Signal Processing in Photonic Communications (SPPCom)

26 July 2021 – 30 July 2021

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.


Next Generation Transmission Systems

  • Advanced modulation schemes, forward error correction and coding
  • Channel characterization and equalization, space-division multiplexing (SDM)
  • Polarization, clock and carrier recovery
  • Performance monitoring and signal characterization
  • Flexible and sliceable transceivers
  • Real-time demonstration and field trials
  • Digital-to-analog and analog-to-digital converters
  • Demonstration of high capacity transmission 

Optical Signal Processing

  • Passive and active all-optical signal processing subsystems
  • Microwave photonic subsystems
  • Optical signal processing with photonic integrated circuits
  • Optical digital-to-analog and analog-to-digital converters
  • Optical buffering, bit-, and label-processing subsystems
  • Optical packet and burst switching subsystems
  • Performance monitoring and signal characterization based on optical techniques

Machine Learning (ML) in Optical Communication

  • Channel estimation and equalization
  • Signal characterization and performance monitoring
  • Component and device characterization
  • Physical layer and network side optimization
  • Optical signal processing for neural networks 
  • Photonic neural networks

Quantum Communications

  • QKD (signal processing, channel measurement, calibration, error correction and privacy amplification)
  • Quantum random number generation
  • Quantum digital signature
  • Quantum computing
  • Quantum neural networks

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

Access Networks - Passive Optical Networks (PON)

  • Advanced 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 



  • Shohei Beppu, KDDI R&D; LaboratoriesJapan
    Real-Time Mode-Division-Multiplexed Transmission with Coupled-Core Multicore Fibers
  • Camille-Sophie Brès, Ecole Polytechnique Federale de LausanneSwitzerland
    Versatile Soliton Microcombs for Radiofrequency Photonic Filters
  • Junho Cho, Nokia Bell LabsUnited States
    Probabilistic Constellation Shaping for Long-Haul Transmission Systems
  • Bill Corcoran, Monash UniversityAustralia
    Microcombs for Ultradense Optical Communications
  • Eleni Diamanti, CNRSFrance
    Secure Communications in Quantum Networks
  • Filipe Ferreira, University College LondonUnited Kingdom
    Digital Back Propagation in Spatial Multiplexing Systems
  • David Geisler, Massachusetts Inst of Tech Lincoln LabUnited States
    DSP Techniques for FSO Coherent Receiver Architectures
  • Fernando Guiomar, Instituto De TelecomunicacoesPortugal
    Digital Signal Processing for Subcarrier-Multiplexing Systems
  • Ravikiran Kakarla, University of SouthamptonUnited Kingdom
    Power Efficient Optical Communication Employing Phase-sensitive Pre-amplified Receiver
  • Fotini Karinou, Microsoft Research LtdUnited Kingdom
    Toward Flat Datacenter Networks enabled by sub-Nanosecond Optical Switching
  • Gabriele Liga, Eindhoven University of Technology (TUe)Netherlands
    A Novel Analytical Model for Nonlinear Interference Power Induced by Dual-polarization 4D Modulation Formats
  • David Moss, Swinburne University of TechnologyAustralia
    Photonic Convolutional Accelerator and Neural Network in the Tera-OPs Regime Based on Soliton Crystal Kerr Microcombs
  • Periklis Petropoulos, University of SouthamptonUnited Kingdom
    Extending the Reach of O-band Transmission Using Bismuth-doped Fibre Amplifiers
  • Sebastian Stern, Ulm UniversityGermany
    Concatenated Non-Binary Coding with 4D Constellation Shaping for High-Throughput Fiber-Optic Communication
  • Sjoerd van der Heide, Eindhoven University of TechnologyNetherlands
    Real-time, Software-defined, GPU-based Optical Receiver
  • Siddharth Varughese, Georgia Institute of TechnologyUnited States
    Transforming the Digital Coherent Receiver into a Test and Measurement Equipment using Machine Learning




Plenary Session

Shanhui Fan

Stanford University

Synthetic Dimension: Topological Physics and Optical Computing

About the Speaker

Shanhui Fan is a Professor of Electrical Engineering, a Professor of Applied Physics (by courtesy), a Senior Fellow of the Precourt Institute for Energy, and the Director of the Edward L. Ginzton... 

Anna Fontcuberta i Morral

École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

New Materials and Structures for Photodetection

Some compound semiconductors such as GaAs and InGaAsP exhibit a high absorption coefficient in the photon energy of interest for solar energy conversion. The direct bandgap associated with strong tuneability of emission wavelength, renders compound semiocnductors the material of choice for optoelectronic applications. Their commercial potential in high production volume applications is reduced due to the scarcity (and thus high cost) of group III elements such as In and Ga. In this talk we present approaches to render the use this kind of materials sustainable: a strong reduction in material use through nanostructures and the replacement of III-V compounds by GeSn or Zn3P2 that contain much more abundant elements. We find nanostructures also provide a path to increase light collection and provide some instructions for optimal devices[1,2]. We explain how these materials can be fabricated with high crystal quality, opening the path for the creation of alternative and sustainable compound semiconductor solar cells [3-5].

[1] P. Krogstrup et al Nature Photon 7, 306 (2013)

[2] A. Dorodnyy et al IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Quantum Electronics 24, 1-13 (2018)

[3] S. Escobar Steinvall et al Nanoscale Horizons 5, 274-282 (2020)

[4] R. Paul et al, Crys. Growth. Des. 20, 3816–3825 (2020)

[5] S. Escobar Steinval et al. Nanoscale Adv. 3, 326 (2021)

About the Speaker

Anna Fontcuberta i Morral is Spanish physicist and materials scientist. Her research focuses on nanotechnology applied in the production of solar cells. She is a Full Professor at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne and the head of the Laboratory of Semiconductor Materials.

Son Thai Le

Nokia Bell Labs

Progress on Optical Single-sideband Transmission

There are only two modulation schemes which have been commercially deployed in fiber optical communications, namely the intensity modulation (IM) and the dual-polarization Quadrature Amplitude Modulation (QAM) schemes. These two modulation schemes, however, are very different in term of spectral efficiency, implementation’s complexity, transmission performance and reliability. Compared to the IM scheme, single sideband (SSB) modulation scheme can offer enhanced transmission performance and spectral efficiency. While SSB scheme has lower spectral efficiency than dual-polarization QAM scheme, it can provide additional functionalities, lower complexity and higher reliability. Because of these unique features, SSB modulation can be a suitable modulation format for several emerging applications such as dispersion tolerant DWDM regional and access networks, data center interconnect, optical network monitoring and 5G mobile fronthaul. In this talk, we will review the recent progress of optical SSB modulation for these applications and discuss its potential for commercialization in the near future.

About the Speaker

Son Thai Le is an optical transmission systems researcher at Nokia Bell Labs, Murray Hill, NJ, USA. He obtained his PhD in January 2016 from Aston University, UK. After that he joined the Digital Signal Processing department at Nokia Bell Labs in Stuttgart Germany. From May 2019, Son Thai Le has been with Nokia Bell Labs in NJ, USA. Son Thai Le has demonstrated many transmission records in reach, capacity and spectral efficiency of Nonlinear Frequency Division Multiplexed and short-reach direct detection systems. His current research interests include optical single-sideband modulation, short-reach direct detection and new signaling and architecture for 5G mobile fronthaul. In 2018, Son Thai Le was awarded as “Innovator under 35 Europe” and “Innovator of the year (Germany)” by MIT Technology Review for his contributions in fiber optical communications. He was the recipient of the “Best Paper Award” prizes at the German Information Technology Association (ITG) in 2018 and at NICS in 2019.

