Fibre-optic transmission of 4,000km possible through optical amplifiers

Fibre-optic transmission of 4,000km possible through optical amplifiers
Today’s fibre-optic transmission links are limited by the accumulation of noise, originating from optical amplifiers in the link

Researchers from Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, and Tallinn University of Technology, Estonia, have demonstrated a 4,000km fibre-optic transmission link using ultra low-noise, phase sensitive optical fibres.

The new 4,000km fibre-optic transmission is a reach almost six times the possible amount when using conventional optical amplifiers.

Online services such as cloud storage and video streaming have created an insatiable demand for higher transmission capacity. To meet this demand, new technologies that are capable of significant improvements over existing solutions are being explored worldwide.

The current fibre-optic transmission

Today’s fibre-optic transmission links are limited by the accumulation of noise, originating from optical amplifiers in the link, and by the signal distortion from nonlinear effects in the transmission fibre.

Chalmers University said that in this demonstration the researchers showed that the use of phase-sensitive amplifiers can significantly, and simultaneously, reduce the impacts of both of these effects.

What did the study show?

Professor Peter Andrekson, who leads the research on optical communication at Chalmers University of Technology, said: “While there remain several engineering challenges before these results can be implemented commercially, the results show, for the first time, in a very clear way, the great benefits of using these amplifiers in optical communication.”

The optical amplifiers can provide a very significant reach improvement over conventional approaches and could potentially improve the performance of all future communications.

Andrekson concluded: “Such amplifiers may also find applications in quantum informatics and related fields, where generation and processing of quantum states are of interest, as well as in spectroscopy or any other application which could benefit from ultra-low-noise amplification.”

This research into fibre optic transmissions has been funded by the European Research Council (ERC), the Swedish Research Council, and the Wallenberg Foundation.

The results from this study have now been published in the journal Nature Communications.

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