In this talk we will review some of the key enabling technologies of optical communications and potential future bottlenecks. Single mode fibre (SMF) has long been the preferred waveguide for long distance communication. This is largely due to low loss, low cost and relative linearity over a wide bandwidth. As capacity demands have grown SMF has largely been able to keep pace with demand. Several groups have been identifying the possibility of exhausting the bandwidth provided by SMF. This so called “capacity-crunch” has potentially vast economic and social consequences and will be discussed in detail. As demand grows optical power launched into the fibre has the potential to cause nonlinearities that can be detrimental to transmission. There has been considerable work done on identifying this nonlinear limit with a strong research interest currently on the topic of nonlinear compensation. Embracing and compensating for nonlinear transmission is one potential solution that may extend the lifetime of the current waveguide technology. However, at sufficiently high powers the waveguide will fail due to heat-induced mechanical failure. Moving forward it becomes necessary to address the waveguide itself with several promising contenders discussed, including few-mode fibre and multi-core fibre.
Dr. Mac Suibhne obtained his BE(Hons) in Electronic and Microelectronic Engineering and a PhD in optical communications from the department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, University College Cork, Ireland in 2009 and 2014 respectively. He has made several key contributions to the area of spatial multiplexing optical transmission systems (particularly at the 2μm wavelength using hollow core fibre) and novel modulation formats, preforming the first direct quantitative measurements of four wave mixing enhancement in few-mode fibre and of the performance benefit of the polarisation switched QPSK format. He has authored/co-authored more than 25 peer reviewed publications and is currently involved in several EU and UK projects.
Dr. Naoise Mac Suibhne is currently an EU Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow (SOLAS) based in the Aston Institute of Photonic Technologies, in Aston University UK. He is currently studying several topics including the potential benefits of spatial and orbital light for advanced optical transmission systems, fibre reliability and novel-fibre nonlinearity.