Laser-based Terabit Optical Wireless Networking
Harald Haas, University of Strathclyde

Cyber security, energy efficiency, data density and peak data rates of up to 1 Tbps are some of the key performance indicators of 6G. With current radio frequency (RF) technologies it will be difficult to advance all these performance indicators jointly due to fundamental spectrum limitations in the RF domain. What is needed to achieve step-change improvements in all those key performance indicators together is substantial new spectrum, devices at high optical-to-electrical (OE) conversion efficiencies and the ability to spatially control signal radiation tightly and at low energy cost. To this end, OWC can leverage decades of developments in optical fiber communications. We will summarize recent advancements in OWC with respect to peak data rates, data density, security and energy efficiency in the context of wireless networks that will support user mobility and can deal with non-line-of sight (NLOS) situations. Finally, we will discuss results from different research projects that integrated  OWC in 5G RAN and project forward into 6G.

Advances in compound semiconductor materials and devices for future networks
Wyn Meredith, Compound Semiconductor Centre

Compound semiconductor (CS) materials are a critical enabler for fibre optic and RF communication systems, being the materials of choice for high specification photonic devices such as diode lasers, detectors and optical amplifiers. As the network evolves to accommodate the demands of 5G and future 6G services, there are ever increasing demands on the specification and reduction in the cost of manufacturing of CS components. The UK has a rich history in research, innovation and production of a wide range of CS devices; we will summarise examples of current UK R+D activity and their relevance to future communications systems.

Fiber-optic link extensions by embedded THz wireless connections
Braulio Gomez Saveerda, VPI Photonics GmbH

THz wireless links with carrier frequencies beyond the W band represent an attractive way to extend existing fiber-optic network infrastructure. Such system configurations are advantageous for broadband access networks in dense urban areas, ad hoc networks of large events, or applications where fiber cable deployment is impractical. The design of these hybrid networks requires special attention, as the THz wireless propagation characteristics are affected by weather and atmospheric effects influencing the signal performance dynamically.

We investigate within the collaborative project AI-NET-PROTECT alternatives for link architectures and analog interfaces to enable seamless interconnection between the optical fiber and the THz wireless extender of the hybrid links. We present statistical information about weather conditions to derive channel models for wireless transmission and analyze its impact on system performance. Additionally, we demonstrate the applicability of variable rate and spectral efficient modulation formats and the robustness of conventional DSP algorithms exclusively developed for optical fiber transmission when deployed to the combined fiber-optical/THz-wireless link.


Novel Low Loss Metallic Fibre-to-Chip Coupling for Quantuam Photonic Integrated Circuit Applications’
Michael O’Farrell, Senko

Quantum technology has been identified as a key emerging and transformative technology that will have an impact on the UK’s long term digital and economic future. One of the key technologies for the successful adoption of Quantum Technology is the use of Integrated quantum photonics uses photonic integrated circuits (QPICs) to control photonic quantum states for applications in quantum technologies. As such, QPICs will provide a promising approach to the miniaturisation and scaling up of optical quantum circuits.

Our focus has been on addressing the challenge of coupling optical signals at the I/O ports of the QPICs. One of the potentially viable technologies to address this challenge is the Metallic PIC Connectors (MPCs). MPCs are stamped components with micro mirrors that redirect your light beams, focus (or expand) your light beams or reshape the mode field. They are stamped with sub-micron tolerances which is sufficient for single-mode optics. The MPCs also has low coefficients of thermal expansion, suitable for conventional solder reflow application.