The Laboratory of Optics and Photonics, located in the earth of the historical city of L’Aquila, gives access to a living testbed for experiments in the area of optical communications and photonics. It relies on the unique fiber-optic infrastructure developed within project INCIPICT. This infrastructure includes two optical rings. The shorter ring of about 6 km is deployed in the urban underground multi-service tunnel and consists of about 100 km of three types of multi-core fibers for Space-Division Multiplexed (SDM) transmission: four-core coupled-core (about 70 km) and uncoupled-core (about 20 km) fibers for medium-to-long reach, and eight-core uncoupled-core fibers for short reach (about 10 km). The longer ring of about 20 km consists of about 200 km of multi-mode fibers for SDM able to support up to fifteen spatial modes, as well as of several thousands of single-mode fibers. The capacity of both rings can be further increased through the deployment of additional fibers.
INCIPCT’s fiber-optic infrastructure is the world-first installation of fibers for SDM transmission, one of the most promising approaches to scale the capacity of existing photonic networks. Its main mission is to support the experimentation of a wide range of schemes and technologies for fiber-optic transmission, including secure transmission based on classic and quantum cryptography, an active research area of increasing interest.