The areas covered in the PNT Lab, with as many area leaders, are:
Networks and Systems
- High-capacity Secure Optical Communication
- Optical Communication Theory and Techniques
- Photonic Networks Techniques
- Network Services
- Networks of Embedded Systems
- Microwave Photonics for Communication and Sensing
- Photonic Processing
HIGH-CAPACITY SECURE OPTICAL COMMUNICATION
Investigating solutions that increase the system capacity and security as a function of targeted application ranging from ultra-long haul to short reach connections. Several multiplexing techniques (polarization, wavelength, frequency, time, and space) are considered. Optical devices, sub-systems, and systems are designed, implemented and validated through laboratory characterization, measurements and field trials.
OPTICAL COMMUNICATION THEORY AND TECHNIQUES
Devising novel modulation/coding formats and equalization techniques for increasing bit-rates, achievable distances, and robustness to impairments in fiber-optic communication. Both linear and nonlinear regimes are considered, as well as long- and short-reach systems. Channel models based on the nonlinear Fourier transform are investigated with the aim of overcoming the nonlinear capacity crunch. Efficient original performance evaluation methods are available.
PHOTONIC NETWORKS TECHNIQUES
Tackling the integration between novel highly-programmable optical transmission techniques and the relevant control plane implementing flexible optical networks. For such networks the area is responsible of designing and demonstrating experimentally SDN control solutions, traffic engineering algorithms, reliability schemes and multi-layer networking (based e.g. on segment routing), resource orchestration.
Tackling a few aspects of the recent trends of network softwar-ization. The area studies algorithm and software implementation of control plane modules for integration of IT and network resources. The main topics of investigations are: cloud and network resource management in Data Centers, security in multi-domain transport networks, network operating systems over programmable and virtualized (SDN/NFV) infrastructures, non-telecom network management (e.g. electric vehicles fleets).
NETWORKS OF EMBEDDED SYSTEMS
Considering large scale distributed systems where heterogeneous embedded devices feature both custom embedded logic and ad-hoc communication capabilities. Focus is on single node and cooperative algorithms leveraging our expertise in computer vision and data aggregation techniques. Embedded devices are wireless and optical sensor nodes, RFIDs, vehicular and road-side equipment, vision devices, tablets and smart phones, also to integrate distributed sensing into digital platforms as part of a layered ICT stack. Digital solutions enable final-user applications in the domains of Intelligent Transport Systems and Smart Factories/Plants.
MICROWAVE PHOTONICS FOR COMMUNICATION AND SENSING
Focusing on the use of photonics technologies for RF systems, including sensing and communication applications. Innovative Radio-over-Fiber technologies and photonics-based techniques for generation, detection and elaboration of RF systems, are investigated, implemented both based on commercial devices and integrated circuits, and used for applications as 5G and radars for ground and space.
Investigating and developing photonics processing techniques for optical communications systems and data centers, and for optical sensing in a broad range of applications as space, environment monitoring, biomedicine. The use of the orbital angular momentum of light as additional multiplexing domain in high capacity optical communication systems and coherent lidar-on-chip are two examples of running activities.
Spanning from conception to realization of main photonics functionalities in an optically integrated circuit. This includes the active or passive photonic circuit integrated with on-chip optical sources and efficiently coupled to external optical fibers. Photonic integrated platforms are based on SiO2, SiN, SOI and related layers. Building blocks span from waveguides, power and polarization splitters and rotators, mode adapters, lattice and resonant filters, Si and SiGe modulators, Ge detectors, switches. Photonic/electronic integration is also pursued to demonstrate energy-efficient large bandwidth densities for on-board and edge interconnections.
SILICON PHOTONICS DESIGN
Designing and simulating Silicon Photonics components and systems from the building blocks to the complex integrated circuits and mask layout. Photonic circuit design is based on professionally qualified SW tools. Design includes also RF circuits, TCAD physical simulations, free space optics, thermal and thermo-mechanical simulations, and packaging design.
FABRICATION OF PHOTONIC INTEGRATED CIRCUITS (PICS)
Producing in collaboration with INPHOTEC photonic integrated circuits through the unique Italian silicon 6- inch CMOS-compatible line in a 700 sqm clean room with class 100, 1000 bays . The line includes three technology platforms: silicon photonics, glass and nitride, hybridization. The infrastructure has state of the art gas delivery semi standard, gas system abatements, water plant producing high pure18 Mohm/cm2 water, semi-standard ASTM 5127-07. Processes include deposition of dielectric materials, deposition of metals and solders, etching, E-beam lithography, optical lithography, with the related metrology for the fabrication of SOI, Si3N4, SiON and SiO2:Ge passive waveguides and SiOB (silicon optical bench) substrates.
ADVANCED PHOTONIC PACKAGING
Dealing with the design and development of back-end and packaging –in collaboration with the corresponding technological platform of INPHOTEC- for components in the fields of photonics, optoelectronics, MOEMS and sensors, with application in telecom, datacom, biotechnology, medical, terrestrial and space applications. A complete pilot line is available that can run up to thousands pieces/year for PICs, starting from dicing up to the final packaged product, including automated wire bonding, die attachment, flip chip and pigtailing processes. Pigtailing bench is unique in Europe for automated and robotized fiber array and lenses pigtailing with silicon photonics devices.
Graphene is a new material complementary and compatible with Silicon Photonics. Due to its outstanding electro-optical properties, Graphene is enabling higher speed data transfer and higher bandwidth networking for next generation communication networks. Within the framework of the Graphene Flagship, transmission experiments on 100km of standard SMF based on graphene photonics modulation have been demonstrated and presented at the Mobile World Congress 2017.
PHOTONIC SUBSYSTEMS FOR QUANTUM COMMUNICATION
Quantum Communication is the next frontier of Optical Communication where Quantum Optics effects are exploited to revolutionize tomorrow’s communication networks providing simultaneously unconditional data security. Integrated Photonics is expected to play an important role in making Quantum Communication systems get out of the laboratory, favoring their ingress and widespread use in real life applications. PNTLab is involved in study, design, fabrication and testing of basic functional blocks and more complex subsystems on chip for quantum state manipulation to be used in terrestrial and space Quantum Communication Systems.