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Cluster Report Photonics in the Capital Region Berlin-Brandenburg

  • Text
  • Imaging
  • Photonics
  • Berlin
  • Optical
  • Laser
  • Technologies
  • Optics
  • Microsystems
  • Components
  • Brandenburg

5.1.5 Optical

5.1.5 Optical Communication Technology World record holder in optical data transmission Martin Schell, Gerrit Rössler, Kai Kolwitz More and more data ever faster; no matter if economic data, telephone interviews, moving images or online games. Ever since the beginning of the Internet age is the question of who, how, and with which bandwidth and speed has access to information has become a decisive criterion for economic success. Fast data connections are a location factor by now probably more important than the nearest highway exit, the nearest railway station or airport. World-wide, the amount of transferred data volume continues to increase by 30-50% each year. One who can offer superior technologies will secure a prominent position in a booming market. And what would be better suited for the transmission of data than light? Nothing travels faster on this planet; you can conduct, detect, guide, collect and amplify it. To date, no competing technology with even remotely comparable potential for data transmission over long distances is in sight. From 0.2 bits to ten terabits per second In Berlin-Brandenburg that had been realized early on: Already back in 1832, the Prussian Optical Telegraph joined the cities of Berlin and Koblenz, at the time the longest telegraphy line in Europe. However, back then there were no fiber optic cables and interface modules. Therefore, data were transferred by moving a swivel arm. The next point was reading the information via binoculars and then passed it on in turn by swivel arm. Berlin-Brandenburg´s optical data transmission in 1832: the Prussian Optical Telegraph Transfer of about 1.5 characters per minute was possible with this technique, which corresponds to a modern data transfer rate of about 0.2 bits per second. Not much by today's standards, but this way information could be transmitted significantly faster than with the previously dominant transmission technology - with mounted couriers. Later, information was communicated mainly by means of electric current, but since the 1890s data transmission using optical technologies experienced a renaissance. The goals of researchers and developers are still the same today as back then: increase the transmission capacity (then 0.2 bits per second, now more than ten terabits per second), reduce the error rate (then one error for every three characters, now one per one trillion characters), and reduce the latency, the duration of the information in the transmission system. At the time of optical telegraphs, the latter was about three hours, today it has dropped to less than 100 milliseconds, and for specific connections, such as for stock market trading, even less than five milliseconds. Berlin-Brandenburg is very well positioned in the field of optical data transmission. Here you will find the world market leaders, internationally renowned research institutions and highly innovative young companies. The region has a density of companies and institutions in this field which is surpassed only by Silicon Valley. Heinrich-Hertz-Institute – researcher and world record holder The development is driven not least by the Heinrich-Hertz-Institute (HHI). This institution of the Fraunhofer Society is one of the world's leading research institutes for both mobile and fixed communication networks – and it holds a world record that points to the future of data transmission via fiber: As announced in March 2011, data transmission with a rate of 10.2 terabits per second over a distance of 29 kilometers succeeded. This is more than 25 times the 40-gigabit standards in commercial networks. 240 DVDs per second could be transferred this way. World's fastest Arbitrary Waveform Generator (AWG). The right inset shows a typical voltage profile for complex data transmission © Fraunhofer HHI The researchers reached their record with pulse lengths of 300 femtoseconds at repetition rates of 800 femtoseconds - just a trillionth of a second. In addition, through quadrature amplitude modulation they could transmit not one bit per pulse but four data bits. The Berlin scientist also held the previous record which had been quarter of the new, at 2.56 terabits per second. It will take several more years until such transfer rates become the standard in practice. But the HHI also deals with the near-term future: In projects like 100GET or the 2011 ended 100x100 it aims since many years to establish 100 Gigabit transfer rate as standard (100x100 stands for 100 Gigabit for 100 million users), to- 74

5.1.5 Optical Communication Technology gether with research partners such as the Institute for Solid State Physics at the TU Berlin, major network equipment providers and innovative regional companies, such as u²t Photonics in Berlin. In this context, for example, the idea has been developed to no longer transmit information via modulation of the intensity of the incident light, but rather via its polarization. This allows to bypass errors in glass fibers, such as dispersion or nonlinear optical effects. Detectors for the phase angle of light were developed based on integrated polymer waveguide chips. Alternatively, the transmission rate could be increased via multiplexing. This means that several laser diodes of slightly different light frequency are used in parallel as a transmitter in order to yield a higher data rate - four photo diodes that deliver 25 Gigabit per second each, supply the desired 100 gigabits per second. An assembly for a video conferencing system working this way has already been built. In practice, the scientists envision transmission rates of 100 megabits as realistic. In computer networking, lighting technology could become an alternative to conventional wireless networks, especially since it does not interfere with electronic devices and is extremely safe from interception. The HHI is conducting research with practical applications in mind – and everything necessary to send, receive, encode and detect data. In addition to dealing with video and audio coding, they develop the necessary technical components with optical sensing and spectroscopy. Planar optical spectrometer with detector line, e.g. for reading sensor networks © Fraunhofer HHI Future DVDs and basic research 4-fold photodiode array based on InP with integrated bias-T for 4x25 Gb/s © Fraunhofer HHI The ceiling lamp transmits data Data need to move from A to B - as quickly as possible and as safely as possible. Given this task, the HHI researchers proved their pronounced creativity. They also transmit information wirelessly using visible light. Thanks to new HHI transmission technologies, what long used to be seen as a future vision has now moved that much nearer to reality: light from ceiling lamps can stream large data packets quickly and safely to mobile end devices like smartphones and laptops. This becomes possible with the new broadband transmission technology called Visible Light Communication (VLC): just by installing a few components one can turn off-the-shelf LEDs into an optical WLAN. Energy-efficient, robust LEDs are the lighting technology of the future and VLC uses the LED-based infrastructure for data transmission. By this means, the data transmission is wireless, bidirectional, tamper-proof and doesn’t cause hazardous e-smog. Two-way data travel is also possible if infrared LEDS are used for the back channel. Fraunhofer HHI developed Visible Light Communication in partnership with its industry partners Siemens and France Telecom Orange Labs in the EU OMEGA project. Communication via optical signals opens up more and more areas, in which transfers are currently electromagnetic. The Ferdinand-Braun-Institute, Leibniz-Institute for Highest Frequency Technology (FBH) is aiming high in this regard, and in the truest sense of the word. They have developed a module that transmits information to satellites via semiconductor laser and a wavelength of 1,000 nanometers. The same technique can miniaturize components and achieve higher transmission rates. In addition, it is less susceptible to interference. At the moment the principle is being readied for practical use. That is nothing new for the FBH. Even in the development of the previously used technology, data transmission into space via solid-state lasers pumped by semiconductor lasers, it had been involved in several research projects. Just like applied research, basic research in Berlin-Brandenburg is done at high level. The working group Optical Technologies of the Institute of Optics and Atomic Physics at the TU Berlin, for example, develops innovative optical methods for information storage, sensors and manufacture of integrated optical components. One focus is the development of novel methods for nano-and microstructuring of suitable optical materials, including the investigation and modeling of fundamental phenomena of light-matter interaction. Starting point are suitable polymers; they are structured with differently colored lasers. This research could lead, for example, to optical storage discs, which can hold up to one hundred times the data content of a DVD at the same size. The principle: Micro-holograms are written into the material with highly focused laser be 75

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