Advanced Optical Frequency Comb Technologies and Applications

Lead Research Organisation: Aston University
Department Name: College of Engineering and Physical Sci

Abstract

Technologies underpin economic and industrial advances and improvements in healthcare, education and societal and public infrastructure. Technologies of the future depend on scientific breakthroughs of the past and present, including new knowledge bases, ideas, and concepts. The proposed international network of interdisciplinary centre-to-centre collaborations aims to drive scientific and technological progress by advancing and developing a new science platform for emerging technology - the optical frequency comb (OFC) with a range of practical applications of high industrial and societal importance in telecommunications, metrology, healthcare, environmental applications, bio-medicine, food industry and agri-tech and many other applications.

The optical frequency comb is a breakthrough photonic technology that has already revolutionised a range of scientific and industrial fields. In the family of OFC technologies, dual-comb spectroscopy plays a unique role as the most advanced platform combining the strengths of conventional spectroscopy and laser spectroscopy. Measurement techniques relying on multi-comb, mostly dual-comb and very recently tri-combs, offer the promise of exquisite accuracy and speed. The large majority of initial laboratory results originate from cavity-based approaches either using bulky powerful Ti:Sapphire lasers, or ultra-compact micro-resonators. While these technologies have many advantages, they also feature certain drawbacks for some applications. They require complex electronic active stabilisation schemes to phase-lock the different single-combs together, and the characteristics of the multi-comb source are not tuneable since they are severely dictated by the opto-geometrical parameters of the cavity. Thus, their repetition rates cannot be optimised to the decay rates of targeted samples, nor their relative repetition rates to sample the response of the medium. Such lack of versatility leads to speed and resolution limitations. These major constraints impact the development of these promising systems and make difficult their deployment outside the labs.

To drive OFC sources, and in particular, multi-comb source towards a tangible science-to-technology breakthrough, the current state of the art shows that a fundamental paradigm shift is required to achieve the needs of robustness, performance and versatility in repetition rates and/or comb optical characteristics as dictated by the diversity of applications. In this project we propose and explore new approaches to create flexible and tunable comb sources, based on original design concepts. The novelty and transformative nature of our programme is in addressing engineering challenges and designs treating nonlinearity as an inherent part of the engineering systems rather than as a foe. Using the unique opportunity provided by the EPSRC international research collaboration programme, this project will bring together a critical mass of academic and industrial partners with complimentary expertise ranging from nonlinear mathematics to industrial engineering to develop new concepts and ideas underpinning emerging and future OFC technologies.
The project will enhance UK capabilities in key strategic areas including optical communications, laser technology, metrology, and sensing, including the mid-IR spectral region, highly important for healthcare and environment applications, food, agri-tech and bio-medical applications. Such a wide-ranging and transformative project requires collaborative efforts of academic and industrial groups with complimentary expertise across these fields. There are currently no other UK projects addressing similar research challenges. Therefore, we believe that this project will make an important contribution to UK standing in this field of high scientific and industrial importance.

Publications

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Bancel EL (2023) Intra-envelope four-wave mixing in optical fibers. in Optics express

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Crespo-Ballesteros M (2023) Optimized frequency comb spectrum of parametrically modulated bottle microresonators in Communications Physics

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Ferreira MFS (2024) Roadmap on optical sensors. in Journal of optics (2010)

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Kbashi H (2022) Fast and slow optical rogue waves in the fiber laser in Frontiers in Physics

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Kbashi H (2023) Tunable Multiwavelength SOA-Based Fiber Laser in Electronics

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Prati F (2023) The master equation for passive modelocking in EPJ Web of Conferences

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Sergeyev SV (2022) Polarization attractors driven by vector soliton rain. in Optics express

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Stoliarov D (2023) Slow Vector Breathers

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Yadav A (2023) Edge emitting mode-locked quantum dot lasers in Progress in Quantum Electronics

 
Description EPSRC IAA 2022-25 Additional Allocation Award
Amount £19,662 (GBP)
Funding ID EPSA2-07 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 02/2023 
End 03/2023
 
Description Harnessing vector soliton supramolecular structures
Amount £176,421 (GBP)
Organisation The Leverhulme Trust 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2023 
End 10/2024
 
Description Improving the energy efficiency of wind turbines
Amount £98,000 (GBP)
Organisation Royal Academy of Engineering 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2023 
End 03/2025
 
