EURO-FOS* has been an FP7 Network of Excellence (NoE) funded by the European Commission and coordinated by the Institute of Communications and Computer Systems of the National Technical University of Athens (ICCS/NTUA). It has formed a powerful cluster of 17 European academic institutes from 12 European countries with expertise in the design, development and testing of photonic components and subsystems that are applicable in high-capacity optical communication networks.
The idea for creating such a network came up with the observation that unlike the case of North America or Japan, the map of European research in photonics technology includes a large number of particularly active but smaller in scale laboratories distributed all over Europe. In this sense, EURO-FOS has represented an ambitious initiative to integrate expertise, equipment and resources from the participating institutes towards the creation of a powerful Pan-European laboratory.
EURO-FOS scientific activities have related to the design, development and testing of advanced subsystems and prototypes through the functional integration of photonic devices, aiming at bridging the gap between research on fundamental device-level physics and developments on the network level of optical communications. Collaboration between the consortium members has focused on four discrete scientific areas including: 1) digital optical transmission systems, 2) optical sources and amplification systems, 3) high-speed optical network subsystems and 4) next-generation optical access subsystems, and this collaboration has been tunnelled through the organisation of joint experimental activities.
The general objectives of the network throughout its lifetime have been:
To reinforce common research thrusts and enable innovation, by clustering top photonic research groups in Europe and integrating researchers by facilitating their exchange and mobility throughout Europe.
To be the enabler of complex and advanced experiments: EURO-FOS has aimed at facilitating shared access to expensive laboratory infrastructures creating “economies of scale” in the validation of photonic subsystems and systems. This has included shared access to state-of-the-art photonic devices and prototypes, shared access to test and measurement equipment, and shared access to advanced test-beds and deployed optical fibre links in Europe.
To strengthen European research scene by creating a mechanism for the consortium members to access photonic devices previously developed or being developed in complementary smaller scale (e.g. STReP/IP) European projects on photonic components. Functional integration of photonic devices from different but complementary projects has been envisaged to create new concepts and ideas through the design and development of novel subsystems. The application of photonic components in cross-disciplinary applications has been envisaged to stimulate further innovation in the development of photonic subsystems. To establish links between academia and industry in the field of photonic sub-systems and. Such links have the potential to enable the channelling of innovation from universities into industry and translate basic research into commercially exploitable technology.
*EURO-FOS: "Pan-European Photonics Task Force: Integrating Europe's Expertise on Photonic Subsystems"
The word "fos" in Greek means "Light"