Abstract

We present the design and numerical study of a nonlinear equalizer for optical communications based on silicon photonics and reservoir computing. The proposed equalizer leverages the optical information processing capabilities of integrated photonic reservoirs to combat distortions both in metro links of a few hundred kilometers and in high-speed short-reach intensity-modulation-direct-detection links. We show nonlinear compensation in unrepeated metro links of up to 200 km that outperform electrical feedforward equalizers based equalizers, and ultimately any linear compensation device. For a high-speed short-reach 40-Gb/s link based on a distributed feedback laser and an electroabsorptive modulator, and considering a hard decision forward error correction limit of $0.2 \times 10^{-2}$ , we can increase the reach by almost 10 km. Our equalizer is compact (only 16 nodes) and operates in the optical domain without the need for complex electronic DSP, meaning its performance is not bandwidth constrained. The approach is, therefore, a viable candidate even for equalization techniques far beyond 100G optical communication links.

© 2019 IEEE

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