Optical Communications: Innovations and Applications Abound

15 September 2022, 11:30 - 14:00 - Eastern Daylight Time (UTC - 04:00)

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Optical communications has enjoyed tremendous impact over the past 50 years. Relatively soon after the concrete proposal of optical fiber communications was reported and the low-loss fiber was demonstrated, fiber-based communications dramatically impacted the way society transfers information. However, there are other key areas beyond fiber-based communications that were also envisioned ~50 years ago but are only recently emerging. Such emergence is due to enhanced capacity needs and critical innovations, including advances in photonic integrated circuits (PICs). This webinar will highlight various examples of the innovations and emerging applications of optical communications, including: 1. Free-space optical communications: As opposed to RF, optical links have high directionality and large bandwidth. There is great excitement in the recent emergence of deployed free-space optical links, be they through air or outer-space. Moreover, due to the extremely high losses of RF, even underwater links in the blue-green are gaining significant interest. Also to be discussed is capacity enhancement using multiplexing of multiple orthogonal beams. 2. Non-conventional wavelengths: Fiber systems are overwhelmingly in the near-IR, whereas free-space links can take advantage of a much wider frequency range, from THz to visible. Such systems may utilize: (a) native high-speed components, and/or (b) wavelength-band conversion of near-IR channels to other frequencies. 3. Optical signal processing (OSP): OSP has long held the promise of high-speed operation and the avoidance of inefficient optical-electrical-optical conversion. Although OSP deployment has been limited, advances in PICs, power efficiency and multi-wavelength operation may soon enable the emergence of OSP for high-performance functions.

About Our Speaker: Alan Willner, USC

Alan Willner, USCAlan Willner (Ph.D., Columbia) worked at AT&T Bell Labs and Bellcore, and is a Distinguished Professor and the Sample Chaired Professor in Engineering at USC. He received the following: Member US National Academy of Eng.; Int’l Fellow U.K. Royal Academy of Eng.; IEEE Eric Sumner Award; NSF Presidential Faculty Fellows Award from White House; IET JJ Thomson Medal; Fulbright, Guggenheim, and Packard Foundation Fellowships; Ellis Island Medal of Honor; Optica Forman Eng. Excellence Award; IEEE Photonics Society Eng. Achievement Award; SPIE President’s Award; Fellow National Academy of Inventors; Globecom Best Paper Award, and Eddy Best Technical Paper Award from Pennwell. He is a Fellow of AAAS, IEEE, Optica, and SPIE. He was co-chair of National Academies' Study on Optics and Photonics; president Optica; president IEEE Photonics Society; editor-in-chief of Optics Letters, Journal of Lightwave Technology, and IEEE JSTQE; CLEO general co-chair; and OFC steering/program committee member.