Keynote Speaker: Eli Yablonovitch

University of California, Berkeley

Light Trapping in Perspective; Not Just for Current, it Boosts Voltage Too

Almost all commercial solar panels use Light Trapping which increases the internal optical path length by 4(n squared), increasing the current, where n is refractive index.  In spite of numerous ingenious attempts, that classical enhancement factor has not been superseded.  It is sometimes over-looked that operating point Voltage also increases, by (kT/q)ln{4(n squared)}~100mVolts.

About the Speaker

Eli Yablonovitch is Director of the NSF Center for Energy Efficient Electronics Science (E3S), a multi-University Center headquartered at Berkeley. Yablonovitch introduced the idea that strained semiconductor lasers could have superior performance due to reduced effective mass (holes). With almost every human interaction with the internet, optical telecommunication occurs by strained semiconductor lasers. He is regarded as a Father of the Photonic BandGap concept, and he coined the term "Photonic Crystal". The geometrical structure of the first experimentally realized Photonic bandgap, is sometimes called “Yablonovite”. He was elected to NAE, NAS, NAI, AmAcArSci, and as Foreign Member, UK Royal


Special Events

Symposium: Forty Years of Light Management

Forty years ago, in December 1981, Eli Yablonovitch submitted his seminal paper on “Statistical Ray Optics,” which was one of the first papers investigating light management for solar cells from a fundamental physics perspective.

Light management has mainly been performed with antireflective coatings and textures, which enhance the average light path and hence, absorption in the solar cells. In the last twenty years highly innovative concepts were also investigated, such as (quasi)periodic structures, plasmonic nanostructures, Bragg reflectors, and photonic up- and downconversion. On the other hand, state-of-the-art silicon solar cells have almost perfect light trapping with external quantum efficiencies close to 100% for a broad wavelength range using only conventional light trapping techniques.

With this symposium, we aim to bring together leading experts in the field representing all the light management concepts investigated during the past forty years. We will critically review different light trapping techniques developed in the past decades and discuss, how the field may and should develop further.

Bioinspired Optics: From Fundamental Biology to Tools and Applications

NOMA Symposium outline:

The thematic focus of this symposium will be on the interdisciplinary area of bioinspired optics: specifically, understanding nature’s optical design principles and leveraging them for the development of novel optical tools. The talks will cover various approaches in biomolecular engineering and nanofabrication methodologies, which strive to emulate some of the unique light-manipulating capabilities of living systems, as well as the implementation of new optical characterization strategies. The symposium aims to encourage interdisciplinary discussion, with the simultaneous hope of identifying new research opportunities in bioinspired optics and photonics, advancing fundamental biological understanding, and accelerating next-generation optical tool development. Through our cross-disciplinary focus, we are striving to cultivate a cohesive and inclusive community of scientists at all career stages and from across all demographic groups.

Symposia Chairs: Woei Ming Steve Lee, Australian National University, Alon Gorodetsky, University of California Irvine

Keynote: Roger Hanlon The Octopus as Tech: Exploring the biology and technological potential of nature’s master of color change Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Hole, USA

Session 1 – Bio-inspired systems

  1. Sonke Johnsen, "The diverse structures underlying ultrablack coloration in tropical butterflies and deep-sea fish" Duke University, USA
  2. Dan Morse “Bioinspired biophotonics” University of California, Santa Barbara, USA
  3. Silvia Vignolini, “Biomimetic colour engineering form nature to applications” University of Cambridge, UK
  4. Thomas Cronin, “Biological Optics:  Evolutionary Inventiveness in Light Control  University of Maryland, Baltimore County, USA

Session 2 – Bio-inspired tools

  1. Viktor Gruev, “Bioinspired Polarization and Multispectral Imagers for Image Guided Cancer Surgery and Underwater Geolocalization”, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, USA
  2. Francesca Palombo, “Optical measurement of mechanical and chemical properties of biomaterials and tissues” University of Exeter, UK
  3. Mathias Kolle, “Biological growth and optical manufacture of structurally-colored materials” Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA

Tutorial:  Optoelectronic Neural Interfaces - Fundamentals and Applications

Speaker: Sedat Nizamoglu, Koc University, Turkey