Project Details


Our planet is criss-crossed with optical fibres that influence almost every aspect our lives in the 21st century. However, despite the great advances in optical fibre communications technologies that have occurred in the past 20 years, we have already almost run out of data capacity. With more of the world online, and the "Internet of Things" predicted to connect up to a trillion devices in the next 20 years, we need to find better ways of overcoming fundamental limits in how much data we can send. Also looming on the horizon are new technologies that may use optical fibre telecommunication networks, such as quantum optics technologies, sending, for example, completely secure data using single photons. However, sending many of these photons but keeping each one separate is a major challenge.

In answer to these new technologies, it has been suggested that sending information via a microstructured fibre may offer solutions to the challenges above. Microtructured fibres are rather like a stick of Brighton rock with a pattern running through. The simplest of these may be several cores running in parallel but optically isolated, whilst more complex designs involve controlled light leakage between the cores, or indeed a honeycomb structure with light travelling in the air. Recent ideas propose sending a pattern of light (either a light intensity pattern or a pattern of polarization) through the microstructured fibre with complex changes in the pattern containing encoded information.
Alternative titleSpatially encoded telecoms and quantum technologies using spin-enabled all-optical switching
Effective start/end date29/06/1528/12/18



Oulton, R.


Project: Research