IEM Distinguished Lecturers Seminar: Optical communication in very long space links


Event details

Date 17.05.2024
Hour 13:1514:00
Speaker Prof. Peter A. Andrekson, Department of Microtechnology and Nanoscience, Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden
Location Online
Category Conferences - Seminars
Event Language English
The seminar will take place in ELA 1 and will be simultaneously broadcasted in Neuchâtel Campus MC B1 273.

Coffee and cookies will be served from 13:00.


I will discuss the transition from using radio waves to laser beams in deep space transmission systems. Laser beams spread out much less than radio waves and therefore permit much higher data rates. This is needed because of the currently very low information rates possible since a very tiny fraction of the power in the beam is captured, for example, when sending data from Mars to Earth and is referred to as a “science return bottleneck”. There are three basic limitations in such optical links; The available optical power at the transmitter, the size of the optical apertures, and the sensitivity of the receiver used. While the former are limited by engineering constraints, the latter is fundamentally limited by vacuum noise that exists everywhere. I will describe our recent results when using a near “noiseless” optical amplifier in the receiver to demonstrate record receiver sensitivity at high bit rates. These amplifiers do not rely on stimulated emission as is normally the case but on so-called nonlinear refraction and referred to as phase-sensitive parametric amplifiers. We have used optical fibers as well as compact chips with silicon nitride waveguides to demonstrate amplification with exceptional performance. Such amplifiers may play an important role in future deep-space optical communication systems. A comparison of performance with different approaches for sending optical signals across very long distances will also be made.

Short biography
Peter Andrekson received his Ph.D. from Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, in 1988. After about three years with AT&T Bell Laboratories, Murray Hill, N.J., he returned to Chalmers where he is a full professor at the Department of Microtechnology and Nanoscience and head of the Photonic Laboratory. He was Director of Research at Cenix Inc. in Allentown, PA, USA, during 2000 – 2003 and with the newly established Center for Optical Technologies at Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA, during 2003 – 2004. His research interests include many aspects of fiber communications such as optical amplifiers, nonlinear pulse propagation, all-optical functionalities, and high spectral efficiency transmission. He is co-founder of the optical test & measurement company Picosolve Inc., now part of EXFO. Andrekson is a Fellow of OSA, IEEE and the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences (IVA). He held an ERC Advanced Grant for work on phase-sensitive optical amplifiers (2012-2017) and is currently a distinguished professor by the Swedish Research Council (VR). He is the director of the Fibre Optic Communications Research Centre (FORCE) at Chalmers.