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Optics Express

Optics Express

  • Editor: C. Martijn de Sterke
  • Vol. 18, Iss. 11 — May. 24, 2010
  • pp: 11117–11122
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Seven-core multicore fiber transmissions for passive optical network

B. Zhu, T. F. Taunay, M. F. Yan, J. M. Fini, M. Fishteyn, E. M. Monberg, and F. V. Dimarcello  »View Author Affiliations


Optics Express, Vol. 18, Issue 11, pp. 11117-11122 (2010)
http://dx.doi.org/10.1364/OE.18.011117


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Abstract

We design and fabricate a novel multicore fiber (MCF), with seven cores arranged in a hexagonal array. The fiber properties of MCF including low crosstalk, attenuation and splice loss are described. A new tapered MCF connector (TMC), showing ultra-low crosstalk and losses, is also designed and fabricated for coupling the individual signals in-and-out of the MCF. We further propose a novel network configuration using parallel transmissions with the MCF and TMC for passive optical network (PON). To the best of our knowledge, we demonstrate the first bi-directional parallel transmissions of 1310nm and 1490nm signals over 11.3-km of seven-core MCF with 64-way splitter for PON.

© 2010 OSA

1. Introduction

Passive optical networks (PONs) are now being deployed in large numbers worldwide for broadband access services [1

1. P. Chanclou, Z. Belfqih, B. Charbonnier, T. Duong, F. Frank, N. Genay, M. Huchard, P. Guignard, L. Guillo, B. Landousies, A. Pizzinat, and H. Ramanitra, “Optical access evolutions and their impact on the metropolitan and home networks,” in Proceedings of ECOC 2008, paper We.3.F.1.

,2

2. B. Zhu, and D. Nesset, “GPON reach extension to 60km with entirely passive fiber using Raman amplifiers,” in Proceedings of ECOC 2009, paper 8.5.5.

]. The rapid growth in data traffic has recently led to an exponentially growing demand for capacity in access networks [3

3. H. Rohde, S. Smolorz, E. Gottwald, and K. Kloppe, “Next generation optical access: 1 Gbit/s for everyone,” in Proceedings of ECOC 2009, paper 10.5.5.

]. This has driven an increasing need for high counts of feeder fibers, causing congestion problems in some duct pipes. Hence, low cost, high fiber count, high density cables are necessary to construct practical PON systems for future optical access networks. Multicore fiber (MCF) offers a possible solution to increase the fiber density and overcome cable size limitations and duct congestion problems. Design and fabrication of several types of MCFs have been reported to address this need for high density while maintaining low loss and low crosstalk [4

4. S. Inao, T. Sato, S. Sentsui, T. Kuroha, and Y. Nishimura, “Multicore optical fiber,” in Optical Fiber Communication, 1979 OSA Technical Digest Series (Optical Society of America, 1979), paper WB1.

7

7. M. Koshiba, K. Saitoh, and Y. Kokubun, “Heterogeneous multicore fiber: proposal and design principle,” IEICE Electron. Express 6(2), 98–103 (2009). [CrossRef]

]. The crosstalk level, i.e. the maximum power transferred between the cores, is determined by the detailed core and clad index profiles as well as the core-to-core distance. The core density is dominated by the core-to-core distance. The index profile, core geometry, and coating also affect micro- and macro-bending loss. Therefore, a comprehensive design is necessary to optimize overall optical fiber parameters for MCF. Another important problem is connectivity: commercial use of MCF requires low-cost reliable splicing and coupling of signals into and out of the closely-spaced individual cores. Hence, a low-crosstalk and low-loss fiber device that enables coupling to individual cores is important for parallel MCF transmissions.

This paper reports a novel MCF with seven-cores arranged in a hexagonal array, which exhibits low crosstalk at wavelengths between 1310nm and 1490nm. The MCF properties such as low crosstalk and attenuation are described and the practical technical issues in use of MCF including fiber splicing and coupling of individual signals in MCF are discussed. A new tapered multicore fiber connector (TMC) with ultra-low crosstalk and low insertion losses is designed and fabricated for coupling the individual signals in-and-out of the MCF. For the first time, we propose a novel network configuration using MCF parallel transmissions to increase the fiber density and increase the optical network end users at the subscriber premises of a PON. Simultaneous transmissions of seven 1310nm upstream and seven 1490nm downstream signals at 2.5 Gb/s over 11.3-km of seven-core MCF with a split ratio of 1:64 are demonstrated for PON.

