Optical fibre communication is the backbone of the internet. As essential core technologies are approaching their limits of size, speed and energy-efficiency, there is a need for new technologies that offer further scaling of data transmission capacity. Here we show that a single optical frequency-comb source based on a silicon nitride ring resonator supports data capacities in the petabit-per-second regime. We experimentally demonstrate transmission of 1.84 Pbit s–1 over a 37-core, 7.9-km-long fibre using 223 wavelength channels derived from a single microcomb ring resonator producing a stabilized dark-pulse Kerr frequency comb. We also present a theoretical analysis that indicates that a single, chip-scale light source should be able to support 100 Pbit s–1 in massively parallel space-and-wavelength multiplexed data transmission systems. Our findings could mark a shift in the design of future communication systems, targeting device-efficient transmitters and receivers.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution
Subscribe to Nature+
Get immediate online access to Nature and 55 other Nature journal
Subscribe to Journal
Get full journal access for 1 year
only $8.25 per issue
All prices are NET prices.
VAT will be added later in the checkout.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.
All prices are NET prices.
The algorithms used for the digital signal processing at the transmitter and the coherent receiver are standard and are outlined in detail in the Methods. MATLAB scripts can be provided by the corresponding authors on reasonable request.
Torres-Company, V. et al. Laser frequency combs for coherent optical communications. J. Light. Technol. 37, 1663–1670 (2019).
Jones, N. How to stop data centres from gobbling up the world’s electricity. Nature 561, 163–166 (2018).
Masanet, E., Shehabi, A., Lei, N., Smith, S. & Koomey, J. Recalibrating global data center energy-use estimates. Science 367, 984–986 (2020).
Winzer, P. J. Transmission System Capacity Scaling through Space-Division Multiplexing: A Techno-Economic Perspective Optical Fiber Telecommunications VII (Elsevier, 2019).
Andrae, A. & Edler, T. On global electricity usage of communication technology: trends to 2030. Challenges 6, 117–157 (2015).
Lundberg, L. et al. Frequency comb-based WDM transmission systems enabling joint signal processing. Appl. Sci. 8, 718 (2018).
Mazur, M., Schroder, J., Karlsson, M. & Andrekson, P. A. Joint superchannel digital signal processing for effective inter-channel interference cancellation. J. Light. Technol. 38, 5676–5684 (2020).
Temprana, E., Myslivets, E., Kuo, B. P.-P., Alic, N. & Radic, S. Transmitter-side digital back propagation with optical injection-locked frequency referenced carriers. J. Light. Technol. 34, 3544–3549 (2016).
Mazur, M. et al. High spectral efficiency coherent superchannel transmission with soliton microcombs. J. Light. Technol. 39, 4367–4373 (2021).
Lundberg, L. et al. Phase-coherent lightwave communications with frequency combs. Nat. Commun. 11, 201 (2020).
Puttnam, B. J. et al. 2.15 Pb/s transmission using a 22 core homogeneous single-mode multi-core fiber and wideband optical comb. In 2015 European Conference on Optical Communication (ECOC) (IEEE, 2015).
Rademacher, G. et al. 10.66 Peta-bit/s transmission over a 38-core-three-mode fiber. In Optical Fiber Communication Conference (OFC) 2020 Th3H.1 (OSA, 2020).
Marin-Palomo, P. et al. Microresonator-based solitons for massively parallel coherent optical communications. Nature 546, 274–279 (2017).
Corcoran, B. et al. Ultra-dense optical data transmission over standard fibre with a single chip source. Nat. Commun. 11, 2568 (2020).
Xue, X. et al. Mode-locked dark pulse Kerr combs in normal-dispersion microresonators. Nat. Photon. 9, 594–600 (2015).
Xu, X. et al. Broadband photonic RF channelizer with 92 channels based on a soliton crystal microcomb. J. Light. Technol. 38, 5116–5121 (2020).
Stern, B., Ji, X., Okawachi, Y., Gaeta, A. L. & Lipson, M. Battery-operated integrated frequency comb generator. Nature 562, 401–405 (2018).
Raja, A. S. et al. Electrically pumped photonic integrated soliton microcomb. Nat. Commun. 10, 680 (2019).
Liu, G. et al. A mode-locked quantum dash laser with an aggregate 5.376 Tbit/s PAM-4 transmission capacity. In 2020 Photonics North (IEEE, 2020).
Liu, S. et al. High-channel-count 20 GHz passively mode-locked quantum dot laser directly grown on Si with 4.1 Tbit/s transmission capacity. Optica 6, 128–134 (2019).
Zhang, M. et al. Broadband electro-optic frequency comb generation in a lithium niobate microring resonator. Nature 568, 373–377 (2019).
Hu, H. et al. Single-source chip-based frequency comb enabling extreme parallel data transmission. Nat. Photon. 12, 469–473 (2018).
Cole, D. C., Lamb, E. S., Del’Haye, P., Diddams, S. A. & Papp, S. B. Soliton crystals in Kerr resonators. Nat. Photon. 11, 671–676 (2017).
Xu, M. et al. High-performance coherent optical modulators based on thin-film lithium niobate platform. Nat. Commun. 11, 3911 (2020).
Ding, Y. et al. Reconfigurable SDM switching using novel silicon photonic integrated circuit. Sci Rep. 6, 39058 (2016).
Herr, T. et al. Temporal solitons in optical microresonators. Nat. Photon. 8, 145–152 (2014).
Li, Q. et al. Stably accessing octave-spanning microresonator frequency combs in the soliton regime. Optica 4, 193–203 (2017).
