Abstract

The Internet today transmits hundreds of terabits per second, consumes 9% of all electricity worldwide and grows by 20–30% per year1,2. To support capacity demand, massively parallel communication links are installed, not scaling favourably concerning energy consumption. A single frequency comb source may substitute many parallel lasers and improve system energy-efficiency3,4. We present a frequency comb realized by a non-resonant aluminium-gallium-arsenide-on-insulator (AlGaAsOI) nanowaveguide with 66% pump-to-comb conversion efficiency, which is significantly higher than state-of-the-art resonant comb sources. This enables unprecedented high data-rate transmission for chip-based sources, demonstrated using a single-mode 30-core fibre. We show that our frequency comb can carry 661 Tbit s–1 of data, equivalent to more than the total Internet traffic today. The comb is obtained by seeding the AlGaAsOI chip with 10-GHz picosecond pulses at a low pump power (85 mW), and this scheme is robust to temperature changes, is energy efficient and facilitates future integration with on-chip lasers or amplifiers5,6.

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Acknowledgements

This work was funded by the Silicon Photonics for Optical Communications (SPOC) research center of excellence (DNRF123), the Nanophotonics for Terabit Communications (NATEC) Villum center of excellence and the European Union–Japan coordinated R&D project on “Scalable And Flexible optical Architecture for Reconfigurable Infrastructure (SAFARI)” commissioned by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC), Japan and the European Commission Horizon 2020. H.H. acknowledges P.-Y. Bony for help with the linewidth measurement.

Author information

Author notes

  1. These authors contributed equally: Hao Hu, Francesco Da Ros, Minhao Pu.

Affiliations

  1. DTU Fotonik, Technical University of Denmark, Lyngby, Denmark

    • Hao Hu
    • , Francesco Da Ros
    • , Minhao Pu
    • , Feihong Ye
    • , Kasper Ingerslev
    • , Edson Porto da Silva
    • , Md. Nooruzzaman
    • , Luisa Ottaviano
    • , Elizaveta Semenova
    • , Pengyu Guan
    • , Darko Zibar
    • , Michael Galili
    • , Kresten Yvind
    • , Toshio Morioka
    •  & Leif K. Oxenløwe
  2. Advanced Technology Laboratory, Fujikura Ltd., Sakura, Chiba, Japan

    • Yoshimichi Amma
    •  & Yusuke Sasaki
  3. NTT Network Innovation Laboratories, NTT Corporation, Hikarinooka, Yokosuka-shi, Kanagawa, Japan

    • Takayuki Mizuno
    •  & Yutaka Miyamoto

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Contributions

H.H. conceived and designed the experiments. F.D.R. and E.P.d.S. conducted digital signal processing for the transmitted data. M.P. designed the AlGaAs device. H.H., F.D.R., F.Y., K.I. and M.N performed the transmission experiment. H.H., F.D.R and M.P. analysed the data. M.P., L.O., E.S. and K.Y. fabricated the AlGaAs device. H.H. and M.P. characterized the AlGaAs device. F.Y., Y.A., Y.S. and T.Mi. designed the multicore fibre. Y.A. and Y.S. fabricated the multicore fibre. T.Mi., Y.M., P.G., D.Z., M.G., L.K.O. and T.Mo. contributed to the experiment. H.H. and L.K.O. wrote the manuscript and all the co-authors contributed to the writing. Y.M., K.Y., T.Mo. and L.K.O. supervised the projects.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Hao Hu.

Supplementary information

  1. Supplementary Information

    Additional theoretical and experimental results.

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/s41566-018-0205-5