Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Better lasers for optical communications

Date:
April 12, 2011
Source:
Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne
Summary:
A new laser procedure could boost optical fiber communications. The technique could become essential for the future expansion of the Internet, and it also opens up new frontiers in basic research.

Grating's design on lasers.
Credit: © EMPA / EPFL

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."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Ivo Utke, Martin G. Jenke, Christian Röling, Peter H. Thiesen, Vladimir Iakovlev, Alexei Sirbu, Alexandru Mereuta, Andrei Caliman, Eli Kapon. Polarisation stabilisation of vertical cavity surface emitting lasers by minimally invasive focused electron beam triggered chemistry. Nanoscale, 2011; DOI: 10.1039/C1NR10047E

Cite This Page:

Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. "Better lasers for optical communications." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 April 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110412065804.htm>.
Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. (2011, April 12). Better lasers for optical communications. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110412065804.htm
Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. "Better lasers for optical communications." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110412065804.htm (accessed September 1, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Monday, September 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Australian Airlines Relax Phone Ban Too

Australian Airlines Relax Phone Ban Too

Reuters - Business Video Online (Aug. 26, 2014) — Qantas and Virgin say passengers can use their smartphones and tablets throughout flights after a regulator relaxed a ban on electronic devices during take-off and landing. As Hayley Platt reports the move comes as the two domestic rivals are expected to post annual net losses later this week. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hurricane Marie Brings Big Waves to California Coast

Hurricane Marie Brings Big Waves to California Coast

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 26, 2014) — Huge waves generated by Hurricane Marie hit the Southern California coast. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chinese Researchers Might Be Creating Supersonic Submarine

Chinese Researchers Might Be Creating Supersonic Submarine

Newsy (Aug. 26, 2014) — Chinese researchers have expanded on Cold War-era tech and are closer to building a submarine that could reach the speed of sound. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Breakingviews: India Coal Strained by Supreme Court Ruling

Breakingviews: India Coal Strained by Supreme Court Ruling

Reuters - Business Video Online (Aug. 26, 2014) — An acute coal shortage is likely to be aggravated as India's supreme court declared government coal allocations illegal, says Breakingviews' Peter Thal Larsen. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins