Signal Processing in Photonic Communications

02 July 2018 – 05 July 2018 ETH Zurich, Zürich, Zurich Switzerland

SPPCom covers the state-of-the-art advances in digital and analog (electronic and optical) signal processing techniques for all of these applications, to address the ever-increasing capacity demand, reduce cost per bit, and enable future photonic communication services. SPPCom brings together researchers and engineers from various areas to share their knowledge, cutting-edge research and visions.

The scope of this meeting includes the following five major categories: 1) digital and electronic signal processing, 2) optical signal processing, 3) radio-over-fiber and free space optical communication, 4) passive optical networks (PON), and 5) applications of machine learning (ML) in optical communication.


Digital and electronic signal processing

  • Spectrally efficient modulation formats in coherent systems

  • Advanced modulation schemes for direct detection systems

  • Channel characterization and equalization

  • Polarization, clock and carrier recovery

  • Forward error correction

  • Implementation of distribution matchers for constellation shaping

  • Orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing (OFDM)

  • Flexible and sliceable transceivers

  • Performance monitoring and signal characterization

  • Digital-to-analog and analog-to-digital converters

  • Real-time demonstration and field trials of high-speed electronic circuits and subsystems

  • Demonstration of high capacity transmission

  • Subsystems and digital signal processing for data center interconnects (DCI)

  • Subsystems and digital signal processing for space-division multiplexing (SDM)

Optical signal processing

  • Passive all-optical signal processing subsystems

  • Active all-optical signal processing subsystems

  • Microwave photonic subsystems

  • Optical signal processing with photonic integrated circuits

  • Optical buffering, bit-, and label-processing subsystems

  • Optical packet and burst switching subsystems

  • Performance monitoring and signal characterization based on optical techniques

Radio-over-fiber and free space optical communication

  • Digital, electronic and optical subsystems

  • Optical-wireless integration and multi-technology converged transmission systems

  • Visible light communication systems

  • Fronthaul systems based on analog radio signals

  • Ground-to-satellite/satellite-to-ground and inter-satellite optical communication

Passive optical networks (PON)

  • Future PON architectures (WDM-PON, TWDM-PON, OFDMA-PON, etc.)