Description Instability-driven versatile mode-locked all-fibre lasers emitting in the short-wave infrared wavelength range
Amount £12,000 (GBP)
Organisation The International Exchange 
Sector Private
Country United Kingdom
Start 02/2023 
End 02/2025
 
Description Next Generation Glioma Treatments using Direct Light Therapy
Amount £3,300,000 (GBP)
Funding ID 101129705 
Organisation European Commission 
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start 01/2024 
End 12/2026
 
Description Tuneable short-Wavelength infrarEd modE-lockeD fibre lasers (TWEED)
Amount £200,000 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/Y001915/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2024 
End 02/2026
 
Description Ultraprecise sensor to measure interactions between food and packaging materials
Amount £426,177 (GBP)
Funding ID ECF-2023-713 
Organisation The Leverhulme Trust 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 08/2023 
End 08/2026
 
Description the British Council Women in STEM Scholarships programme for 2023-24
Amount £180,000 (GBP)
Funding ID WISF22-002 
Organisation British Council 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2023 
End 12/2024
 
Title Mitigation of Nonlinear Effects in Optical Communications using Digital and Optical Techniques 
Description Data set behind publication 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2022 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Publication of invited conference paper , "Mitigation of Nonlinear Effects in Optical Communications Using Digital and Optical Techniques", Advanced Photonics Congress, Paper NeTu3D.4, (2022) 
URL https://research.aston.ac.uk/en/datasets/mitigation-of-nonlinear-effects-in-optical-communications-u...
 
Description Colaboration with company Insensys (Sergey Sergeyev) 
Organisation Insensys Ltd
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Knowledge and research exchange on optical freqency comb technologies for optical fibre sensing.
Collaborator Contribution Providing access for you to our state-of-the-art facilities on sensing technologies for the wind turbines blades condition monitoring
Impact Not yet
Start Year 2023
 
Description Collaboration with the Université Côte d'Azur 
Organisation University of Côte d'Azur
Country France 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Research and Knowledge exchange
Collaborator Contribution Research and Knowledge exchange
Impact not yet
Start Year 2022
 
Description Collaboration with the University de Lille 
Organisation University of Lille
Country France 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Knowledge and research exchange
Collaborator Contribution Knowledge and research exchange
Impact Ongoing
Start Year 2022
 
Description 2nd International AiPT Workshop: ADVANCES IN UWB OPTICAL FIBRE COMMUNICATIONS: POTENTIAL, CHALLENGES, SOLUTIONS 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The workshop focused on the key challenges in optical communication, emphasising band-limited optical transmission systems. As well as the talks and presentations, the event hosted technical discussions on state-of-the-art coherent technologies, including experts from both academic and industrial backgrounds. They addressed the potential of capacity enhancement from the perspective of novel fibre (Corning, Southampton University), network equipment and subsystem development (Infinera, Nokia Bell Labs, ADVA), intelligent data processing (Fraunhofer HHI, Bristol University), network operation (British Telecom, Deutsche Telecom), and others. We were
honoured to host plenary talks by Dr Ming-Jun Li, a corporate fellow at Corning Incorporated (USA), and Dr David Neilson from Nokia Bell Labs USA, along with many other speakers and guests from BT Group, Deutsche Telekom, Infinera Germany, KDDI Corporation, Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute HHI, UCL, University of Bristol, University of Southampton, and the University of Stuttgart. The workshop provided a strategic direction for tackling challenges in coherent optical communications, bridging academic and industrial partners to tailor novel research for developing next-generation optical networks.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2023
URL https://events.astonphotonics.uk/advances-in-uwb-optical-fibre-communications-potential-challenges-s...
 
Description 3rd International AiPT Workshop FreQomb: Optical Frequency Combs 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The three-day event was held in person at the University from 29 November-1 December and brought together world-leading researchers and companies within the field.
Academics from America, Australiasia and Europe attended the event along with representatives from companies including Enlightra Lab, Lambda Photometrics, NKT Photonics, Pilot Photonics and Toptica.

The three days were devoted to the rapidly developing field of optical frequency combs and included talks, equipment demonstrations, a lab tour, a poster session and two roundtable discussions.

The topics covered spanned the latest developments in innovative sources using lasers, waveguides and microresonators. Additionally, the workshop explored novel nonlinear dynamics effects in optical resonators, along with diverse applications of optical frequency combs in astronomy, quantum technologies, telecoms, and photonic computing.

