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Laser smashes data transfer records

26 terabits per second with a single laser
Tue May 24 2011, 10:01

LASER LIKING boffins have set a new record for data transfer speeds, an impressive 26 Terabits per second.

According to the BBC this means that the entire Library of Congress collections could be sent down an optical fibre in just 10 seconds.

The method, described as 'fast Fourier transform' selects over 300 distinct separate colours of light in a laser beam and encodes each of them with a channel own information.

There are costs involved, but according to Wolfgang Freude, one of the authors of the paper, which was published in the journal Nature Photonics, their method is dramatically less expensive.

"Already a 100 terabits per second experiment has been demonstrated," he told BBC News. "The problem was they didn't have just one laser, they had something like 370 lasers, which is an incredibly expensive thing. If you can imagine 370 lasers, they fill racks and consume several kilowatts of power."

So, rather than use a load of lasers, Freude and his associates use one, but with rather short pulses. These pulses are called a frequency comb, and are sent over optical fibre in all their multi-coloured glory. µ


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