Tech Horizons

Researchers Demonstrate Faster Data Transmission Over New Kind of Fiber

A team of researchers at universities in Florida and the Netherlands may have developed a new kind of optical fiber that can transmit data at more than 20 times current top speeds.

An article published recently in the online publication Nature Photonics describes research done by a team of scientists from the Eindhoven University of Technology in Eindhoven, Netherlands and the University of Central Florida in Orlando, FL that could lead to a solution to the impending challenge of increasing bandwidth demand throughout the world.

Most research in this area has involved increasing the power of signals delivered over optical glass fibers enough to overcome the losses created by the glass the fibers are manufactured with. However, the team from the two universities may have demonstrated the potential of a new type of fiber that could mitigate the impending “capacity crunch.”

The team, led by Chigo Okonkwo, an assistant professor of electro-optical communications at Eindhoven, and Rodrigo Amezcua Correa, a research assistant professor in micro-structured fibers at Central Florida, said in the Nature Photonics article that they have demonstrated the transmission of data at 255 terabytes per second.

The new type of fiber the team is experimenting with has seven different cores that light can travel through, instead of the one core that most current state-of-the-art fiber has. The researchers compare it to going from a one-way road to a seven-lane highway. At the same time, they are introducing orthogonal dimensions to data transmission – the equivalent of three cars driving on top of each other in the same lane.

Okonkwo from Eindhoven said, “At less than 200 microns in diameter, this fiber does not take noticeably more space than conventional fibers already deployed.”

About the Author

Michael Hart is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer and the former executive editor of THE Journal.

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