2. Seven-core multicore fiber

The MCF is designed for single-mode operation in the 1310nm and 1490nm region and is made of seven 8-μm core diameter cores arranged in a hexagonal array with 38-μm core-to-core pitch. The glass cladding diameter is 130 μm and the acrylate dual coating diameter is 250 μm. The measured cutoff wavelength for each core is about 1200nm, and mode field diameters (MFD) at 1300 and 1490 nm are 8.3 and 9.3 μm respectively. All cores have index about 0.0046 above silica surrounded by cladding index of −0.0012 relative to silica, resulting in a core-clad index difference ncore-nclad~0.0058. The dispersion and dispersion slope at 1490 nm are about 10.5 ps/nm-km and 0.059 ps/nm2-km respectively, and all cores have same dispersion and dispersion slope values.

The transmission loss spectra of 11.3-km MCF, measured by cutback technique, are shown in Fig. 1 (a)
Fig. 1 (a) Measured attenuation spectra of 7-core MCF, (b) Calculated tunneling loss versus wavelength for clad diameter of 130μm and 140μm. This tunneling loss introduces an excess attenuation in the outer cores above that in the center core.
. The center core has 0.39 dB/km and 0.30 dB/km attenuation at 1310nm and 1490nm respectively. Average losses for 6 outer cores are 0.41dB/km and 0.53dB/km at 1310nm and 1490nm respectively. The loss of the center core and the short-wavelength (~1310nm) loss of the outer cores are close to the losses in conventional standard single mode fiber (SSMF). In comparison, the losses of conventional SSMF at wavelength 1310nm and 1490nm are about 0.35dB/km and 0.24dB/km, respectively. The loss for outer cores at 1490-nm is higher than loss in conventional SSMF, due to micro-bending loss and interactions with the coating at close proximity (for example core-coating effective index matching [8

8. G. A. Miller, C. G. Askins, and T. Taunay, “Wavelength-selective core-to-jacket coupling in optical fiber,” Opt. Lett. 32(7), 760–762 (2007). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

]). This loss of outer cores at longer wavelength can be reduced by optimized design of the cutoff wavelength and/or increasing the outer clad diameter [5

5. K. Imamura, K. Mukasa T. Yagiet, “Investigation on Multi-Core Fibers with Large Aeff and Low Micro Bending Loss,” in Proceedings of Optical Fiber Communications Conference 2010, paper OWK6.

]. In particular, we calculated the tunneling loss using a two dimensional finite difference vector model solver using a perfectly-matched non-reflecting boundary layer [9

9. S. Guo, F. Wu, S. Albin, H. Tai, and R. Rogowski, “Loss and dispersion analysis of microstructured fibers by finite-difference method,” Opt. Express 12(15), 3341–3352 (2004). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

]. This tunneling loss introduces an excess attenuation in the outer cores above that in the center core. Figure 1 (b) shows the calculated tunneling and macrobend losses (15 cm diameter bend) for the 130 um clad diameter fiber in which the outer core centers are 27 um from the coating are similar to the measured excess loss. This indicates that this tunneling loss can be made negligible by increasing the fiber clad diameter to 140μm such that the outer core centers will be 32 um from the coating while keeping the same 38 μm core pitch.

3. MCF connectivity

Because several cores are densely packed in a small region, the connectivity of each individual core between MCF becomes very difficult. For example, splicing of the MCF requires careful precision alignment. Practical use of MCF requires coupling of signals into and out of each core independently. To overcome this problem, a new TMC is designed and fabricated and the structure of TMC is illustrated in Fig. 3
Fig. 3 Schematic diagram of tapered multicore fiber connectors.
. The TMC preserves individual cores at both ends of the connection. Seven single core fibers are tapered together to match the MCF spacing. One end of the resulting taper can then be connected to the 7-core MCF via fusion splicing, while the other end consists of seven individual single-core fibers. It should be noted that the TMC is different from tapered fiber bundle (TFB) [11

11. D. J. DiGiovanni, and A. J. Stentz, “ Tapered fiber bundles for coupling light into and out of cladding-pumped fiber devices,” US Patent 5864644, June 26, 1999.

