EUROFOS: Pan-European Photonics Task Force: Integrating Europe’s Expertise on Photonic Subsystems

Project Overview

EURO-FOS has been a network of excellence (NoE) focusing on photonic components and subsystems for optical communications, funded by European Commission (EC) under the 7th Framework Programme (FP7). It started in May 2008 and concluded in April 2012. Its concept was conceived upon the observation that the map of European research in photonic communications technology includes a large number of active but smaller in scale academic laboratories distributed all over Europe. EURO-FOS has been an ambitious initiative to integrate expertise, equipment and resources from the 17 participating institutes towards the creation of a powerful Pan-European laboratory (eurofoslab) that scales more than linearly the potential of the individual institutes.

Using the structure of eurofoslab, the objective of EURO-FOS has been three-fold:

1) to enable partners make top-quality research through the sharing of ideas and resources and through the organization of large-scale experimental activities,

2) to enhance the collaboration of partners with industry through the agreement on common research thrusts and through the organization of a service provision platform addressing the needs of the photonics industry, and

3) to exploit the size of the network and organize a large number of education and dissemination activities spreading the word for photonics across Europe.

The operation of EURO-FOS supported the integration of all partners through frequent meetings, continuous interaction, participation in the set up of eurofoslab and participation in joint experimental activities (JEAs). Looking back, the things that EURO-FOS has achieved over its 4-year lifetime look really impressive:

The network succeeded in the development of eurofoslab through the registration of expertise and resources in the web-based inventories of the lab. A total of 839 items have been registered including more than 50 large-scale optical communications testbeds. Moreover, the network succeeded in creating the structure and the web-tools that enable searching and booking of appropriate equipment, planning of experimental activities and reporting on the progress on these activities, thus turning the vision of the Pan-European Laboratory into a reality.

Furthermore, EURO-FOS succeeded in integrating all participating institutes in its research activities. Research was organized within 4 centres of excellence (CEs) covering different discrete scientific areas of optical communications. To implement this research, partners organized a total of 66 JEAs involving the participation of a large number of external industrial and academic partners. The scientific outcome of these activities has been impressive: more than 400 EURO-FOS papers were published, some of them presenting world-record results and scientific “firsts”. Moreover, a total of 12 patents were filed aiming at turning the research output into exploitable technology.

Regarding the education and dissemination activities, EURO-FOS organized 7 workshops, 5 booths at major photonic conferences, 2 summer schools and 2 winter schools, and a large number of smaller-scale events addressing the general public and the local communities. As a result of the collaboration of the partners on educational activities, the network produced an education kit and organized the framework for joint supervision from senior staff of 13 PhD students working on the scientific topics of EURO-FOS.

Finally, EURO-FOS succeeded in bringing academia closer to industry. The network created a cluster of 29 industrial affiliates that have been closely monitoring and participating in the network activities, and an industrial advisory board (IAB) consisting of representatives from 6 of these affiliates (ADVA, NSN, ALU Germany, Tellabs, VPI and Finisar). Through continuous interaction with the members of the IAB, EURO-FOS has been trying to align its research topics with industrial trends and explore the interest of industry for the set up of a service provision platform in the field of photonic communications based on the expertise and equipment of European academic institutes. Although the idea of securing the self-sustainability of eurofoslab through the establishment of industrial collaborations on a pay-for-service basis has been over-optimistic, significant steps were made; as for example the identification of the need for further elaboration on the legal framework for the operation of such a service provision platform, the identification of industrial interest for specific technical services, the pilot run of “charge-free” service provision projects in the last year of the network, and the definition of a viable techno-economic plan for retaining the eurofoslab structure in the post EURO-FOS era  with a 2-year horizon.

Summary of project context and objectives

EURO-FOS has been an FP7 network of excellence (NoE) funded by the European Commission and coordinated by the Institute of Communications and Computer Systems of the National Technical University of Athens (ICCS/NTUA). It has formed a powerful cluster of 17 European academic institutes from 12 European countries with expertise in the design, development and testing of photonic components and subsystems that are applicable in high-capacity optical communication networks.

