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ANR funded project

Infrastructures matérielles et logicielles pour la société numérique (INFRA)
Edition 2013


Ultra high data rate quasi-optic phoTONIC-based COMmunications

Ultra high speed wireless communications
COM'TONIQ project aims to demonstrate the first THz photonic transmission system including a dedicated basic photonic oscillator.

Key features
The key point of COM'TONIQ are:

  - To succeed to obtain a photonic oscillator based solid state lasers dual-frequency and very stable Brillouin lasers.
  - To demonstrate photomixers based on powerful UTC photodiodes.
  - To reach a working transmission link in an suitable outdoor environment.

The two-frequency lasers are first tested in microwave range before being tested in THz. Also, UTC photodiodes are transferred to the substrates in order to improve the thermal devices.


First QPSK results in THz regime (>300 GHz), beyond 30 Gbit/s.


Realize the full integration of photonics oscillator and do the tests outside on an operational environment. The demonstration of a range THz transmission system using vector modulation, in an outdoor environment of a laboratory will be considered as a success for COM'TONIQ.

Scientific outputs and patents

1. Cascaded Brillouin fibre lasers coupled to unitravelling carrier photodiodes for narrow linewidth terahertz generation DUCOURNAU G., BACQUET D., SZRIFTGISER P., PAVANELLO F., PEYTAVIT E., ZAKNOUNE M., BECK A., LAMPIN J.F. Electron. Lett., 50, 9 (2014), pp. 690-691.
2. Multi-carrier transmission of vectorial modulation schemes using electronic transceivers at 588 GHz, G. Ducournau, P. Szriftgiser, D. Bacquet, M. Zaknoune, R. Kassi and J.-F. Lampin, Electron. Lett., 50, 23 (2014).
3. THz Communications using Photonics and Electronic Devices: the Race to Data-Rate, Guillaume Ducournau, Pascal Szriftgiser, Fabio Pavanello, Emilien Peytavit, Mohammed Zaknoune, Denis Bacquet, Alexandre Beck, Tahsin Akalin, Jean-François Lampin, Jean-François Lampin, J. Infrared Milli Terahz Waves (2015) 36:198-220.
4. 32 Gbit/s QPSK transmission at 385 GHz using coherent fiber-optic technologies and THz double heterodyne detection Guillaume Ducournau, Klaus Engenhardt, Pascal Szriftgiser, Denis Bacquet, Mohammed Zaknoune, Rédha Kassi, Erwan Lecomte and Jean-François Lampin, Electron. Lett., 51, xx (2015), To be published in May 2015.

5. M. Alouini, A. Rolland, L. Pouget, M. Brunel, M. Vallet, L. Frein, G. Loas, J.-F. Lampin, G. Ducournau, «Bridging the gap between THz and microwave photonics through optoelectronic generation of interleaved combs Invited paper,« Microwave Photonics (MWP) and the 2014 9th Asia-Pacific Microwave Photonics Conference (APMP), 2014i nternational Topical Meeting on , vol., no., pp.350,358, 20-23 Oct. 2014
6. Brillouin fiber laser for highly coherent THz wave generation: perspectives in free space ultra-high rate communications, G. Ducournau, P. Szriftgiser, A. Beck, D. Bacquet, F. Pavanello, E. Peytavit, M. Zaknoune, T. Akalin, and J-F Lampin, Workshop on TeraHertz, Lille University - Ghent University, Gand (Belgique) March 10 2015.


