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Nat Photonics. 2014 May 1;8(5):375-380.

Coherent terabit communications with microresonator Kerr frequency combs.

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Institute of Photonics and Quantum Electronics (IPQ) and Institute of Microstructure Technology (IMT), Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), 76131 Karlsruhe, Germany.
Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL), 1015 Lausanne, Switzerland.
Menlo Systems GmbH, 82152 Martinsried, Germany.


Optical frequency combs have the potential to revolutionize terabit communications1. Generation of Kerr combs in nonlinear microresonators2 represents a particularly promising option3 enabling line spacings of tens of GHz. However, such combs may exhibit strong phase noise4-6, which has made high-speed data transmission impossible up to now. Here we demonstrate that systematic adjustment of pump conditions for low phase noise4,7-9 enables coherent data transmission with advanced modulation formats that pose stringent requirements on the spectral purity of the comb. In a first experiment, we encode a data stream of 392 Gbit/s on a Kerr comb using quadrature phase shift keying (QPSK) and 16-state quadrature amplitude modulation (16QAM). A second experiment demonstrates feedback-stabilization of the comb and transmission of a 1.44 Tbit/s data stream over up to 300 km. The results show that Kerr combs meet the highly demanding requirements of coherent communications and thus offer an attractive solution towards chip-scale terabit/s transceivers.

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