The idea for creating such a network came up with the observation that unlike the case of North America or Japan, the map of European research in photonics technology includes a large number of particularly active but smaller in scale laboratories distributed all over Europe. In this sense, EURO-FOS has represented an ambitious initiative to integrate expertise, equipment and resources from the participating institutes towards the creation of a powerful Pan-European laboratory.

EURO-FOS scientific activities have related to the design, development and testing of advanced subsystems and prototypes through the functional integration of photonic devices, aiming at bridging the gap between research on fundamental device-level physics and developments on the network level of optical communications.

Collaboration between the consortium members has focused on four discrete scientific areas including:

1) digital optical transmission systems,

2) optical sources and amplification systems,

3) high-speed optical network subsystems and

4) next-generation optical access subsystems, and this collaboration has been tunnelled through the organisation of joint experimental activities.

The general objectives of the network throughout its lifetime have been:

To reinforce common research thrusts and enable innovation, by clustering top photonic research groups in Europe and integrating researchers by facilitating their exchange and mobility throughout Europe.

To be the enabler of complex and advanced experiments: EURO-FOS has aimed at facilitating shared access to expensive laboratory infrastructures creating “economies of scale” in the validation of photonic subsystems and systems. This has included shared access to state-of-the-art photonic devices and prototypes, shared access to test and measurement equipment, and shared access to advanced test-beds and deployed optical fibre links in Europe.

To strengthen European research scene by creating a mechanism for the consortium members to access photonic devices previously developed or being developed in complementary smaller scale (e.g. STReP/IP) European projects on photonic components. Functional integration of photonic devices from different but complementary projects has been envisaged to create new concepts and ideas through the design and development of novel subsystems. The application of photonic components in cross-disciplinary applications has been envisaged to stimulate further innovation in the development of photonic subsystems.

To establish links between academia and industry in the field of photonic sub-systems and. Such links have the potential to enable the channelling of innovation from universities into industry and translate basic research into commercially exploitable technology.

Main Scientific and technical (S&T) results and foregrounds

To accomplish its objectives, EURO-FOS used the internal structure presented in Figure 1, organizing the managerial and technical activities within 8 work-packages (WPs).

Figure 1: Structure and organization of EURO-FOS activities.
Figure 1: Structure and organization of EURO-FOS activities.

WP2: Spreading of Excellence

Dissemination of foreground knowledge within EURO-FOS NoE has been a multidimensional activity comprising numerous divert tasks towards the promotion of the scientific results derived through the joint experimental activities by the consortium members, as well as towards spreading network’s reputation to the general public. In this framework, EURO-FOS has planned and executed a very active dissemination strategy under the title “Spreading of Excellence”, aiming at the:

  • promotion promoting the network’s views on key technological issues
  • disseminating of latest results derived from joint research for the stimulation of new research lines based on looking forward technology solutions
  • creation of synergies between the network and other European research projects
  • contribution to the European research agenda
  • creation of links and collaborations with non-EU consortia
  • training of highly-skilled researchers with subjects associated with fiber-optic communications
  • dissemination of photonics technologic to non-scientific European public

The major components of EURO-FOS’ spreading of excellence activities are summarised as follows:

  • Scientific publications in international conferences and journals: During the 4 years of its operation, EURO-FOS network has produced approximately 690 publications. A percentage of 30% of these publications were the result of JEA work among the EURO-FOS partners, around 160 publications were produced as result of collaborative work with industrial partners, while 76 invited talks and presentations were given by the consortium members in numerous sound conferences. The various publications are classified and summarized in the following table.
  • Presence in European and international workshops: EURO-FOS had a consistent and multi-fold presence in the major events related to photonics technology and communication, namely ECOC, ICTON and OFC. In particular, EURO-FOS has been participating with a booth at ECOC (from 2008 until 2011) as well as in OFC 2011. In addition the network has actively organised a number of workshops in ECOC and ICTON.
  • Organisation of training activities: EURO-FOS project organised two (2) summer schools (in 2009 and 2010) and a number of winter courses. The winter courses were organised in a decentralised manner and took place in parallel in the countries of origin of the members of the consortium, in an effort to diffuse modern advancements of photonic technologies to a large number of students around Europe. Besides their geographical distribution, these winter courses addressed a wide group of audience, in terms of age and back ground knowledge, ranging from high school students up to university undergraduates and graduates.
  • Dissemination activities towards the general public: EURO-FOS organised 37 smaller or larger scale events in order to address non-scientific audience, aiming to the general public about the potential of photonic technology and the ways that its applications affect and change everyday life. Event for the general public included media campaigns (newspapers, web articles and TV broadcasts), presentations to schools, visits to the laboratories of the network members and demonstrations, as well as participation of individual partners in various local public events, such as local technology fairs and open workshops).

