[Media Release] Research at the University of Electro-Communications demonstrates a high power supply over the same fibre used for data transmission.
January 19, 2016
Increasing data use is placing greater demands on the radio antenna units that transmit data to mobile devices. Supplying power to these antenna units by the same optical fibre systems that transmit data signals to them could improve and simplify these infrastructures if the power supplied this way can be increased. Now Motoharu Matsuura, Hidehito Furugori and Jun Sato at the University of Electro-Communications have demonstrated the ability to supply 60 W over a 300 m test fibre system, exceeding the power supplied in previous work and emphasising the potential of the approach.
Power supply over fibre is limited by the power transmission efficiency, which is impeded by the large fraction of power fed into the optical link that is lost as heat during transmission. As a result, restrictions on power feed levels are needed to prevent waste heat damaging optical components in the link.
Matsuura and colleagues had demonstrated that they could bundle together two multimode fibres for transmitting power with a double clad fibre for transmitting the data. This bundle was tapered and fused to a double clad fibre output. However, power was lost in the tapered fibre bundle divider due to the lower cross-sectional area occupied by fibre in the cluster bundle. As a result the overall power transmission efficiency was only 20% limiting the power that could be fed into the link to just 40W.
Increasing the number of multimode power-carrying fibres to six optimised the cross-sectional area of fibre in the bundle cluster without introducing other limitations, thereby maximising the power transmission efficiency. In their report the researchers conclude, “These results demonstrate that optical feed systems using double-clad fibres have high potential for practical use in future small-cell mobile communications.”
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