Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Better lasers for optical communications

12.04.2011
A new laser procedure could boost optical fiber communications; this technique could become essential for the future expansion of the Internet. It also opens up new frontiers in basic research

Long-distance, high speed communications depend on lasers. But when information is transmitted down fiber optic cables, it's critical that the signal be clear enough to be decoded at the other end.

Two factors are important in this respect: the color of the light, otherwise known as the wavelength, and the orientation of the light wave, known as polarization. A team from EPFL and the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (EMPA) has developed a technique that improves control over these two parameters.

"All indications are that this technology could be useful at both industrial and scientific levels," explains Eli Kapon, head of EPFL's Laboratory of Physics of Nanostructures. More than fifteen years of research were required to arrive at this result, work that "has caused many headaches and demanded significant investment."

To obtain the right wavelength, the EPFL researchers adapted the lasers' size. In parallel, the EMPA scientists designed a nanometer-scale grating for the emitter in order to control the light's polarization. They were able to achieve this feat by vaporizing long molecules containing gold atoms with a straw-like tool operating above the lasers.

Using an electron microscope, they were able to arrange and attach gold particles to the surface of each laser with extreme precision. Thus deposited, the grating serves as a filter for polarizing the light, much like the lenses of sunglasses are used to polarize sunlight.

Industrial and scientific advantages

This technique, developed in collaboration with EMPA, has many advantages. It allows a high-speed throughput of several gigabits a second with reduced transmission errors. The lasers involved are energy-efficient, consuming up to ten times less than their traditional counterparts, thanks to their small size. The technique is very precise and efficient, due to the use of the electron microscope.

"This progress is very satisfying," adds Kapon, who also outlines some possible applications. "These kinds of lasers are also useful for studying and detecting gases using spectroscopic methods. We will thus make gains in precision by improving detector sensitivity."

Links:
http://lpn.epfl.ch/
http://lpn.epfl.ch/research/index_1.php?research_no=7
http://www.empa.ch/
Source:
Ivo Utke, Martin G. Jenke, Christian Röling, Peter H. Thiesen, Vladimir Iakovlev, Alexei Sirbu, Alexandru Mereuta, Andrei Caliman and Eli Kapon, Polarisation stabilisation of vertical cavity surface emitting lasers by minimally invasive focused electron beam triggered chemistry, Nanoscale, 2011.

http://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlelanding/2011/nr/c1nr10047e

Prof. Eli Kapon | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.epfl.ch

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Equipping form with function
23.06.2017 | Institute of Science and Technology Austria

nachricht Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity
23.06.2017 | Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Equipping form with function

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>