The ICONE Initial Training Network

Communication at a distance is now a fundamental aspect of both economic and societal behaviour and is set to strongly influence our future development in both fields. Whilst society at large is familiar with the user interfaces of computers, televisions, smart phones and other devices, this remarkable change in human behaviour has been brought about by the continuous evolution of communication networks over the last 65 years, with the roll of fiber optics clear from the roll out of fiber based broadband services. The ICONE Initial Training Network provides training and education of engineers and researchers within the most advanced optical transmission systems, i.e. high capacity high constellation coherent systems using digital signal processing (DSP). Currently, systems with a total capacity of about 100 Gbit/s are under widespread commercial installation in the core network around the globe.

The next generation research and development focuses on system capacities of 10-100 Tbit/s or more, approaching the “nonlinear Shannon limit” of about 10 bit/s/Hz when aggregating/multiplexing the capacity of several systems in one fiber. The influence of various forms of fiber nonlinearities are a strongly limiting design factor limiting the maximum optical power. Such high capacity coherent systems are currently under investigation at universities, research institutes and leading component and system vendors. ICONE will train students to participate in the growing industry sector which provides the backbone for all long distance communications worldwide.

Specialist training will cover:

  • Development of suitable components (i.e. laser diodes and electrical/optical modulators)
  • Digital processing software and ICs (i.e. ADC/DAC and DSP circuits)
  • Overall system design and test (i.e. interaction of dispersion, linewidth, noise and nonlinearity)
  • Analysis of fundamental limits (Kerr nonlinearities and fire fuse effects)
  • Enhancements to link design (novel fibers and amplification techniques)
  • Numerical device and system modeling
  • Development of advanced diagnostic equipment
  • Practical system implementation

European industry is experiencing an explosive growth in demand for qualified engineers, researchers and staff well trained in all of these fields, both for direct application in the development of products and services for core communication networks. Students graduating from this program will be well placed to fill this gap.

Details of Individual Projects

  • Aston University (UK): “Advanced Raman amplification schemes and ultra-long fiber lasers for coherent optical communications”
  • Aston University (UK):“Harnessing of noise and polarisation in fiber Raman lasers and systems”
  • KTH (Sweden): “Integrated Si-photonics components for high-speed optical communication systems: waveguides, TWEA and nonlinear EO polymer modulators”
  • KTH (Sweden): “Optical sources for advanced modulation formats providing spectral-efficient and energy-efficient modulation”
  • DTU (Denmark):“Synthesis and real-time implementation of DSP algorithms for nonlinearity mitigation”
  • IO-CSIC (Spain): “Distributed amplification and optimal power management for impairment reduction in long-haul coherent optical transmission systems”
  • IO-CSIC (Spain): “Optimization of nonlinearly-assisted technologies for coherent optical communications”
  • UCL (UK): “Reduced complexity DSP for access and MIMO digital coherent receivers”
  • VPI (Germany): “Innovative paradigms for cross layer photonics modeling”
  • Acreo Swedish ICT “Flexible spectrum allocation in optical networks”