Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Light sheds on new fibre's potential to change technology

Photonic crystal fibre’s ability to create broad spectra of light, which will be the basis for important developments in technology, has been explained for the first time in an article in the leading science journal Nature-Photonics.

The fibre can change a pulse of light with a narrow range of wavelengths into a spectrum hundreds of times broader and ranging from visible light to the infra-red. This is called a supercontinuum.

This supercontinuum is one of the most exciting areas of applied physics today and the ability to create it easily will have a significant effect on technology.

This includes telecommunications, where optical systems hundreds of times more efficient than existing types will be created because signals can be transmitted and processed at many wavelengths simultaneously.

Supercontinua generated in photonic crystal fibres also help to create optical clocks which are so accurate that they lose or gain only a second every million years. Two physicists based in the US and Germany shared the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2005 for work in this area.

Despite these applications, the mechanism behind supercontinuum generation has remained unclear, which has stopped physicists from being even more precise in using it.

But researchers at the University of Bath have now discovered the reason for much of the broadening of the spectrum.

Dr Dmitry Skryabin and Dr Andrey Gorbach, of the Centre for Photonics and Photonic Materials in the Department of Physics, found that the generation of light across the entire visible spectrum was caused by an interaction between conventional pulse of lights and what are called solitons, special light waves that maintain their shape as they travel down the fibre.

The researchers found that the pulses of light sent down the fibre get struck behind the solitons as both pass down the fibre, because the solitons slow down as they move. This barrier caused by the solitons forces the light pulses to shorten their wavelength and so become bluer, just as the solitons’ wavelength lengthens, becoming redder. This dual effect creates the broadened spectrum.

“One of the most startling effects of the photonic crystal fibre is its ability to create a strong bright spectrum of visible and infra red light from a very brief pulse of light,” said Dr Skryabin.

“We have never fully understood exactly why this happens until our research showed how the pulse of light is slowed down and blocked by other activity in the fibre, forcing it to shorten its wavelength.

“Until now the creation and manipulation of the supercontinua in photonic crystal fibres have been done in an ad-hoc way without knowing exactly why different effects are observed. But now we should be able to be much more precise when using it.”

Dr Skryabin believes that the interaction between light pulses and solitons has similarities with the way gravity acts on objects.

See Related Links for more on the research carried out in the Centre for Photonics and Photonic Materials.

Tony Trueman | alfa
Further information:

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Gamma ray camera offers new view on ultra-high energy electrons in plasma
28.10.2016 | American Physical Society

nachricht Scientists measure how ions bombard fusion device walls
28.10.2016 | American Physical Society

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: Novel light sources made of 2D materials

Physicists from the University of Würzburg have designed a light source that emits photon pairs. Two-photon sources are particularly well suited for tap-proof data encryption. The experiment's key ingredients: a semiconductor crystal and some sticky tape.

So-called monolayers are at the heart of the research activities. These "super materials" (as the prestigious science magazine "Nature" puts it) have been...

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Prototype device for measuring graphene-based electromagnetic radiation created

28.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Gamma ray camera offers new view on ultra-high energy electrons in plasma

28.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

When fat cells change their colour

28.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>