Interview with Fellows

“I plan to start an independent career as a scientific leader in the new line of research”. Interview with MULTIPLY Fellow Vitor Ribeiro

Vitor Ribeiro made his PhD with a grant awarded by the Portuguese Foundation for science and technology in optical signal processing and performance monitoring for optical networks in 2015. Later he joined Chalmers University of Technology to start studying parametric amplification in the photonics laboratory of MC2 department.

In 2018 Dr. Vitor Ribeiro joined Aston University as a MULTIPLY Fellow to study several challenging aspects of parametric amplification such as polarization, nonlinear crosstalk, and broadband parametric amplification. The title of his project is Polarization and four-wave mixing interaction in phase-sensitive and insensitive amplifiers. Vitor told us about his MULTIPLY project and research group led by Prof. Nick Doran at Aston University.

Why did you want to be the MULTIPLY Fellow and work at Aston University with Prof.Nick Doran?
First Multiply is a very flexible and appealing scheme. It gives the researcher the opportunity to develop his ideas almost without strings attached, except those that are the objectives of the research you are undertaking. At the time of the application process, I was working at the Chalmers University of Technology and I made an informal enquiry with the university in order to see what were the possibilities to develop the ideas I was interested in, and I was informed that if my proposal would be accepted I would be working under the supervision of Prof.Nick Doran at Aston University. I submitted my proposal and a few months later I was informed it was highly ranked.

Why is your research important? What are the possible real-world applications?
Without being much philosophic, obviously, research fellowships start always to first be important for the fellow, i.e., it pays his salaries and gives his family the opportunity to have a better life and impacts indirectly or directly positively several people just by doing that (this should be a given, however, I think it worth’s to stress this). Second, the researcher hopes that his research has an impact in making peoples life a bit better and have a small but significant impact in mankind history. I hope that in the near future I can possibly help to introduce a new type of amplifiers that can in theory improve fiber capacity by the theoretical factor of 16x. This will give plenty of time for the people working in this scientific field to think about how to make the next technological breakthrough.

How different is what you did during the project from what was written in the proposal?
I started the project with the objective to study polarization effects in fiber optical parametric amplifiers (FOPA) at both a theoretical and experimental level and the final idea of the project was to develop a scheme to accommodate both polarizations of the signal in the FOPA, with polarization diversity schemes or other. During the project, it has occurred some divergence in terms of the objectives of the project and I ended up publishing theoretical findings in dispersion fluctuations and nonlinear crosstalk in FOPA. At the end of the project in collaboration with the University of Lille, I published experimental work showing an alternative way to make a polarization diversity FOPA using a dual-core FOPA. All the process was very long it took more than two years since the starting of the design of the fiber, it’s manufacturing, and going to the lab and make the first experiments, all of this with COVID-19 restrictions in place. I coordinated the effort from the Aston side. I want to give a special thanks to my colleague Aron Szabo (also a MULTIPLY Fellow) which got involved in the process and gave a very significant contribution. The results were published in OFC and clearly hits the initial target of the project. This open a new line of investigation and another publication was submitted and another is being written. I am very pleased that during my career I never missed a project target.

Has your area of ​​interest changed or expanded due to the work on the project?
Yes, it has expanded in the sense that my knowledge is much wider than 3 years ago. I got more tuned to the applications of FOPA to WDM systems since this is one of the expertizes of the research group led by Prof. Nick Doran. A special thanks to Dr. Vladimir Gordienko and Dr. Chandra Gaur which helped me on this matter. Also, I want to thank Dr. Filipe Ferreira (now at UCL) for encouraging me to continue my Chalmers studies in dual-core FOPA. I also entered in contact with scientific leaders and experts at Aston in nonlinear fiber optics research which gave me the opportunity to know other aspects of the field.

Do you have any plans and goals for the future?
Yes, I plan to start an independent career as a scientific leader in the new line of research that I deeply hope will make all the investment of the MULTIPLY funding on me (money from tax payers that I deeply respect), return several times. Moreover, I just got informed that I was elevated to Senior Member of OSA and I am deeply honored to receive that distinction. Thanks, MULTIPLY!