Optical Transmission Systems based on the Nonlinear Fourier Transformation

Solitons are stable pulse shapes, which propagate linearly and maintain their shape despite the highly nonlinear fiber optical channel. A challenge in the use of these signal pulses in optical data transmission is to multiplex them with high efficiency.

One way to multiplex many solitons is the nonlinear Fourier transform (NFT). With the help of the NFT, signal spectra can be calculated which propagate linearly through a nonlinear channel. Thus, in perspective, it is possible to perform linear transmissions even in highly nonlinear regions with high signal power levels. The NFT decomposes a signal into a dispersive and a solitonic part. The dispersive part is similar to spectra of the conventional linear Fourier transform and dominates especially at low signal powers. As soon as the total power of a signal exceeds a certain limit, solitons arise. A disadvantage of solitons generated digitally by the NFT is their complex shape due to, for example, high electrical bandwidths or a poor peak-to-average power ratio.

In the course of this work, a scalable system architecture of a photonic integrated circuit based on a silicon chip was designed, which allows to multiplex several simple solitons tightly together to push the complex electrical generation of higher order solitons into the optical domain. This photonic integrated circuit was subsequently designed and fabricated by the Institute of Integrated Photonics at RWTH Aachen University. Using this novel system architecture and additional equalization concepts designed in this work, soliton transmissions with up to four channels could be successfully realized over more than 5000 km with a very high spectral efficiency of 0.5 b/s/Hz in the soliton range.



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