  • Digital, electronic and optical processing for PON systems

  • Signal processing for optical backhaul/fronthaul networks

  • Signal processing for long-reach broadband access networks

Applications of machine learning (ML)in optical communication

  • Applications of ML to channel estimation and equalization

  • Applications of ML to signal characterization and performance monitoring

  • Applications of ML to component and device characterization

  • Applications of ML to physical layer and network side optimization



  • Polina Bayvel, University College LondonUnited Kingdom 
    SSBI Mitigation Single-Sideband Transmission
  • Jin-Xing Cai, TE SubComUnited States 
    Advanced Digital Technologies to Postpone the Capacity Crunch
  • Frank Chang, Inphi CorporationUnited States 
    100/400G Technology for Cloud Data Centers
  • Nicolas Gisin, Universite de GeneveSwitzerland 
    Quantum Communications
  • Thang Hoang, McGill UniversityCanada 
    Direct Detection Optical Transmission Systems Employing Stokes Vector Kramers Kronig Transceivers
  • Fanny Jardel, Nokia Bell LabsFrance 
    Nonuniform DAC Design for Combined Geometrically and Probabilistically Shaped Circular QAM
  • Robert Killey, University College LondonUnited Kingdom 
    Transmission Schemes for Future Access Networks
  • Toshiaki Koike-Akino, Mitsubishi Electric Research LabsUnited States 
    Polar Coding for Multi-Level Modulation
  • Per Larsson-Edefors, Chalmers Tekniska HogskolaSweden 
    Implementation Challenges for Energy Efficient Real-Time Processing and Error Correction Algorithms in Optical Communication Systems
  • Alan Pak Tao Lau, Hong Kong Polytechnic UniversityHong Kong 
    Application of Machine Learning Techniques in Fiber-Optic Communication Systems
  • Son Le, Nokia Bell LabsGermany 
    Combating the Kerr-Nonlinearity Limit with Nonlinear Signal Multiplexing
  • Henri Lezec, National Inst of Standards & TechnologyUnited States 
    Revisiting the Photon-Drag Effect in Thin Metal Films
  • Zhaohui Li, Sun Yat-Sen UniversityChina 
    Optical SEFDM System: Bandwidth Saving Using Non-orthogonal Sub-carriers
  • Zhe Li, Finisar CorporationUnited States 
    DSP for Single-sideband Direct-detection Systems
  • Robert Maher, Infinera CorporationUnited States 
    Signal Processing for High-Baudrate Transmission: Challenges and Opportunities
  • Jeffery Maki, Juniper Networks Inc.United States 
    Cloud Optics - IEEE 802.3 Ethernet, OIF, and MSA Defined Optical Specifications in Data-center Aligned Form Factors
  • Darli Mello, UnicampBrazil 
    Interplay of Probabilistic Shaping and the Unsupervised Blind Phase Search Algorithm
  • Bert Offrein, IBM Research GmbHSwitzerland 
    Optical Signal Processing for Neural Networks
  • Peter Ossieur, Ghent University, INTECBelgium 
    ASIC Implementation Challenges for Next Generation Access Networks
  • Xiaodan Pang, KTH Royal Institute of TechnologySweden 
    Long-wavelength VCSEL-based High-speed SDM Interconnects Enabled by Low-complexity Signal Processing Techniques
  • Sebastian Randel, Karlsruher Institut für TechnologieGermany 
    DSP for Ultra-high Baud Rate Direct Detection Systems
  • Kohki Shibahara, NTT Network Innovation LaboratoriesJapan 
    Interference Cancelling Techniques for Long-Haul MIMO-SDM Transmission
  • Ripalta Stabile, Technische Universiteit EindhovenNetherlands 
    Optical Signal Processing in InP Photonic Integrated Circuits
  • Ming Tang, Huazhong Univ of Science and TechnologyChina 
    Time-frequency Signal Processing Based on Fractional Fourier Transform for Optical Communications
  • Takaya Yamazato, Nagoya UniversityJapan 
    Image Sensor Communications for Future ITS
  • Fan Zhang, Peking UniversityChina 
    High-speed Optical Transmission with Single-side Band Modulation



  • Chigo Okonkwo, Technische Universiteit Eindhoven, Netherlands , Chair
  • Timo Pfau, Acacia Communications, Inc., United States , Chair
  • Xi Chen, Nokia Bell Labs, United States , Program Chair
  • Qunbi Zhuge, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Canada , Program Chair
  • Benedikt Baeuerle, ETH Zurich, Switzerland
  • Di Che, The University of Melbourne, Australia
  • Hany Elgala, State University of New York at Albany
  • Tobias Fehenberger, Technical University of Munich, Germany
  • Neil Gonzalez, National University of Colombia, Colombia
  • David Hillerkuss, Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, Germany
  • Koji Igarashi, Osaka University, Japan
  • Danish Rafique, ADVA Optical Networking, Germany
  • Jacklyn Reis, Idea! Electronic Systems, Brazil
  • Naoki Suzuki, Mitsubishi Electric Corporation, Japan
  • Henk Wymeersch, Chalmers Tekniska Hogskola, Sweden
  • Lilin Yi, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China
  • Yang Yue, Juniper Networks, United States


Plenary Session

Raman Kashyap

Polytechnique Montréal, Canada

State of the Art Ultra-long FBGs for Linear and Nonlinear Applications: Challenges and Opportunities

For four decades, fiber Bragg grating (FBG) have delivered outstanding performance for applications in many fields of engineering and science, including sensing, lasers, dispersion management, and filters. However, most FBGs for these applications have been confined to lengths of less than 100mm. Recent developments have led to a demand for longer gratings (~meter length) in applications such as Raman and Brillouin distributed feedback FBG lasers. Until recently, controlling the spatial characteristics of the FBG with a precision necessary for these applications has been difficult to achieve, since small errors accumulate leading to unpredictable and unrepeatable characteristics. These errors make it impossible to utilise long FBGs for linear and nonlinear applications routinely. By undertaking a step by step approach to understand the limitations of not only the technology of FBG inscription, but surprisingly, also from the uniformity of the optical fiber has led to near perfect ultra-long gratings. Although challenges remain, these advances have allowed the fabrication of single frequency fiber Raman and Brillouin DFB lasers with outstanding performance, also opening the doors to other nonlinear optical applications.

