Current measurement technologies are mostly adapted to standard telecommunication and thus are not suited for characterisation of advanced optical fibres with different core and cladding dimensions and power range. Thus, new traceable and improved measurements and calibration methods are needed to enable photonic measurement technology to allow technological breakthroughs as well as commercialisation of sophisticated fibre optic components.

Optical communications, biophotonics, avionics, and automotive industries are examples of fields that will benefit from the improved measuring capabilities.

Planned work

Project objectives, results

The objectives of the project are:

  • To develop traceable online and offline metrology techniques for characterisation of advanced optical fibres and photonic components – the project will provide non-destructive and novel methods to measure dispersion and group velocities in optical fibres, measurement procedures for high power fibre optics and online techniques for dimensional measurement of optical fibres.
  • To develop metrology for improved traceability of fibre optic measuring instruments – the main goal is to develop a traceable measuring system for encircled angular flux, which is a key parameter allowing characterisation of modal distribution in multimode fibres and components. Artefacts will be developed for the calibration of the latest generation of high-resolution single-mode and multimode optical time-domain reflectometers (OTDR).
  • To develop metrology for terahertz transmission links – by developing traceable measurement standards and measurement procedures for key parameters (dynamic range, insertion loss, SNR, bit error ratio (BER) for various modulation formats, free spectral range and bandwidth) of THz transmission systems.
  • To establish the metrology tools for performance characterisation of polymer waveguides mounted on electronic circuit backplanes used in high-speed data links – the project will establish metrology for and contributes towards standardisation of key parameters, such as coupling loss, attenuation, crosstalk and BER, of short range interconnects. Novel fibre-to-chip couplers will be developed to overcome existing barriers in conventional technologies.
  • To engage with the European photonics industry and photonics equipment manufacturers

Impact on industrial and other user communities

The manufacturers of advanced optical fibres will benefit from the project through the availability of novel tools for high-level characterisation of dimensional and optical properties.

Developments in optical fibres and fibre connections, polymer waveguides, and THz interconnects enable more economic and faster data connections with optical Fibre-To-The-Home.  Manufacturers of microwave photonics components including THz communications equipment will benefit from the project by having the means and procedures for characterising their equipment performance.

The coupling components developed in this project will provide a flexible architecture for multi-port access to integrated optical devices. This is of relevance for manufacturers of integrated optical circuits, as well as for the production of nanoscale photonic systems with macroscopic fibre connectors. The establishment of hybrid planar-3D photonic systems will satisfy the need to move beyond traditional optical designs and provide possibilities to transfer knowledge from free-space optics to on-chip circuits. This will be important for the manufacturers of 3D lithography equipment.

Impact on relevant standards

This project will have an impact on the work of IEC standardisation groups together with metrology committees. It will provide advice for the updating of existing standards and contribute to new standards related to the calibration of fibre optics measuring instruments (IEC TC86, WG4) and to the functional performance of short range interconnects (IEC TC86/TC91, JWG9). The project will provide advice for the improvement of calibration techniques to CCPR task groups on fibre optics (TG6) and on OTDR length calibration (TG9).