The dissemination activities of EURO-FOS NoE are estimated to have echoed at more than 50.000 people:

  • 306 visits at the EURO-FOS website within the period 2009-2012
  • 919 visits at the eurofoslab web-site within the period 2009-2012
  • 250 recipients of EURO-FOS newsletters and announcement of events
  • 600 students attended the tutorials of summer/winter schools
  • 700 visitors to the EURO-FOS booths in 4 international conferences (ECOC and OFC)
  • 500 researchers attended the 8 workshops organised by the project
  • >35 PhD researchers have been benefited in their work
  • >1850 persons attended the 37 events organized in fairs, media and high schools
  • 32 top quality enterprises conducted collaborative research within JEAs
  • >400 publications presented in first line international conferences and journals

The intense and forward looking research activities carried out during the lifetime of EURO-FOS project in combination with the multidimensional spreading of excellence strategy adopted by the network resulted in the legacy of the project to the European research community, namely:

  • Collection of training material: A collection of presentations used as the training material for the purposes of the summer and winter schools and courses on photonics technology performed by EURO-FOS members to a wide audience of students of medium and higher education
  • Collection of application notes (ANs): The 17 members of the EURO-FOS network prepared and made available 55 ANs covering a large range of experimental processes and set-ups tackling practical aspects related with optical measurement methodologies, set-up of optical experiments and system/sub-system as well as component characterization. The collection of ANs consolidates the valuable expertise of the EURO-FOS partners in optical experimentation.
  • Collection of Vision and White papers: Comprises 6 papers that provide an overview on key research topics related with the four Centers of Excellence of EURO-FOS network.

 

WP3: Organization of joint experimental activities and integration of partners: Research within the 4 CEs and interdisciplinary research involving more than one CE, has been implemented mainly through the organization of joint experimental activities (JEAs). For each JEA it was necessary the participation of at least 2 EURO-FOS beneficiaries, while it was optional the participation of additional external partners from industry or academia.  Figure 2 summarizes the main numbers associated with the organization of JEAs throughout the 4-year lifetime of the project: 66 JEAs were set up in total involving 86 mobility actions and a total cumulative period of 205 weeks that young or senior researchers spent while visiting collaborating institutes for the needs of the joint experiments.

Figure 2: Main metrics related to the organization of JEAs during the total duration of EURO-FOS.
Figure 2: Main metrics related to the organization of JEAs during the total duration of EURO-FOS.
Figure 3: Left: JEAs with more than 3 participants as percentage of the total number of JEAs in each year. Right: JEAs relating to the research topics of more than 1 CE as percentage of the total number of JEAs in each year.
Figure 3: Left: JEAs with more than 3 participants as percentage of the total number of JEAs in each year. Right: JEAs relating to the research topics of more than 1 CE as percentage of the total number of JEAs in each year.

The number of large-scale JEAs (involving 4 or more participants) and the number of JEAs that had a broader technical scope spanning over more than one CE, have been considered throughout the project lifetime as important indicators for the level of integration of partners and the level of integration of technical expertise. Figure 3 illustrates on the left side the evolution of the large-scale activities as percentage of the total JEAs in each year indicating the success in the integration of partners, especially towards the end of the project. The same figure illustrates on the right side the evolution of the JEAs that involve more than 1 CE, again as percentage of the total number of JEAs in each year, and indicates the increasing success of the network in organising activities with a broader scientific and technical scope.

