Nav: Home

Technologies for the Sixth Generation Cellular Network

July 25, 2019

Future wireless data networks will have to reach higher transmission rates and shorter delays, while supplying an increasing number of end devices. For this purpose, network structures consisting of many small radio cells will be required. To connect these cells, high-performance transmission lines at high frequencies up to the terahertz range will be needed. Moreover, seamless connection to glass fiber networks must be ensured, if possible. Researchers of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) use ultra-rapid electro-optical modulators to convert terahertz data signals into optical signals. This is reported in Nature Photonics (DOI: 10.1038/s41566-019-0475-6).

While the new 5G cellular network technology is still tested, researchers are already working on technologies for the next generation of wireless data transmission. "6G" is to reach far higher transmission rates, shorter delays, and an increased device density, with artificial intelligence being integrated. On the way towards the sixth generation cellular network, many challenges have to be mastered regarding both individual components and their interaction. Future wireless networks will consist of a number of small radio cells to quickly and efficiently transmit large data volumes. These cells will be connected by transmission lines, which can handle tens or even hundreds of gigabits per second per link. The necessary frequencies are in the terahertz range, i.e. between microwaves and infrared radiation in the electromagnetic spectrum. In addition, wireless transmission paths have to be seamlessly connected to glass fiber networks. In this way, the advantages of both technologies, i.e. high capacity and reliability as well as mobility and flexibility, will be combined.

Scientists of the KIT Institutes of Photonics and Quantum Electronics (IPQ), Microstructure Technology (IMT), and Radio Frequency Engineering and Electronics (IHE) and the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Solid State Physics IAF, Freiburg, have now developed a promising approach to converting data streams between the terahertz and optical domains. As reported in Nature Photonics, they use ultra-rapid electro-optical modulators to directly convert a terahertz data signal into an optical signal and to directly couple the receiver antenna to a glass fiber. In their experiment, the scientists selected a carrier frequency of about 0.29 THz and reached a transmission rate of 50 Gbit/s. "The modulator is based on a plasmonic nanostructure and has a bandwidth of more than 0.36 THz," says Professor Christian Koos, Head of IPQ and Member of the Board of Directors of IMT. "Our results reveal the great potential of nanophotonic components for ultra-rapid signal processing." The concept demonstrated by the researchers will considerably reduce technical complexity of future radio base stations and enable terahertz connections with very high data rates - several hundred gigabits per second are feasible.

Figure:

Seamless integration of wireless links into fiber-optical networks is the key to high-performance data networks: future cellular networks will consist of many small radio cells that can be connected flexibly by high-performance THz transmission links. At the receiver, THz signals can be converted directly into optical signals with the help of ultra-rapid plasmonic modulators and transmitted via glass fiber networks.
-end-
Original Publication:

S. Ummethala, T. Harter, K. Koehnle, Z. Li, S. Muehlbrandt, Y. Kutuvantavida, J. Kemal, J. Schaefer, A. Tessmann, S. K. Garlapati, A. Bacher, L. Hahn, M. Walther, T. Zwick, S. Randel, W. Freude, C. Koos: THz-to-Optical Conversion in Wireless Communications Using an Ultra-Broadband Plasmonic Modulator. Nature Photonics, 2019. DOI: 10.1038/s41566-019-0475-6

For the abstract, click https://doi.org/10.1038/s41566-019-0475-6

More about the KIT Information · Systems · Technologies Center: <http://www.kcist.kit.edu>

Press contact: Kosta Schinarakis, Redakteur/Pressereferent, Tel.: +49 721 608-41956, Fax: +49 721 608-43568, E-Mail: <schinarakis@kit.edu>

Being „The Research University in the Helmholtz Association", KIT creates and imparts knowledge for the society and the environment. It is the objective to make significant contributions to the global challenges in the fields of energy, mobility and information. For this, about 9,300 employees cooperate in a broad range of disciplines in natural sciences, engineering sciences, economics, and the humanities and social sciences. KIT prepares its 25,100 students for responsible tasks in society, industry, and science by offering research-based study programs. Innovation efforts at KIT build a bridge between important scientific findings and their application for the benefit of society, economic prosperity, and the preservation of our natural basis of life.

Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT)

Related Photonics Articles:

Looking at complex light wave forms
Using a new method, researchers can see for the first time how weak electric fields evolve in time.
Photoluminescent display absorbs, converts light into energy
A study recently published in the SPIE Journal of Photonics for Energy demonstrates how to convert a luminescent solar concentrator into an energy-harvesting laser phosphor display by projecting intensity modulated light.
Photonics breakthough paving the way for improved wireless communication systems
A breakthrough enabling very fast tunable delay lines on chip should facilitate bandwidth affecting the 10 billion mobile devices connected to the wireless network.
OFC concludes featuring the evolution of silicon photonics, 5G networking and the Internet of Things
OFC, the world's leading conference and exhibition for optical communications and networking professionals, concludes with 663 exhibiting companies, over 1,100 peer-reviewed papers and 14,500 attendees.
RIT professor wins early career award from international optics and photonics society
Rochester Institute of Technology faculty member Nathan Cahill was named a Rising Researcher by SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, for his contributions to defense and security research.
More reliable way to produce single photons for quantum information imprinting
Physicists at the University of Bath have developed a technique to more reliably produce single photons that can be imprinted with quantum information.
Photonics dawning as the communications light for evolving NASA missions
A largely unrecognized field called photonics may provide solutions to some of NASA's most pressing challenges in future spaceflight.
A leader in light
UCSB professor and photonics expert John Bowers receives the 2017 IEEE Photonics Award
In the space travel age, photonic tech is the way to go
As the space travel age dawns upon us, photonic technology takes on a greater central role in its impact on the performance of space systems.
RMIT researchers make leap in measuring quantum states
Researchers have developed self-guided quantum tomography which uses a search algorithm to iteratively 'find' the quantum state.

Related Photonics Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Anthropomorphic
Do animals grieve? Do they have language or consciousness? For a long time, scientists resisted the urge to look for human qualities in animals. This hour, TED speakers explore how that is changing. Guests include biological anthropologist Barbara King, dolphin researcher Denise Herzing, primatologist Frans de Waal, and ecologist Carl Safina.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#SB2 2019 Science Birthday Minisode: Mary Golda Ross
Our second annual Science Birthday is here, and this year we celebrate the wonderful Mary Golda Ross, born 9 August 1908. She died in 2008 at age 99, but left a lasting mark on the science of rocketry and space exploration as an early woman in engineering, and one of the first Native Americans in engineering. Join Rachelle and Bethany for this very special birthday minisode celebrating Mary and her achievements. Thanks to our Patreons who make this show possible! Read more about Mary G. Ross: Interview with Mary Ross on Lash Publications International, by Laurel Sheppard Meet Mary Golda...