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  • Photonics Speeds Up Wireless
Feb 2009
DUISBURG, Germany, Feb. 10, 2009 – With high-frequency wireless communication on the rise, a team of EU-funded researchers is looking to develop components for wireless connections in the extremely high frequency (EHF) bands, running from 30 to 300 GHz.

According to the 11-member project consortium, the components will help make 60-GHz connections an economical and reliable tool for people who do not have access to assymetric digital subscriber line-supporting infrastructure.

Wireless_World.jpgThe project, called Iphobac (integrated photonic mm-wave functions for broadband connectivity), combines radio and optics technologies to develop millimeter-wave photonic components and integrated functions. It is funded under the Sixth Framework Programme for ~$7.4 million.

The Iphobac partners from Germany, Spain, France, Slovenia, Sweden and the UK are active in research, academe and industry.

Since the project's launch, the consortium has produced a transmitter capable of yielding a continuous signal across the entire EHF band. The transmitter also can be used in data communications and radar applications.

The researchers have carried out field tests and shown how 60 GHz can provide reliable connectivity at 10 Gb/s in 25-mm/h of rain over a 1-km range.

Iphobac's objectives include the development of advanced and compact photonic sources such as ultrawideband high-power photomixers based on unitravelling carrier (UTC) and traveling-wave (TW) sources for integration with antennas, the development of ultrawideband transmitters based on a TW electroabsorption modulator approach (up to 110 GHz), as well as the implementation of photonic vector modulator and demodulator schemes using the components developed by the project, and the demonstration of the wireless transmission of a 10-Gb/s signal in a laboratory environment.

No extension of individual optics or radio technologies can implement the compact sources, which will be used in gigabit-per-second radio-over-fiber systems, instrumentation applications and controlled antennas.

The success of the objectives will help fully develop millimeter-wave photonics components and integrated functions and make them available for the industry. The Iphobac-enabled functions will benefit a number of applications, including broadband communications, radar, security and instrumentation.

In another development, Iphobac, together with eight other EU-funded projects, will launch the "European workshop on photonic solutions for wireless, access, and in-house networks" in Duisburg from May 18 to 20. The workshop will target photonics technologies as well as bridge access and in-house networks, the researchers say.

Topics to be addressed include optoelectronic hardware developments for wireless photonics applications and convergence of wireless and FTTx technologies.

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The technology of generating and harnessing light and other forms of radiant energy whose quantum unit is the photon. The science includes light emission, transmission, deflection, amplification and detection by optical components and instruments, lasers and other light sources, fiber optics, electro-optical instrumentation, related hardware and electronics, and sophisticated systems. The range of applications of photonics extends from energy generation to detection to communications and...
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