 WP4: Pan-European Lab creation – integration of resources: Work on the creation of the Pan-European Lab (eurofoslab) started already from the beginning of the project aiming to set up the mechanisms, the procedures and the web-tools that would enable the integration and the management of resources (referring both to expertise and infrastructure/equipment) from the 17 participating institutes. University of Essex (UEssex) led the effort as the WP4 leader to come up with a practical structure that would allow the partners for:

  • Registering their resources (expertise, photonic components, subsystems, systems, testbeds, installed fibre links, simulation tools) in common inventories.
  • Searching for missing/complementary resources belonging to other partners using resource management tools.
  • Reserving these resources and organizing joint experimental activities (JEAs) with the participation of other EURO-FOS beneficiaries or with the participation of external industrial and academic partners.
  • Reporting on the progress on the experimental activities providing updates on experimental results, validation of concepts and future plans for extending the scientific scope of the collaborations.

Apart from their private domains addressing the 17 beneficiaries of the network, the web-tools of eurofoslab had also public domains that were exposed to external/unregistered users and allowed these users for searching the available resources and proposing joint experimental endeavours.

Through the continuous motivation and efforts from all partners, the eurofoslab was equipped at the end of the project (May 2012) with 840 items including:

  • 57 systems and large-scale testbeds such as Terabit/s optical time-division multiplexing (OTDM) and orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (OFDM) testbeds, coherent wavelength division multiplexing (WDM) testbeds, WDM transmission systems at 1550 nm (C- and L-band) and 1310 nm, radio over fiber (RoF) systems based on single-mode and multi-mode fibers, and other.
  • 68 subsystems like complete optical line terminals (OLT) and optical network units (ONU) for access networks, transmitters, receivers and regeneration units.
  • 419 components including a large variety of photonic, electronic and optoelectronic devices.
  • 276 test & measurement instruments like optical and RF-spectrum analysers, digital communication analysers, real-time oscilloscopes, auto-correlators, optical sampling oscilloscopes and other.
  • 5 installed fiber links for large-scale field trials and demos, and
  • 15 software suits for the simulation of optoelectronic components and lightwave communication systems.

Through this impressive collection of resources at eurofoslab, EURO-FOS facilitated shared access to expensive laboratory infrastructures, creating “economies of scale” in the development, testing and validation of photonic subsystems and systems. More significantly, the collaboration and synergy through eurofoslab allowed for new perspectives and a higher potential for the EURO-FOS beneficiaries in designing and participating in ambitious, large-scale experimental endeavours, otherwise not feasible due to the lack of equipment in the individual laboratories.

 

Research and scientific results: Research within EURO-FOS was organized in a number of research topics (RTs) that were falling within 4 centres of excellence (CEs), i.e. within 4 areas of optical communications. Notably, the relevant research was implemented by joint experimental activities that were usually spanning across multiple RTs and areas, as they were representing complex experimental endeavours, enabled by the diverse expertise of the network participants and the availability of a large variety of advanced equipment. The four scientific areas of interest within EURO-FOS were the following:

WP5: CE1 – Digital optical transmission systems: The relevant activities were led by Heinrich-Hertz Institut (HHI) and were dedicated to the investigation, design and experimental evaluation of new photonic subsystems that enable higher capacities, longer reach, better transmission performance and higher bandwidth efficiency for high (multi-Terabit) capacity transmission systems. The development of such systems is considered today as the only viable way to meet the increasing capacity demands across Internet that are generated today by the end-users and are associated with a number of popular broadband services and applications such as high-definition tv, social media etc. Topics of interest within CE1 included multi-carrier transmission systems for core and metro networks with particular emphasis on orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (OFDM) techniques, coherent transmission systems using spectrally efficient (higher-order) modulation formats, combination of optical time-division multiplexing (OTDM) technology with multi-level modulation formats, and in the last year of the network transmission systems using multi-mode and multi-core optical fibres.

