Personal profile


Over 99% of all data generated will go through an optical fibre. Optical transmission systems form the foundation of the Internet and are slowly running out of capacity. We need a paradigm shift in how we design and test our systems to develop next-generation low-energy, robust and high capacity photonic networks

Research profile

Chigo Okonkwo is an Associate Professor leading the high capacity optical transmission laboratory of the Electro-Optical Communications Group at the Institute for Photonics Integration, TU/e. He currently works on two key areas: Firstly, he is working to maximise the capacity of presently deployed single-mode fibre systems by employing advanced-coded modulation schemes and Probabilistic/Geometrically shaped signals and low complexity digital signal processing. More importantly, he is working on future proof transmission systems based on Space Division Multiplexing, and developing the new optical components required to scale the capacity of the optical transmission systems towards Petabit/s transmission. This can be done by exploiting the various spatial channel of a multi-mode fibre or multi-core fibre.

Chigo’s research is also focused on the development of new measurement systems, and his work has led to a provisional patent and several critical publications in Nature Photonics, JLT and Optics Express. Since 2010, Chigo has built up a world-class high capacity optical transmission laboratory and collaborates with several industrial partners.

Academic background

Chigo Okonkwo graduated in 2002 with a Masters Honours degree in Telecommunications and Information systems at University of Essex, United Kingdom. After earning his PhD in Optical signal processing at the University of Essex, he joined COBRA TU/e as a Post-doctoral researcher in 2010. In that period, he worked on schemes and architectures for High Capacity In-Building and Dynamic Optical Access Networks within the EU ICT projects (ALPHA, POF-PLUS and EURO-FOS) and a joint research framework project with South Korean research organization ETRI. Since 2014, he is tenured at the Department of Electrical Engineering.

Between 2011 and 2015, Chigo worked on the EU project MODEGAP, and his research focuses on Ultra-high capacity space division multiplexed transmission systems. From advanced multi-dimensional modulation formats to the optical and digital signal processing schemes required for such systems. Since 2018, Chigo is a member of the Center for Quantum Materials and Technology (QT/e) working to advance the National agenda on Quantum secure communications.

Chigo is a Technical program committee member for European conference on optical communications (ECOC) since 2014. In 2018, he was the Sub Committee Chair for Digital Signal Processing track at ECOC and the General Chair for OSA Advanced photonics congress conference on signal processing for photonics. As a Senior Member of the professional organization IEEE, he serves as a reviewer and has (co)authored more than 200 publications in conferences and journals.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy

Education/Academic qualification

Electrical engineering, Doctor, Exploiting Optical Signal Processing in Future Optical Networks, University of Essex

1 Feb 20051 Feb 2009

Award Date: 10 May 2010


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