Asia Communications and Photonics Conference (ACP) is the largest conference in Asia-Pacific region with a focus on optical communications, photonics and optoelectronics. ACP was merged from APOC and AOE, and it has been held annually tracing back to 2001. ACP is jointly sponsored by OPTICA, SPIE, IEEE Photonics Society, COS and CIC. There were more than 800 registrations at ACP 2021, which was hold in Shanghai, China. The conference venue is located at the beautiful bund of the Huangpu river.

An outlook from the conference venue.

Plenary Session

Following the ACP opening speech by Prof. Connie-Hasnain Chang, the Plenary Session took place on Monday morning, 25 October 2021. It featured four presentations by world-renowned speakers from both academia and industry. The session was presided by Prof. Ping Perry Shum from Southern University of Science and Technology and Prof. Daoxin Dai from Zhejiang University. The first speaker, Prof. Ruxin Li from ShanghaiTech University, delivered the presentation titled “The free-electron laser based on a laser accelerator”. He reported their recent ground-breaking experimental demonstration of the undulator radiation amplification in the exponential gain regime using LWFA-based electron beams. The following three online presentations were delivered by Dr. Xiang Liu from Huawei Hong Kong Research Center, Prof. Shanhui Fan from Stanford University, and Prof. Tobias J. Kippenberg from EPFL. Dr. Liu’s talk, titled “Emerging Optical and Photonic Technologies for Communications and Beyond”, reviewed the global research endeavor to meet the grand technical challenges of the communication capacity limit imposed by the Shannon theorem and the slowing down of the Moore’s law, as well as the broadening application space of the optical and photonic technologies. Prof. Fan’s talk, titled “Explorations of Topological Photonics in Synthetic Dimensions”, focused on their recent inspiring theoretical and elegant experimental efforts in exploring frequency synthetic dimensions, which provides tremendous flexibilities for exploring a wide range of novel topological effects. The plenary session was concluded with Prof. Kippenberg’s talk, titled “Photonic Chip based Frequency Combs”, which reported their recent breakthroughs in optical frequency combs based on dissipative Kerr solitons. All the four presentations were very well received by the full house of onsite and online audience. 

Plenary session of ACP 2021.

Workshop and Industry Forum

Prior to the ACP2021 technical program, the ACP2021 Workshop and Industry Forum took place on 24 October. There are 14 sessions in total to provide opportunities for both academia and industry to discuss and debate the edge-cutting technologies. Each workshop or industry forum consists of a series of short presentations from experts in the relevant field followed by a panel discussion. ACP2021 Workshop topics focus on the hot frontiers of photonic physics and a significant direction of optical technology in recent years, including microcavity frequency combs, space-division multiplexing (SDM), novel routines from fibres to transceivers, AI photonics, exploration of fibre’s ultimate transmission limit in terms of nonlinearity compensation or advanced coded modulation schemes, biophotonic imaging roadmap 2021, heterogeneous photonic integration on silicon, co-integration of photonics and electronics, and a Light: Science & Application entitled workshop in quantum photonics. ACP2021 Industry Forum topics address more about the opportunities, challenges, innovations and solutions to the next generation optical networks from industry side, including all optical service networks, next-generation optical switching and transmission technologies for F5G and beyond, future artificial intelligence optical network toward 2030, silicon photonics integration for beyond 800G pluggable and co-packaged optics applications. All these topics featured enhanced interactions that inspired both the speakers and the audience, connected with academia and industry, and brainstormed the whole photonics community.    

Postdeadline Session

The Postdeadline Session took place on Tuesday afternoon, 26 October, featuring 10 talks out of a total of 31 submissions to the 7 conference tracks, covering selective topics in the general fields of optical communications, integrated photonics, microwave photonics, and sensing. All these presentations were very impressive. For example, Ruowei Yu, et al. from Fudan University presented a smart and elegant multicore fiber reverse-tapering technique for the construction of a fused taper type fan-in and fan-out device with excellent overall performance. Among the innovative and solid experimental demonstrations of optical transmission technologies, Xiang Li, et al. from University of Cambridge remotely presented their bidirectional symmetric 100-Gb/s/λ coherent PON using a simplified ONU transceiver, featuring only 3-dBm LO power and >30-dB power budget with 50-km reach. The session also hosted presentations on smart and novel beam steering demonstrations, among which, Zihan Zang, et al. from Tsinghua University proposed and demonstrated a low-cost diffractive element to achieve wide-angle, two-dimensional, and complex-mode beam steering, breaking the limitations in field of view and flexibility for conventional beam steering by spatial dispersion. Throughout the entire session, the audience were quite interested by the high-quality presentations on top-notch research and interacted actively with the speakers in the Q&A time. 

