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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/V000969/1
Title: All-Raman optical amplification for next Generation ultra-wideband Optical Networks (ARGON)
Principal Investigator: Forysiak, Professor W
Other Investigators:
Harper, Dr P Phillips, Dr I D
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Dr M Iqbal
Project Partners:
BT Corning Incorporated (International) II-VI Photonics (UK)
Department: College of Engineering and Physical Sci
Organisation: Aston University
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 September 2020 Ends: 31 August 2023 Value (£): 978,033
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Digital Signal Processing Optical Communications
Optical Devices & Subsystems
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
No relevance to Underpinning Sectors
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
06 Jul 2020 EPSRC ICT Prioritisation Panel July 2020 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
The aim of this proposed research is to address the modelling, design, demonstration and potential applications of ultra-wide-band (UWB) optical fibre amplifiers based on the Raman effect, induced by high power laser pumping of specially designed optical fibre, for future applications in optical fibre communication networks, ranging from inter-data-centre connections to metro/regional networks.

Despite massive advances in the capabilities of optical fibre communication systems over the past two decades, enabled by digital coherent technology, internet traffic growth remains well above 20% per annum, and is forecast to continue on a strong trajectory for the foreseeable future. Delivering a seamless optical amplifier of unprecedented bandwidth is now seen by operators and their network equipment suppliers as the most practical and cost-effective way to increase the traffic carrying capacity of the billions of km of glass fibre that has been deployed worldwide, by making use of the wide low-loss window.

The programme targets two specific designs of all-Raman amplifier: (i) a node-located, discrete-only parallel, dual-stage design, and (ii) a hybrid distributed-discrete dual-stage design, making use of the intra-node transmission fibre as a gain medium for part of the spectrum. These innovative designs are enabled by recent increases in laser pump powers and novel nonlinear Raman gain fibres, and a growing, general acceptance of Raman technology by all network operators, ranging from relatively conservative incumbents, such as Verizon, to more adventurous technology giants, such as google.

New, nonlinear, modelling tools will be developed to overcome and support the significant experimental design challenges in manufacturing and operating our proposed UWB amplifiers, which with 300nm bandwidth offer approaching 10x the bandwidth of standard Erbium-doped fibre amplifiers used in today's networks. Key optical amplifier characteristics such as gain, noise figure, uniformity and nonlinearity will be measured stand-alone. UWB optical fibre communication system capacity improvements and performance will be evaluated in representative models of target networks, informed by our project partners, and compared with extensive in-line and recirculating loop UWB laboratory-based tests.
Key Findings
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Organisation Website: http://www.aston.ac.uk