Professor Kerry Vahala from California Institute of Technology, Professor Scott Diddams from NIST at the University of Colorado and assistant professor Kiyoul Yang from Harvard University were among the attendees from the United States. In addition, Professor Harald Schwefel from University of Otago, New Zealand, Professor Arnan Mitchell from RMIT University, Australia, Professor Jérôme Faist from ETH Zürich, Switzerland, Professor. Alessia Pasquazi, Loughborough University and Prof Zhixin Liu from UCL in the UK attended.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2023
URL https://events.astonphotonics.uk/freqomb-workshop-30-nov-1-dec-2023/#page-content
 
Description AiPT annual report highlight about the project 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Online and printed AiPT annual report highlight about the project (p42-43).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2023
URL https://www.aston.ac.uk/sites/default/files/2023-08/9893_aston_aipt_report_final_0.pdf
 
Description Beyond Ultra-wideband Optical Communications 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact This diverse and interactive workshop (in-person only) addressed the hurdles of transmission bandwidth limitations in optical communication systems, exploring solutions of broadening the bandwidth and increasing data capacity from various perspectives including device manufacturer and subsystem developer (e.g., II-VI), full system provider (e.g., Nokia), and research institutes (e.g., NIT, ORC, AiPT).

Through keynote talks, interactive sharing sessions and networking opportunities, the workshop benefited the professional development of PhD students, early career researchers and practitioners, created a two-way flow of knowledge transfer, and provide an excellent platform to explore the application of Aston technology.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2022
URL https://events.astonphotonics.uk/uwb2022/#page-content
 
Description CLEO 2022. G. Gardosi, B. J. Mangan, and M. Sumetsky, "Picometer-precise post-processing of optical microresonators via slow-cooking" 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact G. Gardosi, B. J. Mangan, and M. Sumetsky, "Picometer-precise post-processing of optical microresonators via slow-cooking," in Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics (Optica Publishing Group, 2022), p. JW3A.49. https://doi.org/10.1364/CLEO_AT.2022.JW3A.49
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2022
 
Description Integration of novel materials into silicon photonics 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Experts from academia and industry discussed recent advances on the integration of novel materials into silicon photonic platforms and presented the recent advances of the field. Also, they discussed the possible advantages and challenges posed by different materials - from quantum dots, to perovskites, to 2D-materials, etc. - and by different integration strategies.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2022
URL https://mocca.astonphotonics.uk/workshop-integration-of-novel-materials-into-silicon-photonics/
 
Description Invited paper/talk at the Photonics West 2023. Misha Sumetsky, Towards picometer precise fabrication of microresonators and resonant photonic circuits: the potential of the SNAP platform 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Misha Sumetsky, Towards picometer precise fabrication of microresonators and resonant photonic circuits: the potential of the SNAP platform
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2023
URL https://spie.org/photonics-west/presentation/Towards-picometer-precise-fabrication-of-microresonator...
 
Description Optical Frequency Combs Workshop at Aston Institute of Photonic Technologies 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The workshop brought together leading researchers in the field of optical frequency combs science and technology to discuss its fundamentals, applications, and future opportunities. The topics covered included recent development of innovative sources based on lasers, waveguides and microresonators, novel nonlinear dynamics effects in optical resonators, and diverse applications of optical frequency combs in astronomy, quantum technologies, and photonic computing.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2022
URL https://events.astonphotonics.uk/comb2022/#page-content
 
Description Photonics West 2024 invited talk by Dr Gabriella Gardosi: Determination of a refractive index distribution along a SNAP microresonator from its single spectrum: temperature distribution measurement 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Invited talk at the big Photonics Conference
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2024
URL https://spie.org/photonics-west/presentation/Determination-of-a-refractive-index-distribution-along-...
 
Description Photonics West 2024 invited talk by Prof Misha Sumetsky: Complete inelastic transparency of time modulated resonant photonic circuits 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Invited talk at the big Photonics Conference
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2024
URL https://spie.org/photonics-west/presentation/Complete-inelastic-transparency-of-time-modulated-reson...
 
Description Presentation of the project at the AiPT Open Labs 2023 event 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact At our AiPT Open Labs Event, AiPT researchers and in particular Optical Frequency Comb project working group gave talks about their latest research, share insights at interactive posters, and showcase innovative technologies at live demonstrations in our laboratories.

