The demand for high-speed and highly efficient optical communication techniques has been rapidly growing due to the ever-increasing volume of data traffic. As well as the digital coherent communication used for core and metro networks, intensity modulation and direct detection (IM-DD) are still promising schemes in intra/inter data centers thanks to their low latency, high reliability, and good cost performance. In this work, we study a microresonator-based frequency comb as a potential light source for future IM-DD optical systems where applications may include replacing individual stabilized lasers with a continuous laser driven microresonator. Regarding comb line powers and spectral intervals, we compare a modulation instability comb and a soliton microcomb and provide a quantitative analysis with regard to telecom applications. Our experimental demonstration achieved a forward error correction (FEC) free operation of bit-error rate (BER) <10−9 with a 1.45 Tbps capacity using a total of 145 lines over the entire C-band and revealed the possibility of soliton microcomb-based ultra-dense wavelength division multiplexing (WDM) with a simple, cost-effective IM-DD scheme, with a view to future practical use in data centers.
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