] which is often used for coupling pump light sources into cladding pumped fiber lasers and amplifiers [12

12. C. Headley, “Cascaded Raman Resonators,” in Raman Amplification in Fiber Optical Communication Systems, C. Headley and G. P. Agrawal, eds. (Elsevier Academic Press, 2005), Chap. 7, pp. 303–312.

]. As shown in Fig. 3, the TMC keeps the individual cores at both ends of the connection, and so prevents cross-talks or optical power coupling between cores. In contrast, a TFB merges lightfrom multiple cores into a single core [11

11. D. J. DiGiovanni, and A. J. Stentz, “ Tapered fiber bundles for coupling light into and out of cladding-pumped fiber devices,” US Patent 5864644, June 26, 1999.

]. In order to achieve a low crosstalk and low insertion loss in TMC, a special single-mode fiber is used. Experimental results for insertion loss and crosstalk of two seven-core TMCs are shown in Table 2

Table 2. Insertion Loss and Crosstalk of TMCs

table-icon
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. The insertion loss for each connector of the TMCs ranges from 0.38 dB to 1.8 dB, and the crosstalk between cores is less than −38 dB. The slightly high coupling loss of some cores can be readily reduced by improving core matching.

Splicing of MCF is also an important consideration, and each core of the MCF should have precision alignment to achieve low splicing loss. Hence, it is necessary to perform rotational fiber core alignment in addition to lateral alignment. An experimental set-up for investigation of splicing properties of MCF is shown in Fig. 4
Fig. 4 (a) experiment set-up for study the splicing property of MCF, (b) splice losses of each core of seven-core MCF using PM fusion splicer.
. A stable laser source at 1310 nm is divided into seven outputs and connected to a TMC. Another TMC is connected to seven power meters. Two meters of seven-core MCF are connected to the TMC via fusion splicing (Fig. 4 (a)) using a polarization maintaining (PM) splicer (Ericsson FSU995PM). The optical power meters are carefully calibrated and the optical powers are recorded. After optimizing the splicing parameters, it is found that the precise alignment of each core can be obtained by automatic alignment. Low loss splicing between the MCF can be achieved by conventional PM splicer. Figure 4 (b) shows the recorded splicing loss for 10 repeated fusion splices. The average splice loss is about 0.10 dB which is similar to the splicing loss of conventional PM fiber.

4. Seven-core MCF parallel bidirectional transmission experiment

We propose a novel network configuration using MCF parallel transmissions to increase the fiber density and increase the optical network end users at subscriber premises of a passive optical network (PON). Figure 5
Fig. 5 Schematic diagram of a PON system using a 7-core MCF and two TMCs, 1310nm and 1490 nm DFB diodes as transmitters, APD as receivers.
shows a schematic diagram of a PON employing a 7-core MCF and two TMCs which are used to couple the individual signals in-and-out of the MCF. At a central office (CO), seven optical line terminals (OLT), each comprised of PON transceivers [1490nm downstream (DS) signal transmitter and 1310nm upstream (US) receiver], are connected to the TMC via seven single-core fibers, and the TMC is connected via fusion splice to the 11.3-km seven-core MCF. At the remote node (RN), a second TMC is connected via fusion splice to the MCF, and each of seven pigtail fibers at the other end of the TMC is connected to optical fiber splitters (e.g. with 1:64 splitting ratio). Each splitter is then connected to optical network units (ONU) at the subscriber premises.

Figure 6
Fig. 6 BER performance for 1310nm US (a) and 1490nm DS (b) for all 7-core parallel transmission with 1:64 splitter for three cases: back-to-back (B2B, black), one core transmits only (core#-only, red) and all cores operate through the MCF simultaneously (core#-all, blue).
shows the bit-error-ratio (BER) performance for 7-core parallel bi-directional transmission over 11.3-km MCF with 1:64 splitter, with all cores operating through the system simultaneously. It can be seen in Fig. 6 (a), that there is virtually no penalty for 1310nm US when all 7 cores simultaneously operate (core#-all) vs. one core transmits only (core#-only); this means there is no impact from crosstalk between cores. When all cores operate, the 1490nm DS BER performance (see Fig. 6 (b)) is degraded by about 0.8dB and 1.7 dB (at BER 10−11) for outer cores and center core (dashed blue line) relative to that when only one core operates, respectively. It should be pointed out that the center exhibits −17.4 dB crosstalk when all six outer cores are simultaneously transmitted signals, in comparison that the outer core has about −24 dB crosstalk when center core operates only (see Table 1). This is because the center core has 6 times (~7.8dB) nearest neighbors. However, there is no indication of error floors, and error free 7-core MCF transmission is obtained for both 1310-nm US and 1490-nm DS, demonstrating parallel multi-core fiber transmission of 11.3-km fiber with 1:64 way splitter ratio for PON applications