Pfeiffer, M. H. P. et al. Octave-spanning dissipative Kerr soliton frequency combs in Si3N4 microresonators. Optica 4, 684–691 (2017).
Xue, X., Wang, P. H., Xuan, Y., Qi, M. & Weiner, A. M. Microresonator Kerr frequency combs with high conversion efficiency. Laser Photon. Rev. 11, 1600276 (2017).
Helgason, Ó. B. et al. Superchannel engineering of microcombs for optical communications. J. Opt. Soc. Am. B 36, 2013–2022 (2019).
Gärtner, J. et al. Bandwidth and conversion efficiency analysis of dissipative Kerr soliton frequency combs based on bifurcation theory. Phys. Rev. A 100, 033819 (2019).
Fülöp, A. et al. High-order coherent communications using mode-locked dark-pulse Kerr combs from microresonators. Nat. Commun. 9, 1598 (2018).
Sasaki, Y., Takenaga, K., Aikawa, K., Miyamoto, Y. & Morioka, T. Single-mode 37-core fiber with a cladding diameter of 248 μm. In Optical Fiber Communication Conference (OFC) Th1H.2 (OSA, 2017).
Marin-Palomo, P. et al. Performance of chip-scale optical frequency comb generators in coherent WDM communications. Opt. Express 28, 12897–12910 (2020).
Hu, H. & Oxenløwe, L. K. Chip-based optical frequency combs for high-capacity optical communications. Nanophotonics 10, 1367–1385 (2021).
Shannon, C. E. Communication in the presence of noise. Proc. IRE 37, 10–21 (1949).
Mainframe Series for CoBrite MX Laser Contact Information (ID Photonics, 2021); https://www.id-photonics.com/images/stories/PDF/Data_sheet_CBMX_series.pdf
Kim, B. Y. et al. Turn-key, high-efficiency Kerr comb source. Opt. Lett. 44, 4475–4478 (2019).
Mukasa, K. 1,000-core fibers. In 2020 Opto-Electronics and Communications Conference (OECC) (IEEE, 2020).
Ye, Z., Twayana, K., Andrekson, P. A. & Torres-Company, V. High-Q Si3N4 microresonators based on a subtractive processing for Kerr nonlinear optics. Opt. Express 27, 35719–35727 (2019).
Parra-Rivas, P., Gomila, D., Knobloch, E., Coen, S. & Gelens, L. Origin and stability of dark pulse Kerr combs in normal dispersion resonators. Opt. Lett. 41, 2402–2405 (2016).
Del’haye, P., Papp, S. B. & Diddams, S. A. Hybrid electro-optically modulated microcombs. Phys. Rev. Lett. 109, 263901 (2012).
Joshi, C. et al. Thermally controlled comb generation and soliton modelocking in microresonators. Opt. Lett. 41, 2565–2568 (2016).
Yariv, A. Signal-to-noise considerations in fiber links with periodic or distributed optical amplification. Opt. Lett. 15, 1064–1066 (1990).
Liu, Y. et al. Investigation of mode interaction in optical microresonators for Kerr frequency Comb Generation. In CLEO: 2014 FW1D.2 (OSA, 2014).
Xue, X. et al. Normal-dispersion microcombs enabled by controllable mode interactions. Laser Photon. Rev. 9, L23–L28 (2015).
Helgason, Ó. B. et al. Dissipative solitons in photonic molecules. Nat. Photon. 15, 305–310 (2021).
Nazemosadat, E. et al. Switching dynamics of dark-pulse Kerr frequency comb states in optical microresonators. Phys. Rev. A 103, 013513 (2021).
Carmon, T., Yang, L. & Vahala, K. J. Dynamical thermal behavior and thermal self-stability of microcavities. Opt. Express 12, 4742–4750 (2004).
Böcherer, G., Steiner, F. & Schulte, P. Bandwidth efficient and rate-matched low-density parity-check coded modulation. IEEE Trans. Commun. 63, 4651–4665 (2015).
da Silva, E. P. et al. Experimental characterization of 10 × 8 GBd DP-1024QAM transmission with 8-bit DACs and intradyne detection. In 2018 European Conference on Optical Communication (ECOC) (IEEE, 2018).
Millar, D. S. et al. Design of a 1 Tb/s superchannel coherent receiver. J. Light. Technol. 34, 1453–1463 (2016).
Jørgensen, A.A et al. Data accompanying Petabit Per Second Data Transmission Using a Chip-scale Microcomb Ring Resonator Source v.1 (Zenodo, 2021); https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.6856557
This work by supported by the SPOC Centre (ref. DNRF123), the Swedish Research Council (grant no. 2016-06077, project iTRAN, VR-2020-00453 and VR-2015-00535), the ERC CoG (GA 771410), the H2020 Marie Skodowska Curie Innovative Training Network Microcomb (GA 812818), and the EU–Japan coordinated R&D project SAFARI supported by the MIC of Japan and EC Horizon 2020.
V.T.-C and O.B.H. are co-founders of Iloomina, a start-up company that offers prototyping services for silicon nitride.
Peer review information
Nature Photonics thanks Heng Zhou, Stojan Radic and the other, anonymous, reviewer(s) for their contribution to the peer review of this work.
Publisher’s note Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
About this article
Cite this article
Jørgensen, A.A., Kong, D., Henriksen, M.R. et al. Petabit-per-second data transmission using a chip-scale microcomb ring resonator source. Nat. Photon. 16, 798–802 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41566-022-01082-z