Breaking the optical transmission barriers

Develop a breakthrough solution to overcome the current limitations in the area of point-to-point, optical transmission systems.


The goal of this prize was the development of a breakthrough solution in the area of point-to-point optical fibre transmission, to overcome the current limitations of long distance fibre transmission systems. The €500,000 award for optical transmission went to the PHOTONMAP project led by Department of Photonics Engineering, Technical University of Denmark.

Their solution is based around ultra-high capacity fibres, which can transmit information over thousands of kilometres, with significant energy and cost savings compared to state of the art commercial systems. The Department of Photonics Engineering, Technical University of Denmark (DK) as coordinator, teamed up with University of Southampton(UK ) and Fujikura Ltd (JP) to submit the winning entry of the breaking the optical transmission barriers Horizon Prize, PHOTONMAP.

Breaking the optical transmission barriers

The PHOTONMAP solution suggests to break the optical transmission barriers by building optical communication systems based on high-count, single-mode, multi-core fibre (HC-SM-MCF) for long-haul transmission, which can achieve orders of magnitude more capacity than the state-of-the-art commercial transmission system. This is an innovative solution in terms of transmission capacity, transmission reach, energy saving, which also offers low complexity, low cost and better integration.

Six applications were competing to win the prize. A high-level expert group with five independent, leading experts in the optical field evaluated the applications. The prize was awarded by Commissioner G.H. Oettinger on November 9th, 2016 during the 2nd Global 5G Event in Rome, Italy.

Rules & Guidance

Who can join the contest?

The contest will be open to SMEs or non-profit organisations established in an EU Member State or in countries associated with Horizon 2020, the EU's research and innovation programme, acting alone or together with other entities which are part of the same team.

How will your application be evaluated?

Once the contest is closed, a high level jury will evaluate all eligible entries against the following general award criteria:

  • The solution, inter alia a scaled-down system or sub-system experimental demonstrator, is arrived at and evaluated by the contestant(s), with a substantial part based on experimental results, that proves without doubt that the claims translate into end-to-end transmission systems.
  • The solution demonstrates a significant improvement over the state of the art technologies in terms of:
    • Capacity per single fibre. As a minimum, this should go beyond [target to be specified in the Rules of Contest] already achieved in labs;
    • Spectrum range and/or spectral efficiency;
    • Reach (without optoelectronic re-generators). As a minimum, this should target at least [target to be specified in the Rules of Contest] km
  • The contestants(s) provide evidence of the energy efficiency and economic viability of the solution, including the ease of installation and deployment

The prize will be awarded to the application that demonstrates the best solution to the challenge whilst meeting the award criteria. The solution should be both developed by the contestant and be novel.

Read the detailed rules of the contest


For more information or any questions you might have please Contact us