International collaboration set to dramatically improve Internet capacity

Frequency Comb

Drs Amol Choudhary, Mark Pelusi and David Marpaung


A collaboration between scientists in Sydney and Japan has resulted in a breakthrough that will lead to faster, more compact and cost-efficient telecommunications using advanced optical frequency comb technology.

The findings were presented in a prestigious paper at the Optoelectronics and Communications Conference (OECC) in Niigata, Japan last week.

The team from the ARC Centre for Ultrahigh bandwidth Devices for Optical Systems (CUDOS) headquartered at the University of Sydney and the Advanced Institute of Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) in Japan worked on optical frequency comb technology (a discovery that earned earlier researchers a Nobel Prize in 2005) that can replace an array of sophisticated lasers currently used in telecommunications at a fraction of the cost, weight and size.

A major hurdle, so far, is that state-of-the-arts frequency combs were underperforming due to high noise – a problem that has now been overcome.

Dr. Mark Pelusi, leading the project with Drs. Amol Choudhary and David Marpaung, in collaboration with AIST in Japan, and Prof Eggleton's ARC Laureate Project said,“We have developed a unique filtering technology that can get rid of the deficiencies in the comb using the interaction of light and sound in an optical fibre known as stimulated Brillouin scattering (SBS)."

“Until now, SBS is widely regarded as a nuisance in long-haul transmission and is viewed to be a very noisy process, which has been deemed to be incompatible with high-capacity optical communications. Our results challenge this long-held belief in the scientific community. We harness the SBS process in an optical fibre to essentially clean-up the frequency comb using the comb itself.”

Dr Choudhary added that their research revealed a dramatic improvement in performance over a very large range of frequencies.

“We can simultaneously put data on multiple comb lines and our technology is also scalable, thus opening the path towards the realisation of a high-performance frequency comb with 100s of lines which can be modulated with high data-rates,” he said.

“This simple and robust technology could be used to clean-up any comb for a variety of applications and is the only known way to do so and can have near-time commercial applications in the telecommunications industry”, added Dr Marpaung.

Prof Ben Eggleton, Director of CUDOS and co-author on the paper said the long-term collaboration with the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology in Japan, a Partner Organization for CUDOS, was crucial to this breakthrough that could possibly reach speeds approaching hundred of Terabits per second in the near future.