The concepts developed and the results obtained during the 4 years of the network have been really many and significant. Examples include the demonstration by HHI of transmission of eight 28 Gbaud 16-QAM channels over 480 km using a real-time transmitter, the development of a Nyquist-WDM Tb/s super-channel transmission system by POLITO, with symbol rate up to 30 Gbaud, subcarrier spacing down to Nyquist limit and maximum distance up to trans-oceanic distances, the demonstration by KIT and industrial associates of EURO-FOS of an all-optical OFDM system accommodating 26 Tb/s line-rate OFDM streams,  the development and experimental testing by ACREO, HHI, Chalmers, TNI, IT, POLITO and Inst. TELECOM of algorithms and techniques for the mitigation of nonlinear effects during propagation of optical signals, the demonstration by TU/e and DTU of optical packet switching and detection of high-speed OTDM data packets up to a speed of 640 Gb/s, a record transmission over 110 km of an 0.87 Terabit/s OTDM signal with D8PSK modulation format and polarization diversity by Chalmers, Inst. TELECOM, DTU and ICCS/NTUA, and the design and implementation of signal processing techniques for gridless/elastic networking environments by UEssex and SSSUP.

WP6: CE2 – Optical sources and amplification systems: This subset of activities was coordinated by Scuola Superiore Sant’ Anna (SSSUP) and was related to the investigation of novel amplification systems for access and burst-traffic networks, new types of semiconductor optical amplifiers based on quantum dots (QD-SOAs), techniques and applications of parametric amplification and development of novel schemes for tunable laser sources for telecom and sensing applications.

Also for this set of activities the concepts that were developed and the results that were obtained have been significant. Main activities included the investigations by UPC, IT and AIT on remotely pumped amplification schemes that are suitable for amplification in extended reach passive optical network (PON) architectures, the investigations of quantum dot semiconductor optical amplifiers (QD-SOAs) by KIT and HHI, the development by UPVLC of mode-locked lasers based on novel nanomaterials (carbon-nanotubes), the development by UPVLC, SSSUP and DTU of high-quality mode-locked lasers as multi-wavelength comb sources in integrated WDM-PON and millimeter-wave radio architectures, the development by Inst. TELECOM in collaboration with Orange Labs of low-chirp, multi-wavelength sources based on electro-optic modulation, with excellent perspectives for use in WDM-PONs, and the joint investigations by Chalmers, DTU, TNI and HHI on the topic and the optimization parameters of optical parametric amplification that can further extend the reach of transmission systems with significant positive impact on their cost and energy efficiency.

WP7: CE3 – High-speed optical network subsystems: EURO-FOS activities within this area were coordinated by DTU and were devoted to the investigation of the role of all-optical techniques for developing next-generation routers and cross-connects in optical network architectures. Efforts focused in particular on the development of all-optical processing units for advanced modulation formats, the investigation of a variety of all-optical switching technologies, the development of novel clock-recovery and regeneration schemes, as well as the integration of sub-modules for the implementation of fundamental functionalities in optical routing systems.

The work within CE3 has been impressive. Significant outcome of this work relates to the development by KIT and HHI of a self-coherent receiver for polarization multiplexed DQPSK signals, the demonstration by DTU and Inst. TELECOM of the first 650 Gb/s OTDM detector performing clock recovery, channel identification and multiplexing, the demonstration by ICCS/NTUA, SSSUP and TU/e of a complex contention resolution scheme for nodes in optical packet switching (OPS) networks, the demonstration by ICCS/NTUA, HHI and industrial affiliates of a complex phase-insensitive regenerator for OOK, BPSK and QPSK signals, the demonstration by Inst. TELECOM, ICCS/NTUA and external academic partners of an optical code division multiple access (OCDMA)-based packet forwarding/switching optical node, and a large-scale experimental demonstration of an all-optical router relying on SOA-based switching elements.

WP8: CE4 – Next-generation optical access subsystems: The last subset of research activities was led by Universitat Polytècnica de Catalunya (UPC) and was devoted to the study of novel components and subsystems for passive optical networks (PONs) and wired-wireless hybrid networks that will implement fibre-to-the-x (FTTx) architectures and will allow for bringing the full potential of optical communications till the final users (i.e. the citizens) of the networks. Research focused on advanced radio-over-fiber (RoF) techniques, monitoring and mitigation of transmission impairments in extended reach PON architectures, novel designs of user terminals and optical line terminal (OLT) subsystems including burst-mode receivers, optical transmitters, optical signal generation devices, as well as remote node architectures and modules for metro-access convergence.