It was intended to promote greater interaction among AiPT members and openly exhibit our research activities. During the Open Labs session, researchers discussed their research, demonstrated technologies, and explained concepts. In line with our objectives, presentations were designed to accommodate non-experts in the field as well as field professionals, with a focus on explaining the motivation, general principles and broader impacts of research topic.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2023
URL https://events.astonphotonics.uk/aipt-open-labs-7-june-2023/#page-content
 
Description Presentation of the project at the Annual AiPT Conference in Dec 2023 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presentation by Sergei K. Turitsyn about OFC project progress at the Annual AiPT Conference.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2023
 
Description Press release about FreQomb Workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Press release about successful event
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2023
URL https://www.aston.ac.uk/latest-news/aston-university-attracts-globally-renowned-scientists-internati...
 
Description Press release about Telecom Workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Press release https://www.aston.ac.uk/latest-news/world-leader-photonics-gives-talk-aston-university
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2023
URL https://www.aston.ac.uk/latest-news/world-leader-photonics-gives-talk-aston-university
 
Description Talk at the CLEO/Europe-EQEC. G. Gardosi and M. Sumetsky "Nonlocal Microcapillary Fibre Sensing Platform" 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact G. Gardosi and M. Sumetsky, "Nonlocal Microcapillary Fibre Sensing Platform," 2023 Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics Europe & European Quantum Electronics Conference (CLEO/Europe-EQEC), Munich, Germany, 2023, pp. 1-1, doi: 10.1109/CLEO/Europe-EQEC57999.2023.10232567.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2023
 
Description Talk at the Conference Photon 2022. G. Gardosi and M. Sumetsky, "SNAP Microfluidics", 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact G. Gardosi and M. Sumetsky, "SNAP Microfluidics", in Conference Photon 2022, Institute of Physics.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2022
 
Description Talk at the Photonics West 2023. Manuel Crespo, Parametrically excited frequency combs in a bottle microresonator: the effect of spatial distribution of modulation 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Parametrically excited frequency combs in a bottle microresonator: the effect of spatial distribution of modulation, Manuel Crespo, Misha Sumetsky
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2023
URL https://spie.org/photonics-west/presentation/Parametrically-excited-frequency-combs-in-a-bottle-micr...
 
Description Talk at the Photonics West 2023. Translation and reconfiguration of SNAP microresonators using optofluidics 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Talk at the Photonics West

Translation and reconfiguration of SNAP microresonators using optofluidics. Gabriella I. Gardosi, Misha Sumetsky
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2023
URL https://spie.org/photonics-west/presentation/Translation-and-reconfiguration-of-SNAP-microresonators...
 
Description Talk at the Photonics West 2024 by Dr Manuel Crespo-Ballesteros: Sub-picometer precise continuous free spectral range tuning of parabolic microresonators induced in a bent optical fiber 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Talk at the big photonics Conference
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2024
URL https://spie.org/photonics-west/presentation/Sub-picometer-precise-continuous-free-spectral-range-tu...
 
Description Talk by Gabriella Gardosi at the conference "Women: Innovation, Technology, Strength" 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Gabriella Gardosi gave an invited talk at the conference 2023.

Only 35% of STEM students in higher education and only 23% of STEM workforce in the UK are women. Only one in three UK entrepreneurs is female, and only 6% of UK women run their own businesses.
If more girls stayed in technology and engineering, what would they be designing and creating for our future use? If more more women run businesses, how would this benefit the UK economy ?
An extraordinary conference dedicated to International Women's Day to talk about women in innovation, technology and entrepreneurship, what drives them, and the ideas they bring to life.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2023
URL https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/women-innovation-technology-strength-tickets-476352782997
 
Description Talk/invited paper at the Photonics West 2023. Misha Sumetsky, Parametrically excited microcombs: racetrack vs. SNAP bottle microresonators 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Parametrically excited microcombs: racetrack vs. SNAP bottle microresonators, Misha Sumetsky
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2023
URL https://spie.org/photonics-west/presentation/Parametrically-excited-microcombs-racetrack-vs-SNAP-bot...
 
Description Website of the project 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Website of the project with all information about related publications, news, etc.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2022
URL https://combs.astonphotonics.uk
 
Description Workshop "Current and future trends for optical communication systems" 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact 2-day workshop on 'Current and future trends for optical communication systems'
Topics:
1. Practical Implementation and Network Applications of Non -Fourier Transform
2. ML Methods for Ultra-Wide Band Systems
3. ML and AI Applied to MB Optical Communication
7-8 April 2022, Technical University of Denmark (DTU) and online
Event website: https://dtu-workshop.astonphotonics.uk
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2022
URL https://dtu-workshop.astonphotonics.uk