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Ultra-high-density spatial division multiplexing with a few-mode multicore fibre

Nature Photonics volume 8, pages 865870 (2014) | Download Citation


Single-mode fibres with low loss and a large transmission bandwidth are a key enabler for long-haul high-speed optical communication and form the backbone of our information-driven society. However, we are on the verge of reaching the fundamental limit of single-mode fibre transmission capacity. Therefore, a new means to increase the transmission capacity of optical fibre is essential to avoid a capacity crunch. Here, by employing few-mode multicore fibre, compact three-dimensional waveguide multiplexers and energy-efficient frequency-domain multiple-input multiple-output equalization, we demonstrate the viability of spatial multiplexing to reach a data rate of 5.1 Tbit s−1 carrier−1 (net 4 Tbit s−1 carrier−1) on a single wavelength over a single fibre. Furthermore, by combining this approach with wavelength division multiplexing with 50 wavelength carriers on a dense 50 GHz grid, a gross transmission throughput of 255 Tbit s−1 (net 200 Tbit s−1) over a 1 km fibre link is achieved.

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The authors acknowledge partial funding from the European Union Framework 7 MODEGAP project (grant agreement no. 258033). This research was also partially supported by the National Basic Research Programme of China (973; project #2014CB340100). C.M.O. acknowledges funding from the South Korean IT R&D programme of MKE/KIAT (2010-TD-200408-001). E.A.L. acknowledges the Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (CONACyT). The authors thank A. Amezcua Correa and P. Sillard of Prysmian Group and N. Psaila of Optoscribe for discussions.

Author information


  1. COBRA Research Institute, Department of Electrical Engineering, Eindhoven University of Technology, Den Dolech 2, PO Box 513, 5600 MB, Eindhoven, The Netherlands

    • R. G. H. van Uden
    • , F. M. Huijskens
    • , H. de Waardt
    • , A. M. J. Koonen
    •  & C. M. Okonkwo
  2. CREOL, The College of Optics and Photonics, University of Central Florida, PO Box 162700, Orlando, Florida 32816-2700, USA

    • R. Amezcua Correa
    • , E. Antonio Lopez
    • , C. Xia
    • , G. Li
    •  & A. Schülzgen
  3. College of Precision Instrument and Opto-Electronic Engineering, Tianjin University, Tianjin 300072, China

    • G. Li


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R.G.H.v.U. and C.M.O. developed the concept and conducted the transmission experiments. R.A.C., A.S. and G.L. conceived the FM-MCF concept. R.A.C., E.A.L. and A.S. designed and fabricated the hole-assisted FM-MCF. C.X. modelled the fibre. R.G.H.v.U., C.M.O. and F.M.H. designed and characterized the 3D (de)multiplexer. R.G.H.v.U. developed the DSP algorithms. R.G.H.v.U. and C.M.O. designed and verified the TDM-SDM receiver concept. C.M.O., H.d.W. and A.M.J.K. provided overall leadership across all aspects of the work. C.M.O., R.G.H.v.U. and R.A.C. wrote the manuscript.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to R. G. H. van Uden or R. Amezcua Correa or C. M. Okonkwo.

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