The work has been impressive also in this case. Research highlights include the first demonstration by TU/e and UPVLC of bidirectional transmission of ultra wide band (UWB) signals over a single 100 μm core plastic fiber, the transmission of multi-standard OFDM-based signals in coexistence with legacy baseband data signals by UPVLC, UEssex and IT, the demonstration by UPC of a variety of RSOA-based ONU designs, the demonstration by ICCS/NTUA and UPC of optically-assisted downstream cancellation techniques using Fabry-Perot filters at the ONU, and the design, development and application of novel burst-mode receivers in PON scenarios by IMEC, UPC, TNI and ICCS/NTUA.

Figure 4: Left: Setup of a transmission loop experiment over installed fiber supporting transmission of 16x100 Gb/s channels with polarization-multiplexed QPSK format. Right: Part of the experimental setup for 0.87 Terabit/s OTDM signal transmission with D8PSK modulation format and polarization diversity. The picture illustrates the optoelectronic clock recovery subsystem used in the transmission setup. Both works performed as joint experimental activities within CE1.
Figure 4: Left: Setup of a transmission loop experiment over installed fiber supporting transmission of 16x100 Gb/s channels with polarization-multiplexed QPSK format. Right: Part of the experimental setup for 0.87 Terabit/s OTDM signal transmission with D8PSK modulation format and polarization diversity. The picture illustrates the optoelectronic clock recovery subsystem used in the transmission setup. Both works performed as joint experimental activities within CE1.
Figure 5: Left: Experimental setup developed within EURO-FOS for 10 Gb/s uplink transmission in next generation PONs using burst-mode elements. The work was performed as joint experimental activity in CE4. Right: picture of a floating carbon nanotubes film on water during preparation for characterization within EURO-FOS with respect to its linear and nonlinear optical properties. The work was related to CE2 and CE3 of EURO-FOS.
Figure 5: Left: Experimental setup developed within EURO-FOS for 10 Gb/s uplink transmission in next generation PONs using burst-mode elements. The work was performed as joint experimental activity in CE4. Right: picture of a floating carbon nanotubes film on water during preparation for characterization within EURO-FOS with respect to its linear and nonlinear optical properties. The work was related to CE2 and CE3 of EURO-FOS.

Impact

The concept of EURO-FOS was conceived so as to have high impact on the scientific community, the industry and the general public, and the consortium succeeded in taking good care of all three directions. The following paragraphs present the dissemination actions towards these three categories and the possible impact.

Dissemination towards the scientific community: EURO-FOS succeeded in integrating the efforts of 17 academic institutes, clustering the young and senior researchers of these institutes and creating a framework for close collaboration on theoretical and experimental work and supervision of PhD students. EURO-FOS pursued the dissemination of the research results obtained through scientific, publications, patent applications/registrations, organization/support of workshops, organization of booths at major conferences in the field, and collaboration with Photonics21 European Technology Platform and with other research organizations and bodies from Europe, US and Japan. Within the 4 years, the consortium published more than 400 publications as a result of the activities within the framework of JEAs or as a result of solo or collaborative work related to the specific topics of EURO-FOS. At the same time the consortium members filed 12 patents and produced 55 high quality application notes that made available to the scientific community through the web-sites of EURO-FOS and eurofoslab. The total of this material (publications, patents, application notes) represents an impressive amount of knowledge generated from the network activities and made available to the scientific community through various means. This generated knowledge represents novel concepts and ideas and complex technical implementations that became possible through the joint efforts of EURO-FOS partners. The consortium also organized 7 scientific workshops on the topics of the 4 CEs, and 5 booths at the exhibitions of the ECOC and OFC conferences over the last years. It established connections and collaborations with academic institutes from Europe, US and Japan and participated in meetings that European Commission organized with Photonics21 for the definition of future research directions and future activities in the field of optical communications.

