Researchers led by Cornell University's Mark Foster report that they have developed a prototype device that could significantly boost the volume of information squeezed into data packets sent over the Web by focusing information-transporting light pulses in time rather than space. The device has successfully increased the data rate of telecoms-wavelength pulses by a factor of 27.
The device employs a silicon waveguide as a temporal lens to compress comparatively long pulses in time by selectively accelerating or decelerating their different components. The combination of a pair of temporal lenses produces a time telescope that can create an image of a standard 10 GHz pulse, bundling the same data into a pulse that is one twenty-seventh the length.
"The primary limitation of this approach right now is the length of the packet that can be compressed," Foster says. "Typical packets used in Internet communications are much longer than 24 bits, therefore extending the time window over which compression occurs is the primary problem to be solved in future generations of this device."
Foster describes the system as potentially lucrative for industrial application because it is robust and has relatively few power requirements. He also notes that the method could dramatically enhance the ultimate time limit of studies of chemical and biological processes.
From BBC News
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