One Chip Could Replace a Thousand Lasers

illustraA Jeep Can Replace Thousand Lasers
illustraCan Replace A Chip Bin Laser - This image shows a micro ring resonator with a built-in heater element needed to generate the frequency comb. The light pulse moving inside the microring resonator is shown in the red graph. PHOTONICS OF NATURE

A record-breaking optical chip could send 1.8 petabits per second — 1.8 million gigabits — or nearly twice as much data sent over the entire global Internet in a single second, according to new research.

Previous studies have used fiber optics to move data at speeds of up to 10,66 petabits per second. But these tests depended on large electronics. Smaller footprints, cheaper costs and less energy use can be achieved with a small microchip-based method that allows for mass production. The fastest optical microprocessor to this point can accommodate data rates of 661 terabits per second (661.000 gigabits).

The new technology produces a variety of rainbow hues using light from a single infrared laser. The device is known as a frequency comb because all the light frequencies produced are separated from each other with a fixed precise frequency, just like the teeth of the comb. Each frequency can operate independently and have features such as changing its amplitude according to the transport data. The frequencies can then be collected and sent simultaneously using fiber optics.

Leif Katsuo Oxenlwe, an optical communications researcher at the Technical University of Denmark, is the senior author of the study. “Many groups around the world have proven that frequency combs can be used to transmit data instead of using individual lasers.”

The wavelength of light emitted by the new microchip ranges from 1.530 to 1.610 nanometers. These fall into the C and L telecommunications frequency bands, which are two of the five wavelength bands with the lowest transmission loss for optical fibers.

In tests, the researchers used 7,9 wavelength channels to generate 1,84 petabits per second through a 223-kilometer-long optical fiber. According to Oxenlwe, the maximum amount of data a single frequency comb can contain has been examined for the first time.

The researchers estimate that 1.000 lasers would be needed to achieve this data rate with standard equipment. Therefore, the new semiconductor can significantly reduce Internet power usage. According to Oxenlwe, “you can save a thousand lasers from your energy budget.”

Also, according to a computational model the researchers created to explore the possibilities of frequency combing, a single chip can achieve data rates of up to 100 petabits per second if connected to a cable containing multiple fibers. Scaling to such numbers is certainly possible, according to Oxenlwe. “Right now you can buy cables with hundreds of fibers to carry large amounts of data in data centers.”

According to the researchers, they achieve this staggering data rate by making several copies of a single frequency comb and optically amplifying their signal. As a result, Oxenlwe claims, “the power and potential of frequency combs is much greater than I think most comb fans dare to even imagine.”

According to Oxenlwe, further research could incorporate elements such as lasers, data modulators and amplifiers onto the optical chip.

Source: spectrum – Charles Q. Choi

Günceleme: 06/11/2022 16:29

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