Finally, EURO-FOS succeeded in establishing collaborations with more than 30 European or national projects, especially specific targeted research projects (STREPs), providing a framework for these projects to extend their studies and investigate the operation of new components and concepts in broader environments.

Figure 6: Left: EURO-FOS booth at OFC 2011 exhibition. Middle: poster of the workshop organized by Inst. TELECOM with the support of EURO-FOS. Right: Presentation of EURO-FOS in the IEEE Photonics Society News (April 2011 issue).
Figure 6: Left: EURO-FOS booth at OFC 2011 exhibition. Middle: poster of the workshop organized by Inst. TELECOM with the support of EURO-FOS. Right: Presentation of EURO-FOS in the IEEE Photonics Society News (April 2011 issue).

Impact on industry: EURO-FOS organized the participation of 29 companies in the network as industrial affiliates. The industrial affiliates set up an industrial advisory board (IAB) consisting of representatives from 6 affiliates (ADVA Optical Networking, Nokia-Siemeacens Networks (Munich), Alcatel-Lucent (Stuttgart), VPI Systems, Finisar and Tellabs). The members of the IAB have been in close collaboration with the consortium providing feedback on the research directions inside each centre of excellence and the relevance of these directions to current industrial interests, as well as on the perspectives of eurofoslab to evolve into a service provision platform addressing the needs of SMEs and larger companies in the field of optical communications. The communication between the consortium and the members of the IAB was realized through direct contacts and phone-conferences, through the joint organization of a workshop in March 2011 in Berlin, and through questionnaires.

As a result of the relevance of the EURO-FOS research lines with topics of industrial interest, EURO-FOS succeeded in attracting the massive participation of industry in its research activities, either in the form of industrial participation in JEAs or in the form of collaboration on preparatory work within the four CEs

 

Finally, as a result of the continuous interaction with the members of the IAB and representatives from other companies, the consortium succeeded in communicating the role that eurofoslab can play in the future for covering part of the industrial R&D needs and bridging the gap between academia and industry. Based on this interaction, the consortium achieved to identify the services of major interest for the industry and the major concerns regarding the legal framework of these collaborations. Furthermore it achieved to set up a pilot run of a service provision project between EURO-FOS and ADVA Optical Networking and define a plan for self-funding and preserving the structure of eurofoslab for 2-years after the end of the project (May 2012-April 2014). Using this structure the ex-EURO-FOS partners and other organizations from industry or academia will be able to use the web-tools of eurofoslab for booking resources, planning collaborative experiments and disseminating the relevant results.

Figure 7: Left: Lecture at AIT during the first summer school of EURO-FOS (June 2009). Right: First edition of the EURO-FOS “Academic Research on Photonic Systems in Europe”.
Figure 7: Left: Lecture at AIT during the first summer school of EURO-FOS (June 2009). Right: First edition of the EURO-FOS “Academic Research on Photonic Systems in Europe”.

Societal impact – impact on the general public: EURO-FOS also tried to explore the size of the network and organized a series of dissemination events addressing undergraduate students in relevant university departments, and the general public in the cities of the participating institutes. To this end, EURO-FOS prepared the hand-book of “Academic Research on Photonic Systems in Europe” listing M.Sc. and Ph.D. programs offered by European institutes in the field of optical communications, organized two summer schools and two winter schools, prepared an education kit comprising lectures, notes and presentations, which remains available through the web-site of the project, and supported a large number of media campaigns and small-scale dissemination actions in the form of open-day-like events that aimed to spread the word for photonics among the general public and explain the significance of photonic technology for our everyday life. The number of attendees of all these activities has been quite a few thousands indicating their successful organization and their significant societal impact.

