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ROAM Report Summary

Project ID: 645361
Funded under: H2020-EU.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - ROAM (Revolutionising optical fibre transmission and networking using the Orbital Angular Momentum of light)

Reporting period: 2015-02-01 to 2016-07-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

The central idea in the Horizon2020 Project ROAM, which stands for Revolutioning optical fibre transmission and networking using the Optical Angular Momentum of Light, is investigate and demonstrate the use of the orbital angular momentum (OAM) modes of light for communications and networking.

Thanks to the unique composition of ROAM Consortium, that includes specific expertises, the project goals will be enabled by integrated high performance OAM components build on silicon photonics technology.

The overall objective of the ROAM project is to investigate and demonstrate the use of the orbital angular momentum (OAM) modes of light for communications and networking.

Two are the primary objectives.

The first objective is to exploit the use of OAM modes in optical fibres as a disruptive means of increasing optical fibre transmission capacity for short-reach high data density applications. A transmission testbed utilising OAM multiplexing and wavelength division multiplexing (WDM) dimensions will be demonstrated. The target will be a 10x or more capacity increase by employing 10 or more OAM multiplexed channels over a conventional WDM system. The combination of 10x OAM states with 16 wavelength channels will provide a total of 160 multiplexed channels. Full compatibility with legacy technologies will be demonstrated. Speciality fibres will be employed to support OAM modes transmission in the range up to 2 km.

The second objective is to exploit the use of OAM domain as a switching resource in conjunctions with the wavelength domain to significantly improve the scalability and the power consumption of the switches in data-centres applications. A 10x improvement of the scalability of the data-centre switches will be targeted with the study and development of an OAM-based switch compatible with the WDM layer. A switch exploiting 10 OAM modes and 16 wavelengths as switching domains will be implemented. The developed two-layer switch will enable a more than 10x reduction of power consumption/Gb/s with respect to the current commercial switches. OAM switch configuration time of 100 ns will be demonstrated, with 8x improvement with respect to commercial switches.

The project goals will be enabled by integrated high performance OAM components build on silicon photonics technology. ROAM consortium is composed by three universities, two research institutes, and two large companies, with the required knowledge and infrastructures to satisfy the project objectives.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

During M1–20 many important targets were met. The specifications for the OAM division multiplexing and of the OAM-based switching systems were formulated (D2.1 and D2.2), and important progress were made in the OAM fiber development (D3.1), the OAM coupling (D3.2), in the OAM multiplexed transmission over a single wavelength (D5.1), and in the OAM conversion and switching schemes design (D6.1). Fibre-chip coupling (D3.3), and crosstalk and its suppression technologies (D5.2) were analyzed, and OAM MUX/DEMUX devices were designed and developed (D4.1, D4.2). During the first half of the project many important technical results were achieved. The first OAM fibre and devices for multiple OAM generation were delivered and tested (MS1 and MS2), and OAM conversion and switching scheme preliminary design were delivered (MS3). The specifications for the OAM division multiplexing system and based switching system were defined (MS4 and MS5). OAM mode coupling matrix measuring system was established (MS6), and the first setup of OAM fibre transmission testbed was successfully run (MS8). Devices for OAM reconfigurability through thermos-optic effect were accomplished (MS7). Finally OAM scheme conversion and two-dimensional OAM and wavelength-based switch were implemented (MS10 and MS11).

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

The ROAM project main goal will be to develop and demonstrate OAM-based fibre communication and networking. A 10x improvement of capacity in fibre communication, and a 10x improvement in scalability and power consumption in switching for data-centres applications are the expected outcomes, which will have a significant industrial impact for both data-centre infrastructure manufacturing and data-centre service providers.
Moreover, the technical solutions developed within the ROAM project will have a substantial environmental impacts, through the development of green (low-power) integrated technological solutions, and societal impacts by contributing to the transformation of communication network infrastructures.
In descending order of directness, the ROAM project addresses the following Expected Impacts listed in the Call ICT-06-2014 document:
- Reach higher spectrum efficiency, target 10 fold increase.
- Reduce energy consumption of basic infrastructures by a factor of 10.
- Move beyond 10 Gbps per user within 10 years and 100 Gbps per user in a farther future over fixed accesses.
- Support metro and core networks with Pb/s throughput and Tb/s interface speeds.
- Maintain a state of the art industrial capability on optical network technology in Europe with at least 20% of the global market share.
In M1-18, the following challenges, that were reconsidered with respect to the actual stat of the art of OAM transmission and switching technology, show that the envised impact is still relevant:
- The need for higher switching capacity in interconnection networks with reduced power consumption remains a top challenge
- The packaging activity carried on in the project is still believed to have significant impact on the development of devices to be employed for industrial applications.
- The need for higher capacity optical communications remains a top challenge
- OAM communications is still believed to be the most cost- and energy efficienct way of expanding capacity by mode division multiplexing.
- OAM based switches coupled to optical fibers that support OAM-based transmission is still believed to have a direct and beneficial impact on the efficiency of data-centre computing and optical transmissions in data centers.
- The much reduced footprint of OAM technology together with its potential for integrating large arrays and matrices of OAM emitters on the same silicon chip is still of great interest to several other applications.

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