About the Speaker

Raman Kashyap is a Professor at Polytechnique Montreal with a dual appointment in the Departments of Engineering Physics and Electronics Engineering, a holder of a Canada Research Chair in Future Photonics Systems since 2003, and the head of the FABULAS Laboratory. He was previously the Head of a photonics company in Montreal, Corvis Canada Inc. At BT Research Laboratories in the UK for 25 years, he researched optical devices and applications in photonics, and discovered the optical "fiber fuse". He was the first to demonstrate how photonics could be integrated into cell-phones in 2014 (Making smart phones smarter with photonics, Optics Express), and according to OSA, with a potential media coverage of 19 million. He is the author of the first book on Fiber Bragg Gratings published in 1999, 550 technical papers and 44 patents.

His current research interests are focused on laser induced cooling, nonlinear optics, sensors, fiber Raman DFB lasers, Stimulated Brillouin scattering, Plasmonics, integrating photonics into cell-phones, and perfecting ultra-long fiber gratings. He is a Fellow of the Academy of Sciences of the Royal Society of Canada, the Optical Society of America, the SPIE, the Engineering Institute of Canada, the Canadian Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Physics (UK).

Michal Lipson

Columbia University, USA

Next Generation Photonics based on 2D Materials

Two dimensional materials such as monolayer transition metal dichalcogenides (TMD) are expected to have large changes in their optical sheet conductivity by controlling their carrier densities. We demonstrate a platform for waveguide-integrated phase modulators in the near-infrared regime based on Tungsten disulphide (WS2) gating.

About the Speaker

Professor Michal Lipson joined the Electrical Engineering faculty at Columbia University in July 2015. She completed her B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in Physics at the Technion in 1998 followed by a Postdoctoral position at MIT in the Materials Science Department until 2001. In 2001 she joined the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Cornell University. She was named Cornell Given Foundation Professor of Engineering in 2013. Lipson was one of the main pioneers in the field of silicon photonics and is the inventor of several of the critical building blocks in the field including the GHz silicon modulator. She holds over 20 patents and is the author of over 200 technical papers. Professor Lipson's honors and awards include the MacArthur Fellow, Blavatnik Award, IBM Faculty Award, and the NSF Early Career Award. She is a fellow of OSA and IEEE. Since 2014 she has been named by Thomson Reuters as a top 1% highly cited researcher in the field of Physics.

Lukas Novotny

ETH Zurich, Switzerland

Levitated Optomechanics

Optically levitated nanoparticles in ultrahigh vacuum exhibit very low damping and constitute a highly sensitive optomechanical system. By using active parametric feedback the particle's center-of-mass temperature can be cooled below 100 microKelvin, limitedby photon recoil heating.

About the Speaker

Lukas Novotny is a Professor of Photonics at ETH Zürich. His research is focused on understanding and controlling light-matter interactions on the nanometer scale. Novotny did his PhD at ETH Zürich and from 1996-99 he was a postdoctoral fellow at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, working on new schemes of single molecule detection and nonlinear spectroscopy. In 1999 he joined the faculty of the Institute of Optics where he started one of the first research programs with focus on nano-optics. Novotny is the author of the textbook 'Principles of Nano-Optics', which is currently in its second edition. He is a Fellow of the Optical Society of America and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Martin Schell

Heinrich Hertz Institute, Germany

Photonic Integration for Communication and Sensing-Economic Success and Failure

Photonic Integration has the chance to revolutionize photonics probably as much as electronic integration has done since the 1970ies. Prior failures and successes will be analyzed, and current technologies and developments will be overviewed.

About the Speaker

Martin Schell is professor for Optic and Optoelectronic Integration at Technical University Berlin, and director of the Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute HHI, Berlin. His research interest is photonic integration for communication and sensing.

Martin Schell joined HHI in 2005. From 2000 to 2005, he was first product line manager, then head of production and procurement at Infineon Fiber Optics. From 1996 to 2000 he was management consultant at The Boston Consulting Group. Before that, he spent one year as a visiting researcher at The Tokyo University, Japan. He received the Dipl.-Phys. degree from the RWTH Aachen in 1989, and the Dr. rer. nat. degree from the Technical University Berlin in 1993.

Martin Schell is a board member of EPIC (European Photonics Industry Consortium), speaker of the board of OptecBB (Competence Network Optical Technologies Berlin/Brandenburg), member of the Photonics21 Board of Stakeholders, and member of the Public Policy Committee of The Optical Society.

