Photo: Thorkild Christensen

SPOC, new Center of Excellence, developing ultra-fast, energy-efficient Internet

Thursday 23 Apr 15


Leif Katsuo Oxenløwe
Professor, Group Leader
DTU Fotonik
+45 45 25 37 84

The opening of the new Center of Excellence, SPOC (Silicon Photonics for Optical Communications), marks the beginning of research into creating a more energy-efficient communications infrastructure based on optical communication. The aim is to reduce the Internet's excessive total energy consumption.

By Lisbeth Kirk Mynster 

Guests from universities, the business community, and the Danish National Research Foundation gathered at DTU on 16 April to celebrate the opening of the new basic research centre SPOC. The centre is located at DTU Fotonik and the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen and has several international partners—from Sydney to Santa Barbara.

Following speeches by the Chairman of the board of the Danish National Research Foundation, Liselotte Højgaard, and DTU President Anders Bjarklev, Leif Katsuo Oxenløwe, Head of Centre, presented the five ‘flagship themes’ which the centre will research the next six years, backed by a DKK 59 million grant.

More energy-efficient Internet
The new centre will be conducting research into the communications infrastructure of tomorrow.

"We will take an interdisciplinary approach based on physics, non-linear optics, photonics, communications technology, information theory, and advanced coding to come up with solutions to the major challenges in communication systems: energy consumption and possible data capacity," says Head of Centre Leif Oxenløwe. He is internationally renowned for producing excellent results in his field of research, and he has broken several world records in optical data transmission.

"By studying optical signal processing in thin photonic waveguides with the potential of significantly improving bandwidth and energy efficiency, and by exploring optical silicon chips and chip integration technologies aimed at achieving the ultimate optical communication capacity, we are working to reduce the energy consumption of the Internet, which today accounts for two per cent of the world's total carbon emissions," says Leif Oxenløwe.

Future systems
Over the next six years, Leif Oxenløwe and his team of researchers, PhD students, and postdocs will, among other things, examine spatially distributed data transmission with considerably greater data densities than today. Furthermore, they will be looking at optical frequency combs for developing new light sources and ultra-precise optical watches as well as frequency references, and they will examine future high-security quantum communication systems. 

Centers of Excellence at DTU
SPOC is one of three Centers of Excellence at DTU in which the Danish National Research Foundation in October 2014 decided to invest DKK 170 million.

The other Centers of Excellence are 'Intelligent oral Drug delivery Using Nano and microfabricated containers' (IDUN) and 'Centre for Hyperpolarization in Magnetic Resonance'. DTU already operates two other Centres of Excellence:
the Centre for Nanostructured Graphene (CNG) and the Centre for Individual Nanoparticle Functionality (CINF).

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