SPOC will be part of making an improved and greener internet

29. October 2018

he DNRF’s Centre for Silicon Photonics for Optical Communication (SPOC) will collaborate with Aarhus University and 12 Danish companies in a new three-year Grand Solutions project called INCOM. The project is being funded with a grant of 100 million DKK from the Innovation Fund and other sources and aims to improve the infrastructure of the internet through a faster and greener solution.

Since the millennium, internet traffic has doubled and, today, accounts for approximately 10 percent of the world’s collective electricity utilities. The massive increase in data traffic means that there is a need for to develop a new technology to create an improved digital infrastructure that can handle the massive amounts of traffic better. Just as increased traffic on roads and bicycle paths creates a need for a better road network, today’s data traffic needs more space, and the traffic on the internet likewise needs to be faster and greener in the future.

Photo: Thomas Kvistholt, Unsplash.

In a new three-year Grand Solutions project, called INCOM, researchers from the Technical University of Denmark, including basic research center SPOC, will work with researchers from Aarhus University and 12 Danish companies. The project will create new, sustainable solutions for future generations of communication infrastructures. The project is supported with a grant of 100 million DKK, 60 million DKK of which is coming from the Innovation Fund. The collaboration also includes more than 15 associated partners, the majority coming from industry.

“The project stems from our research and the results achieved at SPOC, but it also involves other subjects reaching further than SPOC – subjects defined by our industry partners. The main idea is to pursue knowledge transfer from the universities for a selection of Danish companies in collaboration with a number of large actors abroad where the knowledge obtained, for a large part of them, has been at SPOC,” said Professor Leif Oxenløwe, who is head of center at SPOC and the man behind the project.

“For a research group like mine, it is ideal to have the opportunity to carry out long-term idea-based research with a basic research center that can then germinate ideas that can be used in an innovative project"

Professor Leif K. Oxenløwe

Head of center at SPOC

Through the development of a new infrastructure and energy-efficient broadband, one of INCOM’s goals is to create growth in industry. The participating companies expect to increase their yearly revenues from a few million to hundreds of millions approximately five years after the INCOM project is completed and to increase overall employment by creating around 100 new jobs.

“For a research group like mine, it is ideal to have the opportunity to carry out long-term idea-based research with a basic research center that can then germinate ideas that can be used in an innovative project with the possibility for a greater impact on Danish industry,” explained Professor Oxenløwe.

It is one of INCOM’s ambitions to make it possible to reduce the number of light sources that drive the internet by making one laser able to replace several hundred lasers. This will result in enormous energy-saving for the entire network and in the country’s data centers. It can also increase data speeds up to more than 400 Gbit/s. Furthermore, INCOM is working on integrating a chip cycle with lights that will revolutionize the field because it will reduce prices and increase the efficiency of usage, since the majority of the signal administration, which is now electric, can be made directly in the optic domain. In other words, this means that the energy used today when light is converted into electricity will be rendered unnecessary.

“New technology helps us solve a lot of specific challenges and create a better society, but it also requires large amounts of energy. This is an exciting project, as it is crucial that we make the digital infrastructure more energy efficient,” said Danish Minister for Higher Education and Science, Tommy Ahlers.

Read more about the project in a press release from the Technical University of Denmark here.

More information about the project can be found at INCOM’s website here.