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Photo: Heinz Nixdorf Institut

Nonlinear Fourier Transform based Optical Transmission using Electronic-Photonic Signal Processing

This project deals with optical data transmission based on the nonlinear Fourier transform (NFT). In NFT-based transmission, the nonlinearities caused by the Kerr effect can be treated as a usable property thus increasing the fiber capacity at high signal power levels. In a nutshell, the nonlinear spectra obtained by the NFT propagate undistorted through the fiber and only experience a simple phase shift. However, there are two main bottlenecks for NFT-based systems: first, the numerical precision and the complexity of NFT algorithms and second, very high linear bandwidth requirements, especially for higher-order solitons transporting multiple nonlinear carriers. In this proposal, new electronic-photonic signal processing methods shall be investigated to solve these problems. Optical signal processing shall be used to combine several fundamental solitons of relatively low bandwidth to a higher-order soliton (with otherwise very high linear electrical and electro-optic processing bandwidth requirements) at the Tx. At the Rx the higher-order soliton is vice versa separated back into fundamental solitons in a similar fashion by optical signal processing. The main objective is to prove the feasibility of the combined photonic-electronic processing for NFT-based systems. Suitable parameter ranges for fusion and fission of the solitons shall be investigated numerically. As a next step, parallelization concepts of the NFT algorithms shall be developed. Furthermore, the robustness of the system concept shall be analyzed regarding non-ideal component characteristics. Based on these results, an integrated transmitter chip shall be developed in Silicon Photonics (SiPh) technology and characterized. The entire transmission system shall be subsequently experimentally verified both with discrete components for maximum flexibility and with the SiPh transmitter addressing key performance and scalability limitations of the discrete setup.

Professor Dr.-Ing. Stephan Pachnicke
Kiel University
Institute of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology
Chair of Communications 

Professor Dr. Jeremy Witzens, Ph.D.
RWTH Aachen University
Faculty of Electical Engineering and Information Technology
Institute of Integrated Photonics (IPH)