Linda Thomas

Naval Research Laboratory, USA

Progress and Challenges in Free-space Optical Networks

Free space optics (FSO) technology allows access to currently unregulated spectrum; and provides an augmentation to RF wireless in congested areas.  In order to more broadly adopt the technology, FSO must be implemented as a networked wireless system, versus simply a point-to-point link.

About the Speaker

Linda Thomas is a Senior Research Engineer in the Electro-optics Technology Section, Code 8123, of the Naval Center for Space Technology, at the U. S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) in Washington, D.C. She has been working at NRL since 2004. Her current research interests are free-space laser communications, hybrid optical and RF communications networks, satellite laser ranging, and single photon detectors.

Dr. Thomas received her Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Duke University, Durham, NC, and has a Master’s degree and Doctorate in the field of Electrical Engineering from the University of Maryland, College Park. She was an Associate Editor of the IEEE Journal of Lightwave Technology from 2014-2016, and prior Conference Chair of the SPIE Conference on Atmospheric Propagation.

Peter Winzer

Nokia Bell Labs, USA

Scaling Optical Networks into the Next Decade and Beyond

Informed by long-term historic traffic and technology scaling, we extrapolate the evolution of optical networking technologies into the next decade and beyond, highlighting the challenges that research will have to address.

About the Speaker

Peter J. Winzer received his Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the Vienna University of Technology, Austria, in 1998. Supported by the European Space Agency (ESA), he investigated photon-starved space-borne Doppler lidar and laser communications using high-sensitivity digital modulation and detection. At Bell Labs since 2000, he has focused on various aspects of high-bandwidth fiber-optic communication systems, including Raman amplification, advanced optical modulation formats, multiplexing schemes, and receiver concepts, digital signal processing and coding, as well as on robust network architectures for dynamic data services. He contributed to several high-speed and high-capacity optical transmission records with interface rates from 10 Gb/s to 1 Tb/s, including the first 100G and the first 400G electronically multiplexed optical transmission systems and the first field trial of live 100G video traffic over an existing carrier network. Since 2008 he has been investigating and internationally promoting spatial multiplexing as a promising option to scale optical transport systems beyond the capacity limits of single-mode fiber. He currently heads the Optical Transmission Systems and Networks Research Department at Bell Labs in Holmdel, NJ. He has widely published and patented and is actively involved in technical and organizational tasks with the IEEE Photonics Society and The Optical Society (OSA). Dr. Winzer is a Clarivate Highly Cited Researcher, the only one from industry in the Engineering category in 2015, a Bell Labs Fellow, a Fellow of the IEEE and the OSA, and an elected member of the US National Academy of Engineering. He received a Thomas Alva Edison Patent Award in 2017 and is the recipient of the 2018 John Tyndall Award.


Special Events

Special Symposium on Optical Fiber Sensing Technologies for Monitoring in Harsh Environment I and II

Monday, 2 July; 14:00-18:30
Location: Room D1.1

Organizers: Guillaume Laffont, CEA, France; Matthieu Lancry, Université Paris Sud, France
Supported by: CEA, Micron Optics, and IFOS

This symposium reports on the latest research and development related to the use of fiber optic sensing technologies to perform monitoring under harsh environments. These elements can be low or high temperatures (typically well outside of standards defined for telecommunications), high strain, high pressures, high voltage, high magnetic fields, vibrations, dust, explosive environments, and aggressive chemical and biological environments. The program features 3 invited speakers and 11 contributed papers. 

Invited speakers:
Richard J. Black, Intelligent Fiber Optic Systems, USA
Robert B. Walker, National Research Council Canada, Canada
Eric Lindner, FBGS Technologies GmbH, Germany

Congress Reception

Monday, 2 July; 18:30 - 20:00
Location: Polyterressa (Rain Location: Main Hall)

Enjoy food and drinks with your network and colleagues during the Congress Reception.

BGPP Industry Session

Tuesday, 3 July; 11:30 - 12:30
Location: Room D1.1

BGPP 2018 continues the long-standing tradition of addressing fundamental and technical issues of immediate and long-term application of fiber Bragg gratings and other devices fabricated by laser-matter-interaction. While fundamental aspects are covered by invited and contributed proceeding papers, the technical aspect is addressed in the Industry Session.

