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Eye-Opening Optical Research Projects That Could Supercharge the Internet


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A fiber-optic frequency comb.

A number of research teams are working independently to investigate optical technologies that could make networks faster and more efficient.

Credit: Wikimedia

Several research teams around the world are independently investigating optical technologies that have the potential to make networks--and the Internet--faster and more efficient.

"Extending reach and/or capacity of the fiber-optic network is essential to accommodate growth," says Nikola Alic, a photonics researcher at the University of California's Qualcomm Institute in San Diego. Alic's research team recently developed a method of increasing the maximum power at which optical signals can be sent through optical fibers, thereby lengthening the maximum distance the signals can travel. The approach could boost the data transmission rates of the fiber-optic cables used by the Internet and other types of networks.

Universite Laval professor Wei Shi and colleagues have developed a new type of tunable filter with the aim of integrating the device into a photonic chip. Tunable filters are key components in high-capacity optical networks.

Meanwhile, Radan Slavik from the University of Southampton's Optoelectronics Research Center and colleagues say they have developed technology that could replace the costly and power-inefficient external modulators used to generate modulation format signals.

From Network World
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