Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Photonics: Better optical fiber networks

24.02.2011
A new architecture for optical fiber networks promises more cost-efficient fiber-optic networks for the consumer market

The household demand for increased internet bandwidth has grown tremendously because of the popularity of data-intensive internet activities such as movie streaming. Conventional copper telephone lines struggle to meet this demand, and modern optical fiber networks connecting the homes of consumers to the network backbone are becoming necessary.

Jing Zhang and co-workers at the A*STAR Institute of Microelectronics have now demonstrated a network scheme that considerably reduces the cost of fiber-optic installations and could make them more attractive for consumer use[1].

A key component of any optical fiber network is the laser that transmits information down the fiber. Unlike the silicon-based electronic circuits that control the data flow through the network, these lasers are made from semiconductor materials other than silicon, which is a poor light-emitter. This makes integrating lasers with silicon electronic circuits cumbersome and expensive, and so reducing the number of lasers in the network could substantially lower the cost of connecting users to the internet.

One widely adopted scheme for reducing the number of expensive lasers in the network is to transmit data to multiple homes at once using a single laser, with a transmission protocol ensuring that the correct data packet is sent to the correct user. Yet although this configuration reduces the number of lasers considerably, each connected household still needs a laser to send data back the other way.

The network architecture proposed by Zhang and his co-workers eliminates the laser at the consumer end. Instead, they propose using two strands of optical fiber: one to transmit data to the consumer as usual and another to send a continuous laser beam to all linked consumers. An integrated silicon chip at the consumer end picks up the incoming continuous laser beam, encodes it with the signal intended for back transmission, and then redirects this laser beam back to the internet provider. “Fiber is cheaper than lasers, particularly as it can be used for more than 20 years once it is installed,” says Zhang.

In their experiment, the researchers also demonstrated the practical viability of this scheme for the operation of commercial fiber-optic networks. They fabricated an integrated silicon circuit for this task and have already achieved successful operation at speeds of up to 10 gigabits per second. “Given the cost benefits, these transceiver devices may significantly accelerate the deployment of optical fiber networks,” says Zhang. “Our work has attracted serious commercial interest for collaboration on the development of silicon photonic transceivers.”

The A*STAR-affiliated researchers contributing to this research are from the Institute of Microelectronics

Journal information

[1] Zhang, J., Liow, T.-Y., Lo, G.-Q. & Kwong, D.-L. 10Gbps monolithic silicon FTTH transceiver without laser diode for a new PON configuration. Optics Express 18, 5135–5141 (2010).

Lee Swee Heng | Research asia research news
Further information:
http://www.research.a-star.edu.sg/research/6281
http://www.researchsea.com

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Measured for the first time: Direction of light waves changed by quantum effect
24.05.2017 | Vienna University of Technology

nachricht Physicists discover mechanism behind granular capillary effect
24.05.2017 | University of Cologne

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

Im Focus: Using graphene to create quantum bits

In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.

In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Physicists discover mechanism behind granular capillary effect

24.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Measured for the first time: Direction of light waves changed by quantum effect

24.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>