Best Student Paper Award

The ACP2021 Best Student Paper Award competitions took place on 25 and 26 October. 25 finalists were selected to present their papers to the competition committee and audience in a special conference session. All these presentations were very impressive, and 8 prize winners received the awards and the certificates at the conference Banquet. In the hot area of optical combs, Chun Wang et al. from University of Electronic Science and Technology China presented a mode-locked fiber soliton laser comb using Raman amplified asymmetric Kelly radiation. Hao Hu et al. from Huazhong University of Science and Technology showed a high performance parametric spectro-temporal analyzer assisted by a soliton microcomb. In the integrated photonics field, Long Zhang et al. from Zhejiang University reported a new-generation ultra-low loss silicon multimode photonic waveguide and devices, and in the optical transmission part, Xinyu Chen et al. from Peking University experimentally demonstrated a 240-Gbaud SSB OOK transmitter with a 120-GSa/s DAC. Xiaomin Liu et al. from Shanghai Jiao Tong University explored the grey-box model for estimating nonlinear SNR in optical networks using physics guided neural networks. All the shortlisted students gave high-quality presentations of their research with confidence, and well interacted with the audience and committee members.

Best student paper award session at the conference banquet.

Student Events

Since 2018, IEEE photonics society sponsored student events such as menter/mentee pairings, “how to write and review paper”  and python hackathon have added into the ACP program. Two student events were present and reformatted this year to cope with the pandemic as many international professionals couldn’t attend the conference in-person. The 1st event is named “Wechat Study Group” designed to help students expand their professional networks while talking with the peers working at similar topics during the conference. Five study groups covering the optics from photonic integration to optical networks were formed and maintained by student volunteers. We hope to keep the study groups as a long-term study and information exchange platform.

The 2nd event was scheduled into two sessions where in total 13 international industry leaders and distinguished researchers from China Mobile, Alibaba, Kuaishou Technology, OFS laboratories, Microsoft, Bytedance, University of Cambridge, Huawei, Nokia Bell Labs, ADVA, AIST, NICT and IMEC were invited to give a 10-minute either on-site or on-line presentation to address the questions such as key factors in personal career development, major differences between research in a career and in industry and how to achieve a successful transition from a researcher to a manager. Invited senior professionals who work abroad also shared their overseas living experience and provided valuable information about abroad study and research opportunities to the students. Dr. Nan Ye from Shanghai University and Dr. Bin Chen from Hefei University of Technology co-presided the event on-site and facilitated a lively Q&A session with simulating discussion. Feedback collected from the students who attended the events in-person:

2D barcodes for joining in each wechat study group.

Mengfan Fu (from Shanghai Jiaotong University ,SJTU): In the ACP student event, several leaders and researchers introduced their labs and shared their experiences with us, which inspired me a lot. They also provided some suggestions about how to be a good engineer or researcher, from which I benefited a lot. In addition, we also had a chance to communicate with peers. I really enjoyed this event!

Ruihuan Zhang (SJTU): I would like to thanks the invitees very much for their selfless and detailed sharing. They let me know that interest is the most important thing when we need to make a choice, and then we should keep loving and sticking to it to make a success.

Yetian Huang (Shanghai University, SHU): It’s my honor to attend this Student Event with the outstanding invitees. From their experiences and insights, an excellent researcher should be willing to be open, inclusive, innovate and keeping learning. They also told us that the most important thing in research is interest and maintaining love, as well as the courage to try.

Invited speakers at Session 1.
Invited speakers at Session 2.

Hanzi Huang (SHU): I am very grateful and honored to have the opportunity to hear from and interact with industry leaders and distinguished researchers in photonics and optical communication industry at the ACP 2021 Student Events. I am deeply impressed by the professional spirit and determined desire to benefit human society displayed by the high-level professionals in attendance and I note that they are extremely pleased to help students and young researchers to develop their careers. Many thanks to the organizers for this wonderful event!

Jie Wang (Tianjing University, TJU): Through this student event, I learned about the career paths of some outstanding industry leaders, and got a lot of meaningful suggestions about my future career path choices or further study. It has provided great help for my future career development.

Weicheng Chen (TJU): I learned about the career development paths of some distinguished researchers and excellent industrial talents during the student event. These extremely valuable experiences will greatly contribute to my future career development.

On-site presentation delivered by Yunbo Li from Research Institution of China Mobile.
Virtual  presentation delivered by Binbin Guan from Microsoft USA.
Virtual presentation delivered by Paikun Zhu from National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT), Japan.
Group picture for the event local organizers and student volunteers.