The 'ACCESS' Project: Network Access in Optical Communications Systems.

Lead Research Organisation: University of Cambridge
Department Name: Engineering

Abstract

Researchers in the Engineering Department of Cambridge University have developed techniques for real-time phase-only holography utilising Liquid Crystal over Silicon (LCoS) technology. This appears to be the most versatile method of optical switching available. It makes possible scalable low-loss multicasting, wavefront control and even programmable control of noise fields. Because it combines a number of functions into a single flexible, programmable module and enables real-time configuration and network management, the holographic LCoS module has significant advantages over competing technologies. As the bandwidth requirements of telecommunications networks increase, optical fibres will be deployed nearer to the customer which will require each neighbourhood or building complex to have such an optical interconnect, providing a large potential market for the module.Previous work by the applicants led to the first LCoS device designed for operation in the telecommunications c-band. This proposal is intended to develop the LCoS research devices and incorporate the technology into a functional demonstrator.
 
Description A prototype wavelength selective switch based on liquid crystal on silicon technology was developed for telecom network applications The switch uses reconfigurable phase holograms to steer the light, and is capable of routing an optical signal from one input fibre to one of nine output fibres. Advances in both the optical design of the switch and in hologram optimization allowed us to demonstrate multi-casting (routing light to more than one output fibre), and static and dynamic crosstalk reduction.
Exploitation Route The optical and hologram design results are not only applicable to telecom network switches. Other areas that might benefit from the project's advances in multi-casting and crosstalk reduction include switches for data centres, sensor networks, optical power distribution for laser based manufacturing and for image projection systems, and medical photonics.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Electronics,Energy,Environment,Financial Services, and Management Consultancy,Healthcare,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology

 
Description The technology demonstrated during the ACCESS project has led to the setting up of a company, ROADMap Systems Ltd. The company is currently developing wavelength selective switches for the telecom network.
First Year Of Impact 2013
Sector Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Electronics
Impact Types Economic

 
Description Converged Optical and Wireless Access Networks (COALESCE)
Amount £1,373,034 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/P003990/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2017 
End 12/2021
 
Description Finisar
Amount £60,000 (GBP)
Organisation Finisar 
Sector Private
Country United States
Start 01/2012 
End 12/2012
 
Description Finisar
Amount £60,000 (GBP)
Organisation Finisar 
Sector Private
Country United States
Start 01/2012 
End 12/2012
 
Company Name ROADMap Systems Ltd 
Description RoadMap Systems is a spin-out from the University of Cambridge. Professor Daping Chu's group have significant expertise in Liquid Crystal on Silicon (LCOS) technology developed over the last 15 years. With exclusive access to key IP and know-how, ROADMap Systems is developing Wavelength Selective Switch (WSS) technology for use in agile optical telecom networks. A seed round of £500,000 was completed in August 2014 
Year Established 2013 
Impact NA
Website http://www.roadmapsystems.co.uk/