Optical communications are the dominant means of information transmission in the world. With a history that spans for more than a thousand years, optical telecommunication and fiber optics is one of the main pillars of the Information Age. The earliest basic forms of optical communication were visual techniques such as smoke signals, beacon fires, hydraulic telegraphs, ship flags and semaphore lines, while the earliest electrical device for optical communication created was the photophone, invented in 1880. Nowadays, more than 90% of all wired communications are performed optically, with all continents, except Antarctica, being interconnected through a vast terrestrial and submarine network of optical fibers.
Even though the physical limitations of electrical cable prevent speeds in excess of 10 Gigabits per second, the physical limitations of fiber optics have not yet been reached. Everyday life applications such as broadband internet, cable HD TV, telemedicine, YouTube, online gaming and cloud based services like e-banking, Facebook and Twitter, owe their existence to the vast bandwidth capacity of the currently deployed global optical communication system. It should be noted that the current speed record on optical transmission capacity and distance in the field is 38.4 Tbps over a 762 Kilometer fiber link connecting Lyon and Marseille.
PCRL has been heavily involved in several optical communication research areas since its very early days. More than 500 PCRL papers have been publish in top reviewed journals and conferences, which have been referenced more than 1000 times. The ongoing research work performed in PCRL involves high-speed sources design and implementation, advance modulation formats, designing of high-speed transmission links, system/subsystem modeling, Digital Signal Processing and others. Moreover, PCRL has a long history of participation in telecom related national and EU funded research initiatives, coordinating more than 6 over the last 5 years.