IEMN Institut d'Electronique, de Microélectronique et de Nanotechnologie - Université Lille 1

IPR Institut de Physique de Rennes

PhLAM Laboratoire de Physique des Lasers, Atomes et Molécules


TRT Thales Research and Technology - France

ANR grant: 866 356 euros
Beginning and duration: janvier 2014 - 42 mois

Submission abstract

The primary goal of COM’TONIQ project is the realization of an ultra-high data rate wireless coherent transmission system well beyond state of the art, with at least 56 (2*28) Gbit/s capacity, using 280 GHz carrier signals, part of the “quasi optic” (QO) band. The target communication distance is 100 m – 1 km.
The proposed coherent transmission system will use the cutting edge of photonics technologies to achieve optical-to-THz conversion of optical modulated signals using high purity lasers and Unitravelling carrier photodiodes (UTC-PD) as optical-to-THz converters. An ultra-high data rate signal will be radiated and transmitted to produce a point to point (P2P) wireless data link. Using high purity/stability dual frequency 1.55 µm lasers specially designed in COM’TONIQ with 1 Hz linewidths, vectorial modulation formats will be addressed to achieve the first coherent photonic-based THz vectorial wireless system above 200 GHz. Focus will be centered where the atmospheric behavior is compatible to wireless transmission, (here in the 220-320 GHz frequency range), a high potentialities electromagnetic window for new systems / services.
COM’TONIQ proposes a merging of photonics, THz and electronics skills to demonstrate a system-level demonstrator beyond actual state of art within the field of wireless huge data rate transmission systems.
The two key features/guidelines of COM’TONIQ are:

- to realize a THz vectorial (I/Q configuration) transmission system using photonics for THz signal generation,
- to build an outdoor point-to-point Tx/Rx system to go beyond “lab demonstration” of the THz communication system.

COM’TONIQ proposes to use the best of photonics combined with the best of electronic receivers (heterodyne scheme) to outperform classical P2P wireless links by several orders of magnitude in terms of data-rate. The basic idea is to use the heterodyne detection combined with photonic oscillators, which has never been applied to communication systems due to poor phase noise of optical carriers. The overcoming of this challenge will lead to a greatly enhanced link budget in THz regime and also increases the spectral efficiency (bit/s per Hz bandwidth). Last, as conventional wireless systems are bit-rate limited and now saturated in new frequency allocation, a breakthrough can be realized in the beginning of THz window (220-320 GHz).

COM’TONIQ gathers a transversal expertise of 5 partners (IEMN, PhLAM, TRT, IPR and TEMATYS). Different skills (optics, lasers, semi-conductors, opto-electronics, photonics for communications, system measurement) and knowhow will be merged to go well beyond state of the art in wireless systems capacity. More specifically:

- COM’TONIQ will first merge several skills and solid-state (TRT) and fiber lasers (PhLAM) and the way to stabilize it (IPR) to achieve a narrow (Hz level) and ultra-stable (long term drift << 1 kHz) dual-frequency laser. This optical source will feed a specific THz photonic emitter (IEMN) to produce the THz carrier signals. Signal modulation will be realized via classical ways of optical 1.55 µm modulation.
- Second, COM’TONIQ will develop an outdoor demonstrator to achieve an “operational” (system-level, not-only “in-the-lab”) transmission, through IEMN expertise in wireless telecoms.

COM’TONIQ will give a special attention to end-users purposes and applications through TEMATYS contribution, in a strong link with the economical/technological pertinence of the proposed system.
COM’TONIQ is supported by “EQUIPEX” FLUX (Fibres optiques pour les haut flux), in the “Element 11: THz bench” dedicated to THz signal analysis. A letter from Marc Douay, can be found page 40. Within FLUX, we will have the opportunity to test the proposed communication system with the appropriate equipments (32 Gbps data generators, wide bandwidth oscilloscopes, optical QPSK modulation).


ANR Programme: Infrastructures matérielles et logicielles pour la société numérique (INFRA) 2013

Project ID: ANR-13-INFR-0011

Project coordinator:
Monsieur Guillaume Ducournau (Institut d'Electronique, de Microélectronique et de Nanotechnologie - Université Lille 1)

Project web site:


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The project coordinator is the author of this abstract and is therefore responsible for the content of the summary. The ANR disclaims all responsibility in connection with its content.