UCL Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering


Research on frequency comb generator published in Nature Communications

13 July 2022

Collaborative research led by UCL Electronic and Electrical Engineering’s researchers develops a solution to generate high performance optical frequency comb using heterogeneously integrated silicon core fibre.

Nature Communications paper accepted

An optical frequency comb is a light source that generates equally-frequency-spaced optical wavelengths with a deterministic phase relationship. Originally developed for metrology (Nobel Prize in 2005), optical frequency combs are becoming increasingly pervasive in a wider range of research topics such as telecommunications, electronic devices, and medical sensing.

In telecommunications, it has been shown that an optical frequency comb can significantly enhance the speed of optical communication systems as well as improve the accuracy of radio frequency signal processing. However, to harness the benefits of optical frequency combs in practical telecom applications, high performance frequency comb generators are required that are compact and robust.

A research consortium led by UCL and the University of Southampton have demonstrated a new frequency comb source to address these challenges. The source combines two leading edge photonic technologies - optoelectronic frequency comb generators and integrated silicon core fibres – to demonstrate a highly efficient frequency comb generator that features a broad and flat spectral response with high power and narrow comb lines, properties that are desirable for many practical applications in areas such as phase-coherent communications and micrometer/millimeter wave generation. Moreover, our cavity-free design allows for tunable wavelength and comb spacing, thus enabling high resolution real-time spectroscopy as well as electronic processing. 

On their research being published in the prestigious Nature Communications, 
Professor Anna Peacock stated: 

The integration of our unique silicon core fibre platform within a high performance comb source is very exciting and opens a route for their wider application in practical signal processing systems.

Professor Zhixin Liu stated: 

The new capability we have demonstrated will be of relevance to many scientific and engineering communities that need compact, tunable and high power frequency combs.

Paper is available as Open Access
Sohanpal, R., Ren, H., Shen, L. et al. All-fibre heterogeneously-integrated frequency comb generation using silicon core fibre. Nat Commun 13, 3992 (2022). 


The research is a collaboration between: 
1 Optical Networks Group, Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, University College London, London, UK. 
2 School of Optoelectronic Engineering and Instrumentation Science, Dalian University of Technology, Dalian, China. 
3 Optoelectronics Research Centre, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK. 
4 Wuhan National Laboratory for Optoelectronics and School of Optical and Electronic Information, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China. 
5 Institute of Applied Physics, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland. 
6 Center for Optical Materials Science and Engineering Technologies, and the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Clemson University, Clemson, SC, USA.