A team of researchers has reportedly set a new world record in data transmission.
The international group from the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) and Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden used a single light source to transmit 1.8 petabits per second.
In a press release, DTU said they were the first in the world to transmit more than 1 petabit per second – equivalent to 1 million gigabits – with just a single laser and optical chip called “Frequency Comb.”
“In the experiment, the researchers managed to transmit 1.8 Pbit/s, which is double all global Internet traffic,” they write. “And carried only by the light of an optical source. The light source is a specially designed optical chip that can use the light from a single infrared laser to produce a rainbow spectrum with many colors, i.e. many frequencies. So the one frequency (color) of a single laser can be multiplied into hundreds of frequencies (colors) in a single chip.”
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The colors are fixed at a certain frequency distance from each other like the teeth of a comb, which is why it is a frequency comb.
“Each color (or frequency) can then be isolated and used to impress data. The frequencies can then be reassembled and sent down a fiber optic, transmitting data. A huge amount of data, the researchers have discovered,” explained DTU .
Victor Torres Company, a professor at Chalmers University of Technology, said the chip had ideal properties for fiber optic communications, with “high optical performance” and “broad bandwidth within the spectral range of interest for advanced optical communications.”
However, he notes that the chip was not optimized for this particular application and some of the characteristic parameters were achieved by accident.
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“However, with the efforts of my team, we are now able to reverse engineer the process and fabricate microcombs with high reproducibility for target telecom applications,” Company said.
The researchers said the solution uses significantly less electricity and can help reduce the internet’s climate footprint.
“In other words, our solution has the potential to replace hundreds of thousands of lasers located in internet hubs and data centers, all of which eat up electricity and generate heat. We have the opportunity to contribute to an internet that leaves a smaller climate footprint,” said Professor Leif Katsuo Oxenløwe, Head of the Competence Center for Silicon Photonics for Optical Communications at DTU.
However, he notes that there is still some development work to be done before the solution can be implemented in current communications systems.
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The research was published in the journal Nature Photonics.