Are Wide-band Optical Frequency Comb Capabilities Adequate to Address Evolving Capacity Demands?

Sunday, 06 June 13:00 – 15:30


Peter Andrekson, Chalmers Univ. of Technology, Sweden
Francesca Parmigiani, Microsoft, UK
Ana Pejkic, Univ. of California San Diego, USA


The development of optical frequency combs has largely been driven by applications in metrology and spectroscopy but the promise of hundreds of equidistant coherent optical carriers with high power and SNR should also be attractive in telecommunications as multi-wavelength sources and in optical signal processing. To date, frequency combs have been demonstrated on a number of platforms, with a range of bandwidths and signal integrities. Conventional electro-optical (EO), fiber and chip scale sources have found their way into communications research labs and proposed for numerous telecoms applications. In particular, EO combs have bandwidths ~30 nm, signal integrity and power comparable to standard telecom lasers, and offer excellent stability and controllability making them attractive option in many experiments. Fiber based comb sources have been demonstrated with bandwidths over 200 nm, signal integrity and power comparable to standard telecoms lasers, and used in many large-scale transmission demonstrations. Attempts to design a chip-scale comb have also been on the rise, with demonstrations that span the C+L band but with signal integrity still short of standard single wavelength sources. Further, there remain concerns about full integration capability and the risk of providing all carriers from a single device. Although comb sources have become commercially available, concerns about their practicality and necessity mean they have yet to carve a niche in modern telecommunications systems. Whilst they potentially offer 100’s of high-quality carriers over a large bandwidth, whether there is demand and the capability to meet the power requirements of modulating so many lines remains an open question, as does the impact of photonic integration on the feasibility of their use.

This workshop is organized in three sessions. Session 1 provides an overview of the current status and future trends of optical frequency comb technology. Session II outlines recent research efforts involving optical frequency combs. In Session III industry experts will discuss potential role of optical frequency combs in future systems.

Session 1: Comb Technologies

In this session we will compare different comb technologies and their performance.

  • Comb technology overview:
    • Platform, architecture, efficiency, size, complexity, laser integration (on a single chip), power consumption, cost
  • Comb performance:
    • Key technological challenges
    • Comb performance compared to a single wavelength laser.
    • Comb reliability, stability, and controllability.
    • Wavelength range, number of lines, power per line, spectral power uniformity, optical signal to noise ratio, side mode suppression ratio and linewidth (phase noise).
  • Which engineering efforts are required to alleviate risk from a single point of failure?
  • Potential to improve any aspect discussed above.
    • How will advances in photonics integration affect the performance
  • The most suitable application space

Session 2: Comb Applications: Research

In this session we will provide an overview of recent research efforts involving optical frequency combs.

  • Combs in telecom and datacom communication and processing
    • Large data transmission
    • Comb regeneration
  • Combs in secure/quantum communications and processing
  • Combs in RF and microwave communications and processing

Session 3: Combs in Future Systems: Industry perspective

In this session industry experts will discuss potential role of optical frequency combs in future systems.

  • Is there a role for frequency combs in modern telecom systems?
    • Can they replace or coexist with single lasers/laser banks?
    • What wavelength range, number of lines, line spacing, power per line, spectral power uniformity, OSNR and linewidth is needed to make them attractive?
    • Which will be decisive factors in their adoption? Performance? Cost? Reliability? Integration with other components? Power dissipation?
    • Which engineering efforts are required to alleviate risk from a single point of failure?
    • Can we exploit the coherence of comb-lines?
    • Can comb regeneration from transmitted seed lasers simplify networks?
    • Which applications and network areas are the most suitable?
    • Is there a role for optical combs in secure/quantum communications and processing?
  • Is a chip scale comb a desired alternative to a fiber-based source and a conventional electro-optic comb?
    • If adopted, what requirements do these sources need to meet?
    • Are these technologies likely to coexist? What are the most suitable applications for each technology?
    • How will advances in photonic integration affect the role of frequency combs in telecoms?


Session One Speakers:

Maxim Bolshtyansky, SubCom, USA
Optical Frequency Combs: Submarine Systems Perspective

Robert Maher, Infinera, USA
Industry Perspective on Comb Adoption Systems

John E. Bowers, AIM Photonics, USA
Injection Locked, Integrated Resonators for Hertz Level Linewidth Combs

Session Two Speakers:

Stojan Radic, UC San Diego, USA
Fiber-based Optical Frequency Combs: Architecture, Performance, and Key Technological Challenges

Mengjie Yu, Harvard Univ., USA
Integrated Lithium-niobate-Based Electro-optic Frequency Combs

Tobias Kippenberg, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, Switzerland
On-chip Combs and Laser Integration: Architecture, Performance, and Key Technological Challenges

Victor Torres, Chalmers Univ. of Technology, Sweden
Power Efficient Soliton Microcombs

Session Three Speakers:

Ben Puttnam, NICT, Japan
Optical Frequency Combs in Highly-Parallelized SDM/WDM Transmission Experiments

Mikael Mazur, Nokia Bell Labs, USA
Comb-based Superchannels: Features and Possible Applications

Bill Corcoran, Monash Univ., Australia
High-capacity Communications Using Microcombs: Status and Future Prospects