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Cluster Report Photonics in the Capital Region Berlin-Brandenburg

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

5.1.5 Optical

5.1.5 Optical Communication Technology “High performance optical networks are the prerequisite for economic growth” Interview with Prof. Dr. Hans-Joachim Grallert and Dr. Ronald Freund about optical communication technology Optical communication is one of the transmission technologies of the future. In what areas of data transmission do you anticipate major changes in the near future? What innovations can we expect in the medium to long term? Hans-Joachim Grallert: Optical transmission techniques have been established particularly in the fiber-based backbone and metro networks, which can now provide a transmission capacity per fiber of several terabits per second over distances of several thousand kilometers. Through the introduction of new services and the growing number of internet-enabled devices, the volume of traffic increases in optical networks by more than 50% per year. This requires a steady development of these network areas and the gradual introduction of the 100 Gb/s technologies already developed in previous years. Ronald Freund: Significant changes in the near future can be expected especially in the access network and in-house network areas. The increasing demand for more bandwidth and lower power consumption will lead to across the board use of optical transmission techniques in these network segments in the foreseeable future. In which areas are research institutes and companies in the capital region leaders in the field of optical communications? How does it compare internationally? Ronald Freund: Research facilities of the capital region are world leaders in the areas net/system- and component design and the manufacture of new, innovative prototypes. For companies, this true in design (e.g., VPIsystem GmbH, and atesio GmbH), production of optical transmission systems (e.g., Nokia Siemens Networks GmbH & Co. KG), manufacture of components (e.g., u²t Photonics AG, COGO Optronics GmbH, and FOC GmbH), and measurement (e.g., SHF AG). This leading role of the Berlin-based companies and research institutes is reflected in their many publications and patents as well as their participation in numerous standards. How do you assess the potential for start-ups in the field of optical communications based on scientific research? In what areas could research results from the capital region be marketed on a larger scale than before? Hans-Joachim Grallert: The laser-based optical communication technology is relatively young and still has considerable potential for innovation, as research results demonstrate again and again. Important for the process of know-how transfer and the economic Prof. Dr. Hans-Joachim Grallert studied communications engineering at the RWTH Aachen and received his doctorate there in 1977. Since 2004 he has been at the Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute (HHI) where he initially worked as a consultant and, since 2005, as Director. In 2005 he was appointed professor of telecommunications at the Technical University of Berlin, Faculty IV. Before he joined the HHI, he was CEO of Communications Ondata GmbH and vice president of Marconi Optical Networks (2001-2003). From 1981 to 2001, he worked at Siemens AG in Munich, most recently as head of development of transmission systems and member of the management of Siemens Information and Communication Optical Networks. © Photo: Fraunhofer HHI commercialization of research is a strong cooperation of small and medium-sized companies in this industry with research institutions such as the Heinrich-Hertz-Institute. The HHI is always ready to cooperate with other companies and provide them with the latest technology and research. The project “100x100 Optics” - 100 Mb/s for 100 million users, funded by the Berlin Future Fund and lead by the HHI, was completed in December 2011. What are the results and what prospects are there? Hans-Joachim Grallert: The results of the joint project “100x100 Optics” strengthen Berlin as a location in the field of optical technologies and will contribute to the growth of this industry in the coming years. The participation of two Berlin-based companies (u²t Photonics AG and COGO Optronics GmbH) ensures the economic exploitation of project results in the region. 78

5.1.5 Optical Communication Technology Ronald Freund: The aim of this project is to develop optical key components for high bit rate optical data transmission systems, for example, to receive phase-modulated optical signals. As part of “100x100 Optics”, the HHI developed the world's first optical phase receiver based on polymers, successfully tested in transmission experiments for data rates of up to 116 Gb/s. The results were presented in September 2011 at the ECOC in Geneva. Professor Grallert, you are head of the Fraunhofer-Institute for Telecommunications, Heinrich-Hertz-Institute (HHI). Which major research projects does the HHI currently work on and what practical innovations could come of them? Hans-Joachim Grallert: Powerful optical networks are the prerequisite for economic growth. The HHI is working with partners to find solutions that make these optical networks safer, more energy efficient and faster. Together with partners, the HHI currently works on projects for the development of next generation optical access network technologies that will provide any end user with a balanced network access, i.e. with the same bit rate for upload and download, with a capacity of at least 1 Gb/s. In addition, the Heinrich-Hertz-Institute is working to develop the next generation of mobile systems as well as new solutions to increase the transmission capacity in optical satellite and undersea cable transmission systems along with the necessary photonic components. In addition, departments of the HHI are dealing with the detection, transmission, processing and playback of video signals in the film and television industry (3D) as well as in industrial and medical applications. The interview was conducted by Markus Wabersky and Arild Eichbaum At the Fraunhofer-Institute for Telecommunications, Heinrich-Hertz-Institute, Dr. Ronald Freund directs the Department of Photonic Networks and Systems with research interests in optical core-, metro-, access- and in-house-networks. The Department also develops of optical undersea cable and satellite communications systems. Other research topics include quantum communication and optical signal processing. In the past, infrared ports could not take hold in mobile phones. How is optical communication directly usable in wireless telephony and Internet usage? Or does their use happen largely unnoticed for the end customer? Ronald Freund: In the past, infrared communications systems could not take hold in the market due to the low data rates compared to the RF-based wireless solutions. The application of new transfer methods now allows transmission rates of up to 1 Gb/s, also in visible light using LEDs that are used in many ways for lighting purposes. Areas with permanent lighting, such as large open-space offices, factories, medical areas, aircraft cabins, or the public long-distance and local traffic, offer great potential for optical wireless communications for the future. Using the wavelength multiplexing transmission technology will allow future transfer capacities of several 100 Gb/s for terrestrial direct optical links and optical satellite communications systems. 79

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