company Kylia announced the successful transmission of 16.4 Terabits per second of optical data over 2,550 km. This transmission was achieved using 164 Wavelength-Division Multiplexed (WDM) channels modulated at 100 Gbit/s and represents a world record for capacity x distance at 41.8 Petabits/ Several new technologies were used, including a highly-linear, balanced optoelectronic photoreceiver and an ultra-compact, temperature-insensitive coherent mixer. This result is a critical step forward in enabling 100 Gbit/s Ethernet. It ensures the maximum exploitation of the fibre bandwidth to cope with future capacity needs, by providing very high information spectral density at 2bit/s/Hz.

Three other papers from Bell Labs researchers at Holmdel, NJ were accepted. They describe the development of three new photonic integrated circuits developed to achieve 100 Gbit/s with a high spectral efficiency. In the first of these papers researchers developed an integrated high-speed receiver using DQPSK modulation that is about 1,000 timers smaller than existing DQPSK receivers which are built out of discrete components. This new receiver could significantly lower the cost and size of 100 Gbit/s components. Another of these papers demonstrated a dual-polarization modulator with a 40 Gbit/s data stream in one polarization and a different 40 Gbit/s data stream in another one. This technique doubles the capacity of a link without requiring any additional bandwidth. The last paper in this series presents a modulator producing a 16-QAM signal format, used for systems with extremely high spectral efficiency. While this format is well known in wireless and satellite communications, its use in optics is new.

"These breakthroughs highlight the depth and breadth of the work done by Bell Labs researchers in optical networking and physical technologies around the world, and show how they must constantly improve and innovate across various technical areas, to pave the way to the future of communications" said Gee Rittenhouse, Research VP at Alcatel-Lucent's Bell Labs. "Particularly interesting is that these papers highlight the many different dimensions of optical networking research that the new Bell Labs, the result of the merger between Bell Labs and the former Alcatel's R&I, is doing to advance optical networking and give Alcatel-Lucent powerful innovations to continue to be a leader in this space."

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