5. Summary

We designed and fabricated a novel 7-core MCF for construction of high density and high count optical fiber cables. The fiber properties of MCF including low crosstalk, attenuation and splicing loss are reported. A new TMC with ultra-low crosstalk for coupling the individual signals in-and-out of the MCF was also designed and fabricated. By using TMCs, we have demonstrated simultaneous transmissions of 1310nm US and 1490nm DS signals at 2.5 Gb/s over 11.3-km of 7-core MCF with a split ratio of 1:64 for PON, thus it can serve a total of 448 end-users at the subscriber premises from a single fiber. Further reduction in cost and power consumption of PON can be realized by using a 2-D VCSEL/PIN array which can be butt-coupled with MCF as the transmitter and receiver in a CO OLT [13

13. B. Rosinski, J. W. D. Chi, P. Grosso, and J. L. Bihan, “Multichannel transmission of a multicore fiber coupled with VCSEL,” J. Lightwave Technol. 17, 807–810 (1999). [CrossRef]

], where each VCSEL can be directly modulated for DS and be transmitted through MCF and RN to ONUs at the subscriber premises.

Acknowledgements

We thank David DiGiovanni at OFS Labs for his encouragement and support, and we also thank Dr. Russell Davey at BT for his inspiring discussion on multicore fiber for access network applications.

References and links

1.

P. Chanclou, Z. Belfqih, B. Charbonnier, T. Duong, F. Frank, N. Genay, M. Huchard, P. Guignard, L. Guillo, B. Landousies, A. Pizzinat, and H. Ramanitra, “Optical access evolutions and their impact on the metropolitan and home networks,” in Proceedings of ECOC 2008, paper We.3.F.1.

2.

B. Zhu, and D. Nesset, “GPON reach extension to 60km with entirely passive fiber using Raman amplifiers,” in Proceedings of ECOC 2009, paper 8.5.5.

3.

H. Rohde, S. Smolorz, E. Gottwald, and K. Kloppe, “Next generation optical access: 1 Gbit/s for everyone,” in Proceedings of ECOC 2009, paper 10.5.5.

4.

S. Inao, T. Sato, S. Sentsui, T. Kuroha, and Y. Nishimura, “Multicore optical fiber,” in Optical Fiber Communication, 1979 OSA Technical Digest Series (Optical Society of America, 1979), paper WB1.

5.

K. Imamura, K. Mukasa T. Yagiet, “Investigation on Multi-Core Fibers with Large Aeff and Low Micro Bending Loss,” in Proceedings of Optical Fiber Communications Conference 2010, paper OWK6.

6.

K. Takenaga, S. Tanigawa, N. Guan, S. Matsuo, K. Saitoh, and M. Koshiba, “Reduction of Crosstalk by Quasi-Homogeneous Solid Multi-Core Fiber,” in Proceedings of Optical Fiber Communications Conference 2010, paper OWK7.

7.

M. Koshiba, K. Saitoh, and Y. Kokubun, “Heterogeneous multicore fiber: proposal and design principle,” IEICE Electron. Express 6(2), 98–103 (2009). [CrossRef]

8.

G. A. Miller, C. G. Askins, and T. Taunay, “Wavelength-selective core-to-jacket coupling in optical fiber,” Opt. Lett. 32(7), 760–762 (2007). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

9.

S. Guo, F. Wu, S. Albin, H. Tai, and R. Rogowski, “Loss and dispersion analysis of microstructured fibers by finite-difference method,” Opt. Express 12(15), 3341–3352 (2004). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

10.

J. M. Fini, T.F. Taunay, B. Zhu, and M. F. Yan, “Low cross-talk design of multicore fibers,” to be presented at CLEO 2010.

11.

D. J. DiGiovanni, and A. J. Stentz, “ Tapered fiber bundles for coupling light into and out of cladding-pumped fiber devices,” US Patent 5864644, June 26, 1999.

12.

