Center leader Leif Katsuo Oxenløwe sets new world record


661 terabits per second. That is the amount of data a research team headed by center leader Leif Katsuo Oxenløwe has been able to send through a fiber-optic cable using only one light source. This has set a new world record.

Read more via

“This corresponds to more than double the world’s internet traffic, which today is about 300 terabits per second,” says Leif Katsuo Oxenløwe, professor at DTU Photonics and leader of the Silicon Photonics for Optical Communications Center (SPOC). The result was recently published as a postdeadline-paper and presented at the Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics (CLEO) in San Jose, California.

Go to the SPOC website

Potentially enormous saving of energy

Today’s communications technology is responsible for approximately 10 percent of the world’s electricity consumption, and it is increasing by 30 percent annually.

Data information is sent through fiber-optic cables using lasers. The lasers and their components use electric power, and if we can find ways to reduce the number of lasers needed, e.g., by increasing the speed, there is great potential for energy reduction.

Collaboration with industry

The research team broke the record with the help of various components supplied by different partners in industry. Among these was a multi-core fiber-optic cable from the Japanese firm Fujikura. Normally, there is only one core that leads the light in the cables, but in the cable used for the record attempt, there were 30.

It will require the reorganization of existing infrastructure to be able to apply the record speed in real life. Among other things, it will be necessary to lay out new multi-core cables that have the capacity to carry large quantities of data.

“We are almost using full capacity in our current fibers and have to consider which kinds of fibers we are going to lay out in the future. Multi-core fibers are certainly one realistic way to go,” says Andrew Ellis, professor of optic communication at Aston University in Birmingham, England, who attended the CLEO meeting and read the research paper.

Ellis finds the record very impressive and says that the result shows the possibilities of industrial collaboration.  Even though the result can’t be applied immediately, it has sown the seeds to level the continuously upward-sloping curve of the internet’s exponentially increasing energy consumption.