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Launch of Lab’Optic: a joint laboratory dedicated to optical telecommunications

The growing complexity of technologies has made it difficult for a single entity, whether a university or a company, to bring together the necessary skills and metrology equipment. To solve this problem, Orange and three Breton engineering schools – IMT Atlantique, ENIB and ENSSAT – have jointly announced the creation of a joint laboratory dedicated to optical telecommunications, called Lab’Optic. This laboratory will draw on the resources of the Orange, Institut Foton and Lab-STICC laboratories.

The agreement, signed for a renewable period of 5 years, will give rise to a laboratory with a staff of around twenty researchers, plus doctoral students and technical staff. It will be run by four co-directors, and will have a steering committee.

Lab’Optic’s stated aims include :

  • To bring together regional players in optical telecoms research so that it can shine at international level and have a knock-on effect on the entire French community in this field,
  • Create a benchmark player in the global optical communications research ecosystem,
  • Increase the industrial impact of research and innovation in the field by focusing on key issues for the telecoms industry in general and operators in particular, thanks to the complementary expertise of industry and academia,
  • Create synergies with a positive impact on teaching in academic establishments and the training of researchers.

Lab’Optic’s research areas

  • Lab’Optic researchers will focus on three main areas of research while simultaneously carrying out various collaborative research projects, and will also remain open to new emerging themes. Increasing the transmission capacity of optical transport networks for the Internet, without modifying existing optical cable infrastructures, by favouring energy-efficient solutions.
  • Improving the efficiency of optical networks to business and residential customers by increasing throughput (beyond 50 Gbit/s), reducing latency, enhancing security and optimising energy efficiency.
  • Development of new digital signal processing techniques and algorithms for very high-speed optical transmissions (at 1.6 Tbits/second and more per wavelength), aimed at increasing throughput and rationalising the power consumption of optical interfaces, by integrating advances in artificial intelligence.

The creation of this joint laboratory should enable the various partners to enhance their scientific output, improve their visibility, boost their attractiveness and, in the longer term, launch new research projects: “Ultimately, the entire regional ecosystem around cutting-edge telecommunications will be able to benefit from this new tool”, emphasise Michel Morvan and Erwan Pincemin, co-directors of Lab’Optic for IMT Atlantique and Orange respectively.