Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Final Report Summary - SOLAS (Spatial and Orbital Light for Advanced Systems)

The project SOLAS is focused on training activities with a significant effort on the development of disruptive spatial division multiplexing technology merged with the radical new technology of orbital angular momentum to deliver low cost, high capacity communication networks of the future. The key objectives of the project include scientific training in non-linear techniques in optical transmission, photonic device technologies, advanced modelling methods to enable the fellow to become a research leader in the field of optical communications. In addition, the project includes training in soft-skills such as IP protection, communication skills, financial and management skills.

The project has completed, fully, all of its training goals as laid out in the proposal. The training objectives of the project are covered by Work Package-1 (WP-1). Within this WP the Fellow received training seminars from the Human Resources of Aston in time and financial management and he had the opportunity to exercise further these skills by undertaking responsibilities on actual research projects. In parallel, he attended world leading conferences in optical communications and he has been acquainted with renowned researchers in the field. The SOLAS project has provided a unique opportunity to the Fellow to cultivate his academic skills in supervision and outreach, by partaking and developing demos as part of the UNESCO Year of Light with the EU funded Lightfest being held in Birmingham City Library and supervising PhD level students in the lab. In parallel, the training he received on proposal writing, at the beginning of the project, has been essential to him for preparing research grant applications. He has also received considerable training in IP protection and commercialization by Aston's Business Partnership Unit due to the fellows keen interest in partaking in future start-ups. Finally, the Fellow had the opportunity to develop a critical scientific skill-set on high performance computing, digital signal processing, SDM and metasurface device development and on long-haul transmission systems, which helped him in SOLAS research achievements.

The research objectives of the project take place within Work-package 2 (WP-2). This consists of five tasks that cover all the development aspects of future Orbital Angular Momentum (OAM) and Spatial Division Multiplexing (SDM) systems to be developed in SOLAS, from device fabrication to network level testing. The key development in the first year involved the generation of orbital angular momentum modes and development of and SDM testbed. This was done through collaborations with the Australian National University (ANU), the Tyndall National Institute and Optoscribe. The collaboration with ANU studied the generation of OAM modes through novel metasurfaces. The collaboration with Optoscribe focused on the development of photonic lanterns that generate a combination of LP modes. These technologies where studied and allowed for an SDM testbed to be successfully developed that were used in the second year to preform characterisation experiments. The fellow has also studied possible test configurations for high bandwidth testbeds where he has worked with Dr. Mary McCarthy and Prof. Andrew Ellis to develop a platform that utilises spectrally shaped amplified spontaneous emission to emulate neighbouring data channels for broadband transmission experiments. Working with Dr. Filipe Ferreira the fellow developed key understandings of SDM systems that allowed for the development of advanced optical testbeds, these innovated inventions are currently being assessed for their IP potential. Finally, the Fellow had a fruitful collaboration with the Austrailain National University in the second year of the project that resulted in the fabrication of a high speed mode-modulator that will form the basis of further research. This development is a key finding in the technical achievements of the Fellowship and is applicable to both SDM and OAM technologies, the area uniquely identified by the SOLAS project. Despite the fact that an OAM amplifier was highlighted as a key high-impact target of the SOLAS project, this has been achieved by other research groups, what is a unique achievement of the SOLAS project is the development of key OAM/SDM metasurface technologies.

Apart from the core research work in the SOLAS project the Fellow also had the opportunity to provide scientific contributions to additional research activities that were running in parallel in the optical communication lab. The total research outcome of the first year's activities for the Fellow was 17 publications in high impact factor scientific journals and international conferences along with invited talks at IONS KOALA 2015, IPC 2015, Royal Society meeting on OAM Technology and ECOC 2016. The fellow was also invited to be a technical committee member for IPC 2016, highlighting the continued upward trajectory of the fellows career as a result of the opportunity provided to him through the Fellowship.

Finally, the success of the training aspect of this fellowship can be clearly seen in the successful transition of the fellow into a managerial role in an Irish SME (ElectroMagnet Technologies Ltd.) where he is responsible for the direct employment of two staff with his company planning greater expansion in the coming months. This demonstrates how the fellowship successfully trained the fellow with a direct example of positive impact on the European Community.

Reported by

ASTON UNIVERSITY
United Kingdom
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