Alan Willner

Professor Alan Willner

President-Elect, OSA

High-Capacity Free-Space Optical Communications Using Multiplexing of Multiple Orbital-Angular-Momentum Modes
The ability to multiplex multiple, spatially overlapping data-carrying modes over the same physical medium represents the potential for increasing system capacity and spectral efficiency. Generating different amounts of orbital-angular-momentum (OAM) on different optical beams has emerged as a technique for such mode multiplexing.  A beam can carry OAM if its phase front “twists” in a helical fashion as it propagates, and the amount of OAM corresponds to the number of 2*pi phase shifts that occur in the azimuthal direction.  Each OAM beam is orthogonal and can be efficiently multiplexed and demultiplexed with little inherent crosstalk, and OAM is compatible with other forms of multiplexing (e.g., polarization multiplexing and WDM). This presentation will explore the achievements of and challenges to OAM-based free-space optical communication systems, including transmission, turbulence compensation, link design, and switching. 

Alan Willner (Ph.D., 1988, Columbia) worked at AT&T Bell Labs and Bellcore, and he is currently the Steven and Kathryn Sample Chair in Engineering at the Univ. of Southern California. He has received the International Fellow of U.K. Royal Academy of Engineering; Presidential Faculty Fellows Award from the White House; IEEE Sumner Award; Guggenheim, Packard, and Fulbright Foundation Fellowships; OSA Forman Engineering Excellence Award; IEEE Photonics Society Engineering Achievement Award; SPIE President's Award; IEEE Globecom Best Paper Award; Eddy Best Contributed Technical Paper Award from Pennwell; and Fellow of National Academy of Inventors. He is Fellow of AAAS, IEEE, OSA, and SPIE. Prof. Willner has been Co-Chair of the U.S. National Academies Study on Optics and Photonics; President-Elect of OSA; President of IEEE Photonics Society; Editor-in-Chief of Optics Letters of Journal of Lightwave Technology; and General Co-Chair of CLEO. Prof. Willner has >1100 publications, primarily in optical communications and signal processing.