Speakers from 6 different companies have been invited to make a 10 min presentation to showcase their advanced products, to explain the underlying technology and working principle. Company professionals that are also presenting scientific work during the conference have been favored. Therefore, the scientists in the auditorium working in closely related areas may get easily into contact with the company professionals for various reasons. Scientist may see how applied research translates into new products and applications. Junior scientists may be stimulated to create tomorrow a start-up in the field or join a company. In this way BGPP encourages greater interaction between the industry professionals and scientist.

Student & Early Career Professional Development & Networking Lunch and Learn

Tuesday, 3 July; 12:30 - 13:30
Location: Room F33.1

Join us for an interactive lunch and learn program focused on professional development within the Advanced Photonics Field. This program will engage students and early career professionals with the key leaders in the field who will share their professional development journey and provide useful tips to those who attend. Lunch will be provided.

Programs are open to OSA Members.

Congress Banquet on Lake Zurich (Separate Fee Required)

Tuesday, 3 July; 19:00 - 22:00
Location: Zurich Burkliplatz

Join your colleagues for a special evening boat banquet on Lake Zurich. After a welcome beverage and brief welcome, dine aboard the MS Panta Rhei and enjoy the picturesque shoreline of Lake Zurich with the Alps in the distance. An additional ticket is required for this event; purchase ticket within registration.

Special Symposium on Innovative Grating-components and Grating-configurations for Fiber Lasers I and II

Wednesday, 4 July; 14:00-18:30
Location: Room D1.1

Organizers: Martin Bernier, COPL, Canada; Morten Ibsen, ORC - University of Southampton, UK
Supported by: Teraxion,PhotoNova, Inc., ITF Technologies, and Shenzhen JPT Opto-electronics

This symposium reports on novel and innovative configurations of gratings, including fiber and volume Bragg gratings, in conjunction with fiber lasers to further their performance and facilitate new application areas. It also covers innovative gratings and grating configurations from their design and optimization, through to their fabrication and application. The program features 4 invited speakers and 8 contributed papers.

Invited Speakers:
Real Vallee,  Universite Laval, Canada
Alex Fuerbach,  Macquarie University, Australia
Alexei L. Glebov, OptiGrate Corp., USA
Paul Westbrook, OFS Laboratories, USA

Lab Automation Hackathon

Wednesday, 4 July; 19:00 - 21:00
Location: Room F33.1
Organizers: Nick Fontaine and Roland Ryf, Nokia Bell Labs, USA

Have you ever wanted to automate your lab, get better/quicker at processing your data, make beautiful plots and figures and at the same time meet a bunch of cool scientists?  Well, you are in luck! We have 8 demos for various common lab automation tasks, ranging from simple remote control of optical instrumentation, data processing and photonic design simulations, all the way to full lab automation.  Students, professionals of all levels are welcome to learn and share their secret tips and tricks developed over the years.

Lab automation is becoming more and more important as lab equipment is growing more capable and optical experiments more complex. Especially experiments performed over longer time periods or requiring the acquisition of massive amount of data can significantly benefit from automation and allows researchers to concentrate on the more fun part of the experimental work. Open source software, which is widely available, can offer significant advantages over standard commercial software in terms of flexibility, modularity and compatibility. Low-cost system-on-chip controller running Linux (like the Raspberry Pi for example) can provide local controls and interfaces for instrumentation and coordinated using a local area network using Python as rapid prototyping programming language. Python is fun to learn and useful for lab automation as it runs on almost any computer and the functionality can be easily extended based on a comprehensive set of modules with good support for scientific applications.

In this hackathon, we will provide 8 stations/demos, each staffed with a researcher experienced in lab automation, which will cover the following topics:
  • Installing python on your computer (beginners)
  • Introduction to the Python programming language (beginners)
  • Python programming environment and web based tools (beginners)
  • Plots and graphics in Python (beginners)
  • Instrumentation control in Python
  • Remote control and coordination of multiple computer for lab automation (advanced)
  • Data processing on multicore and GPU based systems (advanced)
  • Python software for photonic design
Bring a laptop to participate in the exercise. There will be plenty of time for mingling and discussion.

BGPP Reception at The Lion Pub (for BGPP-registered attendees only; RSVP required)

Wednesday, 4 July; 19:00-22:00
Location: The Lion Pub
Sponsored by: Shenzhen JPT Opto-electronics

Join fellow BGPP attendees and sponsors for a BGPP-only reception at The Lion Pub Zurich. After a welcome beverage and brief welcome, network and enjoy drinks and hot & cold appetizers in this British Pub atmosphere.