The Project’s Public web-site: (http://www.euro-fos.eu)

The EURO-FOS website has been launched fully operational since day 1 of the project execution. The public section of the website provides to the visitors all the necessary information related to:

  • The mission and the objectives of the network as well as the tackled research areas and the joint activities performed during the deployment of EURO-FOS NoE.
  • The Pan-European laboratory and its facilities
  • Profiles of the organisations participating in the Network and the activity of the four Centers of Excellence (CEs) of the project
  • All the significant documents prepared during the implementation of EURO-FOS that comprise part of the project’s legacy: application notes (ANs) as well as vision/white papers resulted from the Joint Experimental Activities performed by the 17 members of EURO-FOS consortium and Network, during the 4 years of the operation of the network. Both the application notes and the vision/white papers formulate an extremely useful source of on-hands information and consolidated laboratory know-how to the researchers in the domain of photonics communications.
  • The training material presented by EURO-FOS members in the framework of the courses of summer and winter schools organised by the project (for registered users only)
  • All major dissemination activities performed and material produced during the project (e.g. press releases, newsletters, full lists of scientific publications during the project etc)

In the framework of the effort of EURO-FOS consortium to preserve the communication links with industry the public website of the project will be maintained and de-cluttered from any redundant information in order to remain operational for at least two years after the end of the project.

Pan-European Lab website (http://www.eurofoslab.eu)

The site implements the Pan-European virtual laboratory web-based platform developed during the project. The platform offers a set of web services and tools that have been maintained and improved, in terms of functionality, on a continuous basis throughout the whole duration of EURO-FOS. The backbone of the services offered by the Pan-European virtual laboratory are summarised as follows:

  • Inventory service: The platform comprises a centralized data repository to store participants’ offered resources including photonic equipments, test-beds, components and test and measurement facilities.
  • Resource and facilities services: A set of web-based interfaces and services for resource owners and virtual lab users to enter information for registering their resources, listing, browsing and searching registered facilities and resources.
  • Joint experimental setup, planning, scheduling and listing services: A set of tools and interface for the users to set up joint experimental activities, including allocation of the appropriate photonic resources, reservation and booking of experimental resources registered in the system, as well as tools for scheduling and planning of  joint experimental activities.

Thus the platform realises an EU-wide based laboratory that virtually integrates and coordinates all existing photonic equipments, test-beds, components, facilities contributed the members of EURO-FOS network, at the service of any potential user beyond the consortium members: EU researchers, academic institutions, SMEs and industry engaged in R&D within the photonics area.

Figure 8. EURO-FOS Pan-European virtual laboratory structure.
Figure 8. EURO-FOS Pan-European virtual laboratory structure.
Figure 9. The homepage of the Pan-European virtual laboratory site.
Figure 9. The homepage of the Pan-European virtual laboratory site.

EURO-FOS network will seek ways towards the maintenance and sustainability of the virtual laboratory beyond the contractual end of the project, in an effort to offer its capabilities and functionality in future collaborations between the network members and interested parties of the European photonics community, with special emphasis on services provided to industrial parties.

The EURO-FOS Consortium

Consortium: Institute of Communication and Computer Systems/National Technical University of Athens (ICCS/NTUA), Heinrich-Hertz-Institut (HHI), University of Essex (UEssex), Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC), Institut TELECOM (Inst. TELECOM), ACREO AB (ACREO), Technical University of Eindhoven (TU/e), Athens Information Technology (AIT), Chalmers University of Technology (Chalmers), Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Politecnico di Torino (POLITO), University College Cork (TNI), Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna (SSSUP), Universidad Polytecnica de Valencia (UPVLC), Interuniversity Microelectronics Centre (IMEC), Instituto de Telecomunicaões (IT), Technical University of Denmark (DTU)
Consortium: Institute of Communication and Computer Systems/National Technical University of Athens (ICCS/NTUA), Heinrich-Hertz-Institut (HHI), University of Essex (UEssex), Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC), Institut TELECOM (Inst. TELECOM), ACREO AB (ACREO), Technical University of Eindhoven (TU/e), Athens Information Technology (AIT), Chalmers University of Technology (Chalmers), Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Politecnico di Torino (POLITO), University College Cork (TNI), Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna (SSSUP), Universidad Polytecnica de Valencia (UPVLC), Interuniversity Microelectronics Centre (IMEC), Instituto de Telecomunicaões (IT), Technical University of Denmark (DTU)