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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 Assistant 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 2 key areas: Firstly, he is working to maximise the capacity of currently 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 novel 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 key 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 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.

Between 2011 and 2015, Chigo worked on the EU project MODEGAP, 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. Chigo is a Technical program committee member for European conference on optical communications (ECOC) since 2014. In 2018, he is 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 180 publications in conferences and journals.

Education/Academic qualification

Electrical engineering, Doctor, University of Essex

1 Feb 20051 Feb 2009

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Projects 2008 2020


van Hout, J., Tafur Monroy, I., Tafur Monroy, I., Kurtic - Brajic, M., Kurtic - Brajic, M., Witteveen, F., Johannsen, U., Okonkwo, C., Raddo, T. & Kiss, D.


Project: Research direct

NLCAP: Multi-dimensional coded modulation for Maximizing NonLinear CAPacity in the Optical Channel

Okonkwo, C., Alvarado, A., Chen, B., Croes, S., Moerenhout, M. & Moerenhout, M.


Project: Research direct

METRO High bandwidth, 5G Application-aware optical network

Calabretta, N., Okonkwo, C., van Hout, J., Calabretta, N., Moerenhout, M., Moerenhout, M., Yan, F. & Cavalcanti Magalhães, E.


Project: Research direct

Testbed Setup with ECI

Okonkwo, C., Calabretta, N., Croes, S., Moerenhout, M. & Moerenhout, M.


Project: Research direct

Collaborative Research Agreement TU/e - ETRI

Koonen, T., Okonkwo, C., van Hout, J., Surya, B. & Surya, B.


Project: Research direct

Research Output 2006 2019

Beyond 5G - wireless data center connectivity

Rommel, S., Raddo, T. R., Johannsen, U., Okonkwo, C. & Tafur Monroy, I., 1 Feb 2019, Proceedings of SPIE: Broadband Access Communication Technologies XIII. SPIE, Vol. 10945, 10 p. 109450M

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review

Open Access
Millimeter waves
Optical fibers
Wireless networks

Chromatic dispersion analysis and compensation in a large core-count few-mode multi-core fiber based on optical vector network analysis

van Weerdenburg, J., Rommel, S., Delgado Mendinueta, J. M., Klaus, W., Sakaguchi, J., Vegas Olmos, J. J., Koonen, T., Awaji, Y., Tafur Monroy, I., Okonkwo, C. & Wada, N., 4 Mar 2019, Optical Fiber Communication Conference. Optical Society of America (OSA), p. 1 3 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review

network analysis

Polarization-ring-switching for nonlinearity-tolerant geometrically-shaped four-dimensional formats maximizing generalized mutual information

Chen, B., Okonkwo, C., Hafermann, H. & Alvarado, A., 21 Jan 2019, In : arXiv. 11 p., 1901.06878v1

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademic

Open Access

112-Gbit/sλ PAM4 transmission enabled by a negatively-chirped InP-MZ modulator

Albores-Mejía, A., Van Der Heide, S., Sadiq, M. U., Tahvili, S., Okonkwo, C. & Docter, B., 24 Apr 2018, 43rd European Conference on Optical Communication, ECOC 2017. Piscataway: Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), p. 1-3 3 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review

Digital signal processing
Data communication systems
Compensation and Redress


Asia Communications and Photonics Conference(ACP) 2018 Best Paper Award

Bin Chen (Recipient), Yi Lei (Recipient), Domaniç Lavery (Recipient), Chigo Okonkwo (Recipient) & Alex Alvarado (Recipient), 28 Nov 2018

Recognition: OtherCareer, activity or publication related prizes (lifetime, best paper, poster etc.)Scientific

Adaptive modulation

European Conference on Optical Communications (ECOC) 2018 Student Paper Award

Sjoerd van der Heide (Recipient), John van Weerdenburg (Recipient) & Chigo Okonkwo (Recipient), 27 Sep 2018

Recognition: OtherCareer, activity or publication related prizes (lifetime, best paper, poster etc.)Scientific

optical communication

Activities 2015 2018

  • 2 Contributed talk
  • 1 Hosting an academic visitor

A.M. Velázquez-Benítez

Chigo Okonkwo (Host)
6 Oct 2018

Activity: Hosting a visitor typesHosting an academic visitorScientific

High density space division multiplexed transmission systems

Chigo Okonkwo (Speaker)
13 May 2015

Activity: Talk or presentation typesContributed talkScientific

Towards Higher Density Space Division Multiplexed Transmission Systems

Chigo Okonkwo (Speaker)
21 Nov 2015

Activity: Talk or presentation typesContributed talkScientific


Research set-up

1/09/18 → …


Press / Media

Photonic Integration and Transmission Systems for the Future Internet

Chigo Okonkwo


1 media contribution

Press/Media: Public Engagement Activities

Hoe machtig zijn Nature en Science?

Chigo Okonkwo


1 media contribution

Press/Media: Public Engagement Activities

Researchers push 255 Tbps over multi-core fiber

Chigo Okonkwo


1 item of media coverage

Press/Media: Expert Comment

Meer glasvezel per kabel, dankzij handige gaatjes

Chigo Okonkwo


1 media contribution

Press/Media: Public Engagement Activities

255 Terabits/s: Researchers demonstrate record data transmission over new type of fiber

Chigo Okonkwo


1 media contribution

Press/Media: Public Engagement Activities