C. Headley, “Cascaded Raman Resonators,” in Raman Amplification in Fiber Optical Communication Systems, C. Headley and G. P. Agrawal, eds. (Elsevier Academic Press, 2005), Chap. 7, pp. 303–312.

13.

B. Rosinski, J. W. D. Chi, P. Grosso, and J. L. Bihan, “Multichannel transmission of a multicore fiber coupled with VCSEL,” J. Lightwave Technol. 17, 807–810 (1999). [CrossRef]

OCIS Codes
(060.2310) Fiber optics and optical communications : Fiber optics
(060.2360) Fiber optics and optical communications : Fiber optics links and subsystems
(060.4510) Fiber optics and optical communications : Optical communications

ToC Category:
Fiber Optics and Optical Communications

History
Original Manuscript: April 13, 2010
Revised Manuscript: May 5, 2010
Manuscript Accepted: May 5, 2010
Published: May 11, 2010

Virtual Issues
May 28, 2010 Spotlight on Optics

Citation
B. Zhu, T. F. Taunay, M. F. Yan, J. M. Fini, M. Fishteyn, E. M. Monberg, and F. V. Dimarcello, "Seven-core multicore fiber transmissions for passive optical network," Opt. Express 18, 11117-11122 (2010)
http://www.opticsinfobase.org/oe/abstract.cfm?URI=oe-18-11-11117


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References

  1. P. Chanclou, Z. Belfqih, B. Charbonnier, T. Duong, F. Frank, N. Genay, M. Huchard, P. Guignard, L. Guillo, B. Landousies, A. Pizzinat, and H. Ramanitra, “Optical access evolutions and their impact on the metropolitan and home networks,” in Proceedings of ECOC 2008, paper We.3.F.1.
  2. B. Zhu, and D. Nesset, “GPON reach extension to 60km with entirely passive fiber using Raman amplifiers,” in Proceedings of ECOC 2009, paper 8.5.5.
  3. H. Rohde, S. Smolorz, E. Gottwald, and K. Kloppe, “Next generation optical access: 1 Gbit/s for everyone,” in Proceedings of ECOC 2009, paper 10.5.5.
  4. S. Inao, T. Sato, S. Sentsui, T. Kuroha, and Y. Nishimura, “Multicore optical fiber,” in Optical Fiber Communication, 1979 OSA Technical Digest Series (Optical Society of America, 1979), paper WB1.
  5. K. Imamura, K. Mukasa T. Yagiet, “Investigation on Multi-Core Fibers with Large Aeff and Low Micro Bending Loss,” in Proceedings of Optical Fiber Communications Conference 2010, paper OWK6.
  6. K. Takenaga, S. Tanigawa, N. Guan, S. Matsuo, K. Saitoh, and M. Koshiba, “Reduction of Crosstalk by Quasi-Homogeneous Solid Multi-Core Fiber,” in Proceedings of Optical Fiber Communications Conference 2010, paper OWK7.
  7. M. Koshiba, K. Saitoh, and Y. Kokubun, “Heterogeneous multicore fiber: proposal and design principle,” IEICE Electron. Express 6(2), 98–103 (2009). [CrossRef]
  8. G. A. Miller, C. G. Askins, and T. Taunay, “Wavelength-selective core-to-jacket coupling in optical fiber,” Opt. Lett. 32(7), 760–762 (2007). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  9. S. Guo, F. Wu, S. Albin, H. Tai, and R. Rogowski, “Loss and dispersion analysis of microstructured fibers by finite-difference method,” Opt. Express 12(15), 3341–3352 (2004). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  10. J. M. Fini, T.F. Taunay, B. Zhu, and M. F. Yan, “Low cross-talk design of multicore fibers,” to be presented at CLEO 2010.
  11. D. J. DiGiovanni, and A. J. Stentz, “ Tapered fiber bundles for coupling light into and out of cladding-pumped fiber devices,” US Patent 5864644, June 26, 1999.
  12. C. Headley, “Cascaded Raman Resonators,” in Raman Amplification in Fiber Optical Communication Systems, C. Headley and G. P. Agrawal, eds. (Elsevier Academic Press, 2005), Chap. 7, pp. 303–312.
  13. B. Rosinski, J. W. D. Chi, P. Grosso, and J. L. Bihan, “Multichannel transmission of a multicore fiber coupled with VCSEL,” J. Lightwave Technol. 17, 807–810 (1999). [CrossRef]

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