MODE-GAP, the European collaborative R&D project investigating Space Division Multiplexing (SDM) to address the potential future capacity crunch within the telecommunications networks, has announced the launch of its latest product a Few Mode Fiber Erbium Doped Amplifier (FM-EDFA). The product, developed for the transmission experiments for the project, is the first of its kind to be commercially available on the market following four years focussed R&D activity.

Developed by the University of Southampton, the new FM-EDFA will be manufactured by Phoenix Photonics.  It is the first core pumped amplifier to be made readily available to researchers investigating Few Mode Fiber Mode-Division Multiplexing (MDM) transmission and is available with compatibility with the OFS designed 3- and 6-mode fibres.  Earlier this year the project demonstrated record long-haul reach using a Full-Mode Fiber (FMF) technology transmission link, which was enabled through the use of the Southampton FM-EDFA’s.

A World-First Commercial Success For Mode-Gap Project With The Launch Of New Few Mode Fiber Erbium Doped Amplifier
A World-First Commercial Success For Mode-Gap Project With The Launch Of New Few Mode Fiber Erbium Doped Amplifier

Steering the success of the collaboration, Project Manager Dr. Ian Giles, said: “We are very excited to offer the first commercially available FM-EDFA that has been a key component in achieving the excellent transmission results within the project. Developing the amplifier to an integrated instrument has been very challenging and we are pleased to be in a position to offer 3-mode and 6-mode versions with high performance specification.

When the project was initiated in 2009 there were no components commercially available to build transmission experiments. The required components were researched and demonstrated within the project and several of these have now been commercialised.”

The FM-EDFA is the latest in a range of products that are now commercially available as a result of the project, including, few mode fibre from OFS Fitel, photonic lanterns and fibre mode converters from Phoenix Photonics and 2micron lasers from Eblana Photonics.

The MODE-GAP project is supported within the European Commission’s 7th Framework Programme and has brought together leading European organisations to explore MDM as a potential telecommunications capacity enhancement solution.