Alan Willner Visits Sydney University

CUDOS at Sydney University were very pleased to host a visit from Professor Alan Willner, who gave two talks outlined below.

Ben Eggleton and Alan Willner at Sydney University

Ben Eggleton and Alan Willner at Sydney University

Optical Communications Using Light Beams Carrying Orbital Angular Momentum

Friday 9th November, 2012

Abstract: Propagating light waves can contain an interesting property known as orbital angular momentum (OAM), such that the light wave's phase front is twisting along the direction of propagation. This twisting of the phase front into a corkscrew shape results in a doughnut-like ring intensity profile. Moreover, an infinite, discrete series of values for the rate of the phase front twisting can be created, such that each OAM beam with one value is theoretically orthogonal to all other OAM beams with different values. Orthogonality enables multiple beams of different OAM values to be (de)multiplexed with negligible crosstalk. Each of these multiple beams can carry an independent data stream, and the total information capacity of the spatially overlapped beams equals the data rate of one beam multiplied by the total number of independent beams. Importantly, each optical beam can reside at the same optical carrier wavelength (color), thereby increasing the communication system's spectral efficiency (bits/s/Hz). Using OAM, recent work has demonstrated Tbit/s free-space and sub-Tbit/s fiber-based optical data transfer.

Presentation on the U.S. National Research Council of the National Academies’ report: “Optics and Photonics, Essential Technologies for Our Nation”

Monday 12th November, 2012

Abstract: “Optics and photonics are key enablers across many different industries that impact society on a daily basis. As a follow-up to the 1998 Harnessing Light study, the U.S. National Academies recently published a study on the present and future potential impact of optics and photonics. The new study includes recommendations, grand challenges and findings that might help key decision makers in government, industry and academia form a strategic vision for a vibrant future. This lecture will discuss highlights of the report as well as some of the unique challenges faced by the committee.”


Alan Willner (Ph.D., Columbia, 1988) worked at AT&T Bell Labs and Bellcore, and is the Steven & Kathryn Sample Chaired Professor of Engineering at USC. He received the Int'l Fellow of U.K. Royal Society of Engineering, Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, NSF Presidential Faculty Fellows Award from White House, Packard Foundation Fellowship, Fulbright Foundation Senior Scholars Award, OSA Forman Eng. Excellence Award, IEEE Photonics Society Eng. Achievement Award and Distinguished Lecturer Award, USC University-Wide Creativity in Research (highest award), and Eddy Best Technical Paper Award from Pennwell. He is a Fellow of AAAS, IEEE, OSA, and SPIE. Professor Willner was Co-Chair of National Academies Committee on Optics and Photonics, President of IEEE Photonics Society, OSA Science and Engineering Council Co-Chair, and Editor-in-Chief of Optics Letters, IEEE/OSA Journal of Lightwave Technology, and IEEE J. of Selected Topics in Quantum Electronics. He has >975 publications, including one book and 24 U.S. patents in the area of optical communications.

Alan Willner's webpage