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UK CSC Joins European Free-space Optical Link Consortium

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Compound Semiconductor Centre joins ICS Ltd, VTEC Lasers and Sensors BV, and Aircision BV in €675k FrOLik project

CSconnected partner, the Compound Semiconductor Centre (CSC), is to be part of a consortium named ‘Free Space Optical Links for telecom networks' (FrOLik) that has received €675k support from Eureka Eurostars to develop innovative Free Space Optical (FSO) data link technology and an associated supply chain.

The consortium comprises three R&D intensive SMEs. These include Integrated Compound Semiconductor Ltd (a spin out from the University of Manchester, specialising in the design and manufacture of compound semiconductor RF, sensing and optical devices), VTEC Lasers and Sensors BV (Eindhoven, Netherlands) and Aircision BV (a free-space optic start-up based in Eindhoven, Netherlands), supported by the Compound Semiconductor Centre (Cardiff, UK).

Currently, point-to-point fibre optic links are the standard deployment option for high-capacity telecom backhaul as they provide high integrity and high bandwidth transmission. While FSO is easy and fast to deploy, has very high bandwidth potential and does not require a spectrum license, current commercial solutions suffer from outages due to adverse weather conditions. The project aims to deliver a novel FSO communication product commercialised by Aircision, using novel components for high bit rates which enable long-range transmission, up to 100 Gbps at 10km.

The consortia will leverage this technology with unique high-performance compound semiconductor detector technology (developed by ICS) and new high-speed component integration techniques (developed by VTEC).

A critical outcome will be the demonstration of a new European source of integrated semiconductor detector products specifically designed for FSO systems, enabled by a comprehensive ‘materials-to-system' design, manufacture and test capability.

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