Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Discovery cuts cost of next generation optical fibres

18.01.2008
Scientists have discovered a way of speeding up the production of hollow-core optical fibres - a new generation of optical fibres that could lead to faster and more powerful computing and telecommunications technologies.

The procedure, described today in the journal Optics Express, cuts the production time of hollow-core optical fibres from around a week to a single day, reducing the overall cost of fabrication.

Initial tests show that the fibre is also superior in virtually every respect to previous versions of the technology, making it an important step in the development of new technologies that use light instead of electrical circuits to carry information.These technologies include faster optical telecommunications, more powerful and accurate laser machining, and the cheaper generation of x-ray or ultra-violet light for use in biomedical and surgical optics.

“This is a major improvement in the development of hollow-core fibre technology,” said Professor Jonathan Knight from the Centre for Photonics & Photonic Materials in the Department of Physics at the University of Bath.

“In standard optical fibres, light travels in a small cylindrical core of glass running down the fibre length.

“The fact that light has to travel through glass limits them in many ways. For example, the glass can be damaged if there is too much light.

“Also, the glass causes short pulses of light to spread out in a blurring effect that makes them less well defined. This limits its usefulness in telecommunications and other applications.

“Hence, fibres in which light travels in air down a hollow core hold great promise for a next generation of optical fibres with performance enhanced in many ways.”

The problem in developing hollow-core fibres is that only a special sort of optical fibre can guide light down an air hole. They use a two-dimensional pattern of tiny holes in the glass around the core to trap the light within the core itself.

The highly detailed nature of these fibres means that they have been difficult to fabricate and they can only work for a limited range of wavelengths.However, the new procedure developed by the Bath photonics group shows how a tiny change to these fibres – narrowing the wall of glass around the large central hole by just a hundred nanometres (a 10 millionth of a metre) – broadens the range of wavelengths which can be transmitted.

They achieved this by omitting some of the most difficult steps in the fabrication procedure, reducing the time required to make the fibres from around a week to a single day.

The improved fibre was developed as part of a European Commission-funded Framework 6 project ‘NextGenPCF’ for applications in gas sensing.

However, the superior performance of the fibre means that it could have a significant impact in a range of fields such as laser design and pulsed beam delivery, spectroscopy, biomedical and surgical optics, laser machining, the automotive industry and space science.

“The consequences of being able to use light rather than electrical circuits to carry information will be fundamental,” said Professor Knight.“It will make optical fibres many times more powerful and brings the day when information technology will consist of optical devices rather than less efficient electronic circuits much closer.

“For biomedical research, we can use these fibres to deliver light for diagnosis or surgery anywhere – even deep inside the body.

“Almost any device where light is important or can be used, photonic crystal fibres can make more efficient, sensitive and powerful.”

Andrew McLaughlin | alfa
Further information:
http://www.bath.ac.uk/news/2008/1/17/hollow-core.html

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Smart Computers
21.08.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

nachricht AI implications: Engineer's model lays groundwork for machine-learning device
18.08.2017 | Washington University in St. Louis

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

What the world's tiniest 'monster truck' reveals

23.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Treating arthritis with algae

23.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Witnessing turbulent motion in the atmosphere of a distant star

23.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>